EA Mein, PE Greenman, DL McMillin, DG Richards, CD Nelson. Manual medicine diversity: research pitfalls and the emerging medical paradigm. J Am Osteopath Assoc 2001;101(8):441–444. doi: 10.7556/jaoa.2001.101.8.441.
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Recent studies published in leading medical journals have concluded that chiropractic treatment is not particularly helpful for relieving asthma and migraine symptoms because even though study participants showed notable improvement in symptoms, those subjects who received sham manual medicine treatments also showed improvement. Yet the sham treatment received by control groups in these studies is reminiscent in many ways of traditional osteopathic manipulation. This seems to represent not only a failure to recognize the value of many manual medicine techniques but also an ignorance of the broad spectrum of manual medicine techniques used by various practitioners, from osteopathic physicians to chiropractors to physical therapists. Such blind spots compromise research methodology with regard to manual medicine studies, which could, in turn, diminish the role of manual medicine in clinical practice. Osteopathic manipulative treatment provides an excellent model for recognizing and integrating the full range of manual medicine techniques into research and clinical applications because of the wide range of techniques employed. The potential exists for these techniques to contribute much to medical research and clinical practice--provided that osteopathic physicians and other manual medicine practitioners work to alleviate ignorance about the efficacy of various forms of manipulation.
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