Discussing Manual Therapy with members of the scientific or medical communities is often challenging. Usually, shortly after jumping into a description of the efficacy of this treatment modality, the question arises “Do you have peer reviewed, placebo controlled blind studies to support your stance?” The answer is no, there has been sparse clinical research on the efficacy of this type of therapy. Usually, when this question is asked, that answer terminates the discussion. The conversation is not really about whether Manual Therapy is beneficial, but simply that we cannot discuss it because standard metrics have not been applied.
Studying Manual Therapy in a placebo controlled setting is challenging. A blind study is not possible. Getting a study past peer review even more so. I am very impressed the Karen S. Price (Palo Alto, CA) has managed to accomplish this and is currently running a study at Stanford Medical Center, CA, on the efficacy of Rolfing with children with Cerebral Palsy.
The results of the pilot study are impressive, but certainly not unexpected. What is not apparent from this study is that the results are not exclusive to Structural Integration / Myofascial Release labeled Rolfing, but can be attained by any skilled Manual Therapist using a wide range of Osteopathic techniques. Dr. Masgutova has collected over 100 data points on over 500 children in a 64 hour therapeutic format on manual techniques combined with neuro-motor training that collate with the results presented here. However, her study is neither controlled, nor peer reviewed, and therefore unpublishable in the United States, although she has published in Europe and Russia.
I am very pleased to anticipate the results from the current full study Karen S. Price is undertaking.