CAM EducationMassage

A checklist for higher quality CAM studies

Researchers from Taiwan observed inconsistencies in the results of massage therapy studies. In this article, they list the issues in study design that have plagued past studies.

No CAM researchers should be permitted to conduct research until they memorize this list and apply it to their studies.

Here are the deficiencies in study design, stated as essentials for good research.

Rigorous attention to research design

  • Strict inclusion criteria
  • Population size that permits adequate statistical power
  • Consistent doses and protocols
  • Random allocation to treatment and placebo groups
  • At least single-, and when possible, double-blinding
  • Appropriate outcome measures
  • Appropriate timing of measurements

Data analysis

  • Consider the effect of all potential confounding variables
  • Apply only the highest sensitivity evaluative tools
  • Examine the duration of response over time

The bottom line?
If they want to be taken seriously, CAM researchers who embark on evidence-based studies must conform to the basic tenants of evidence-based research.

11/13/08 20:18 JR

Hi, I’m JR

John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at, a complementary and alternative medicine website.