Blog Post

Myokinesthetic Massage is Not Energy-Based

MYK massageDK asks: "I would like to get a treatment for a nerve problem in my foot.  The technique is called Myokinesthetic System and I am completely okay with it.  It is biologically sound and gives amazing results. . .

". . . Duke [University] is even looking into the research behind it.  My problem is all the certified providers near me are massage therapists who are also trained in and practice at times energy types of massage.  When questioned if she would be able to separate the two and not bring it into the Myokinesthetic technique she said 'absolutely'.  This particular therapist is also a physical therapy assistant.  I did feel okay about her, I don't think she's kooky or anything, but can it be safe?  My intense desire for help could cloud my feeling that she's okay."

The search for an "energy-free" massage therapist is becoming a systemic problem in the U.S. these days. We get letters about this all the time and can only advise people to be very frank with their therapist in letting them know that you will not tolerate (or pay for) any bogus energy treatments. If it's not authentic, medically approved massage, keep your wallet in your pocket.

As for the Myokinesthetic (MYK) System, I could not find anything particularly New Age about it, nor does this practice rely on the presence of a fictitious energy form known as a "universal life force" (or ki, qi, prana, yin yang, etc.).

This was created by a Kansas-based chiropractor named Michael Uriarte who spent years searching for a better way to treat contracted muscles that affect the peripheral and central nervous system. This treatment helps to rebalance posture and restore muscle function via the use of a light massage technique. By stimulating muscles along a specific nerve pathway, he found that he could assist the muscle in sending a signal to the brain that says, essentially, "there's a change happening here" and effect improvement in balance, greater range of motion, and a decrease in pain.

However, it is worth noting that none of the websites of MYK System practitioners that I visited listed any unbiased scientific research studies on MYK; nor was I able to find any information on it on the Duke Integrative Medicine site, or the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine. This tells me that the practice is in need of more scientific scrutiny.

Is a massage therapist who practices energy medicine safe to use? Probably, if you specify exactly what you do and do not want him/her to do. However, you may want to ask yourself if you really want to keep these energy practitioners in business by giving them your money. Is there a sports massage center nearby where you could go instead?

I know it's difficult to find a massage center that doesn't have energy practitioners on the staff, but at least give the search a good try before resorting to someone who practices bogus medicine.