It’s been a while since I’ve blogged. I know that is not good, but I’ve been preoccupied with my children’s extra-curricular activities- First Lego League. There were no Lego Leagues when I was growing up. My family didn’t even own a computer. We had a word processor called a Commodore 64 that was hooked up to our television. Well, times have changed. Now they have competitions with building a robot and programming it to accomplish specific tasks on a standardized practice table. That is only 50% of the competition, the other 25% is an innovative research project and a five minute presentation, and the other 25% is a teamwork exercise where team members are to finish a task blind folded, using communication skills. This competition is intense. It’s Olympics for the mind. And I was their unlikely coach. This year’s theme was Body Forward- biomedical engineering, health and wellness. I asked the boys what they wanted to research; their reply to me was that they wanted something that I could help them with. So naturally, I pulled out all of my physiology and massage texts to come up with a research project that we, as a team, could conduct. The final project was Man verses Machine in Managing Pain. Before conducting the study, I had to give the team some background information on the pain pathways of the body, to explain how pain is perceived, and how massage helps the body manage pain. Then we conducted a randomized, cross-over study that compared the affects of pain on 10 subjects. Each subject was given two 10 minute massages, one with me as the Man, and the other with a Brookstone back massage seat as the Machine. Each subject was asked for a baseline pain reading, using the Faces Pain scale used by pediatricians to assess their patients’ pain, and then randomly given a massage with either the Man or the Machine. After the treatment another pain reading was taken. After 24 hours later, the subject was then given the second treatment, pain readings were taken before and after, as well. All the data was collected on an Excel spreadsheet and graphed the before and after treatments by the Man and Machine. Then the difference of before and after of both Man and Machine were graphed together, to see which Man or Machine had made a greater difference in each subjects’ pain. This was a lot of pressure on me to perform. Our conclusion from the study showed that 9 out 10 subjects’ pain was gone after the Man’s treatment while compared to just 5 out of 10 subjects had just a decrease in pain. Not bad for a massage therapist’s day’s work. And for you information, my boys are merely 10 years old.