In the late 1940’s, a German medical doctor and engineer, Dr. Reinhard Voll, began researching and proving an innovative testing method now known as EAV (Electro-Acupuncture according to Voll, EDS, Electro-Dermal Screening or MSA, Meridian Stress Assessment).(We will refer to this technology as MSA throughout the document.) This method was documented and proven in over a decade of hospital studies in Germany and today MSA is widely used throughout Europe by over 25,000 medical practitioners. In the United States, MSA is currently growing in acceptance particularly by medical practitioners who specialize in “Alternative, Holistic and Biological Medicine” techniques and disciplines.

MSA offers a quick, non-invasive screening method for determining health imbalances. Practitioners typically use MSA as a compliment to those standard testing procedures in common use. MSA has great value in giving practitioners a “hands on” assessment tool. MSA is an “Energetic” assessment of the individual. And even though MSA is not accepted as a standard medical diagnostic tool, the information provided from an MSA screening is invaluable for the general assessment of a patient’s condition.

MSA Testing is an “Energetic” Testing procedure. So what is Energetic and what kind of “Energy” is this?

Everyone is familiar with the fact that we have many different organs and glands in the body. We are also familiar with the highly organized and complex Nervous System and the Circulatory System. Initially, we consider that all these organs, glands, and systems are physical and chemical in nature. We can touch, see and measure these aspects. We know that science has proven these attributes, and we take science's accounts of such nature to be true. But there is also an unseen component of all these organs, glands, and systems called the Energetic System. This Energetic System is not physical or chemical in its nature. Instead, it is pure energy.

For centuries, Chinese doctors have been practicing the art of “Acupuncture”. Acupuncture is based on a system of “Meridians”. The Meridians are explained as a network of "Energy" channels that are used for communication and for moving energy throughout the body. An acupuncturist uses needles that are placed at specific “Points” to stimulate the flow of energy to specific organs and glands.

There are twenty-one (21), basic MSA Meridians (Chinese doctors typically use 12 Meridians), each corresponding to the major organs and glands of the body. Along each of these Meridians, there are found to be many Acupuncture
“Points”. Each acupuncture point on a Meridian will correspond to either a specific gland, or to the various functional regions found within an organ. All totalled, there are hundreds of different points located along the basic twenty-one Meridians. This Energetic System is an intricate map that is consistently identical in every man and woman. Everyone has the same Meridians and the same Acupuncture Points. The Chinese have known about this map for over 3,000 years. They have had success in using this knowledge of the Energetic System of the body through the application of Acupuncture techniques for health improvement. Their empirical success alone offers substantiated proof of the Energetic System.

Science has just recently made successful displays of the existence of the Energetic System through the use of Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Imaging (NMRI) Systems.

The Energetic System is a network of communication pathways. This System is aware of everything that is going on in even the smallest corner of your body. The Energetic System knows the presence of every organism living in your body including all viruses, bacteria, fungi, and parasites. It also knows the functional condition and health level of every cell in your body. The Energetic System is also aware of every toxin and every other factor that influences your state of health. Using current technology we can indirectly measure the Energetic System.

An MSA Testing Device indirectly measures the Energetic System by using electricity. In Germany in the late 1940’s, Dr. Reinhard Voll was experimenting with the effects of electricity on the human body. In his studies, Dr. Voll used a technique known as Electrical Conductivity Metering. We can explain this in simple terms. Electricity flows very easily through some materials making them very electrically conductive. Gold, silver and copper are all very electrically conductive. Other materials are not conductive, for example dry wood or rubber. We can use a “Conductivity Meter” to measure the electrical conductance of different materials.

Dr. Voll found that if he tested the electrical conductance on any general area of the human body, there was a fairly low level of electrical conductivity. This is a curious conclusion since we know that the body has a large volume of electrically conductive fluids within it. But, the skin, by its nature, is very resistant to electrical current. However, Dr. Voll also found that at certain specific locations on the anatomy, the electrical flow he measured was much more conductive than other locations. These points found by Voll to be higher in electrical flow correspond to the Acupuncture Points and Meridians.

An MSA device is a type of Electrical Conductivity Meter. Some of the newer generation devices are connected to computers with specialized software, but essentially, any MSA device is a Conductivity Meter.

We use electrical current to measure the Meridians. We have to keep in mind that this is an indirect measurement of the Energetic System. We also must keep in mind that Energetic Testing, MSA, is not the same thing as standard physiological, pathological and biochemical medical health measurements. When a practitioner tests the Liver Meridian with an MSA device he is not testing the actual Liver, he is testing the Energetic component of the Liver. Yet the technology works, in fact it works very well, and it opens the doorway to the vast possibilities of communicating with the Energetic System.

Using an MSA device to measure electricity is the first step. The next question is; How do we go from electrical conductance measurement to a useful assessment of the Energetic System?

We know some useful points and from these we can make some viable conclusions:

  • Electricity will flow through a Meridian.

  • The nature of how electricity flows through a specific Meridian is directly related to how Energy flows through the specific Meridian.

  • The flow of Energy is related to the Energetic health of a Meridian. And therefore we know that the flow of electricity is also related, just as the Energy is, to the health of the Meridian.

The "Universal Baseline" makes MSA a viable testing method.

A Balanced Reading: The MSA Meter gives us conductance readings and there is intrinsic value in this; however the actual reason that we can use MSA to evaluate the meridians is because, as Dr. Voll discovered that there is a Universal Baseline. Regardless of who is tested, no matter what their age, weight, sex, or race, a reading of 50 with no change over time (no indicator drop), is an indication of an Energetically healthy or “Balanced” meridian.

Irritation and Inflammation: Readings at points that are significantly above 50 (65+) indicate “Irritation” of the Meridian. Readings above 75 exhibit “Inflammation” of a Meridian. This is easily understood. We all have observed or experienced that inflamed tissue is swollen. It holds more liquid than its normal state of being. We also know that the more liquid equates to more electrical conductivity. Therefore, we should have a higher conductivity reading if a tissue is inflamed.

Indicator Drops and Impaired Functionality: When a reading steadily drops in value from the high point down, this is known as an “Indicator Drop" (ID), and this can display a weakness or disturbance in the meridian. From a functional standpoint it can be said that the Meridian is “Functionally Impaired”.

Functionally Compromised Readings: When a reading is significantly lower than 50 (below 40) then it is believed that this meridian is displaying “low energy” properties. A chronically inflamed organ will eventually stop performing as it loses the
fight. It may become hardened, as happens in liver cirrhosis. As organs harden, they lose their hydration, and thus cannot conduct electricity as they once did, therefore producing “low energy” readings. A practitioner can test all of the basic Meridians in just a few minutes and by evaluating each Reading he can determine the general Energetic condition of all the organs and glands.

Remedy Testing expands the range of capability in MSA Testing.

In his studies, Dr. Voll discovered “Remedy Testing”. He found that different remedies might affect the readings on different Meridians. For example, if you are testing the Liver Meridian and the practitioner tests several different remedies on the “Test Plate” (a metal plate, usually aluminum, used for remedy testing on an MSA device), some of these remedies may change the conductance readings on the Liver Meridian. If a particular remedy causes the Liver Meridian reading to become more “Balanced” (closer to 50, and less Indicator Drop or flatter), then the practitioner would consider this specific remedy to be “Bio-Compatible”. Biocompatible means; the remedy produces a favourable or “Positive Response” energetically. What makes Remedy Testing a remarkable tool is that the Remedy is being tested on an Energetic level. The patient does not have to ingest the remedy.

MSA Testing is the first technological application designed to measure the inexplicably illusive Energetic System of the human body. MSA is not intended to be a replacement to other patient health evaluation methods, rather MSA testing functions best as a complimentary addition to standard testing methods. MSA testing has certain aspects that are inherently subjective. But in the final analysis, MSA offers a source of valuable assessment information, unattainable in any other fashion. Individuals concerned about longevity, wellness, preventative care, natural healing methods and alternative therapies will find MSA to be an unparalleled source for answers. And for all of these reasons, the number of MSA practitioners and patients seeking this type of health assessment in the United States and Canada is on the rise. 


MSA Research

Below is a brief synopsis of several research studies conducted in this field and the accompanying bibliography and/or researchers. If you want to read the full study, use the bibliography to find it or contact the researchers. We have provided this information as a service. We will not be able to send anyone a copy of the original studies as it is far too time consuming. We hope you find these articles of value.

BioScans and Blood Chemistry
Drawing from a clinical pool of 1,800 patients, E.Alan Jeppsen, M.D., and Steven G. Osguthorpe, N.D., conducted a double-blind study of over 600 randomly assigned patients, of which 100 were used as control subjects. This study yielded a 97 percent correlation with blood chemistry.
Effectiveness of the BioScans in Assessing Sub-Physiologic Thyroid Levels in Women 35 to 65 Years of Age

Reproducibility of Point Readings
There were 34 subjects measured on two occasions in this study with 44 points measured 4 times on each occasion for a total of 11,968 readings. The results showed a mean deviation of 0.70 respectively. The readings were taken by Mark Galloway a long-time and accomplished practitioner in this field.
Nancy R. Roberts, Ph.D., C. Norman Shealy, M.D., Ph.D., William A. Tiller Ph.D. "Are there Electrical Devices that can Measure the body's Energy State Change to an Acupuncture Treatment?"

Allergy Desensitization
Meridian stress assessment seems to be at least as reliable, and probably more reliable, than other forms of allergy testing available. It is much safer than skin or challenge testing, since exposure to an allergenic substance is minimal. It is also much more pleasant for the patient than skin testing, since this form of testing is relatively painless. There are also no unpleasant adverse reactions, which may last for many days with skin or challenge testing. Meridian assessment is usually much less expensive and helps to eliminate trial and error treatment dosages.
Dennis W. Remington, M.D. "A History of Meridian Stress Assessment"

Electrical Skin Conductance in diagnosis
In clinical practice, EDS instruments are useful as diagnostic supplements to blood tests, radiographic imaging, and case histories historically and currently, EDS instruments characterize differences between inflammatory and degenerative conditions. The integration of reliable and valid bioelectric medical instruments into the clinical setting augments the ability to rapidly evaluate tissues which are difficult or impossible to asses by conventional test procedures.
Quantitative analysis of Electrical Skin Conductance in diagnosis: Historical and current views of Bioelectric Medicine by Barbara Brewitt, Ph.D. Journal of Naturopathic Medicine Volume 6, Number 1

The Effects of Gender or Age on Point Readings
This study was done on healthy subjects; 348 males and 135 females were studied for the bioelectric activities of the body using the principles of electro-acupuncture according to Voll. In spite of some variance among testers there were no gender and age effects for all specific points studied. These findings should be important for consideration in using these measurements for medical diagnosis. 
Studies of Bioenergy in Healthy Subjects by Julia J. Tsuei, M.D., Chieh Chung, M.D., Frederick M.K. Lam, M.D., and Ming-pi Mi, Ph.D. American Journal of Acupuncture, Vol. 16, No. 2, April-June 1988

Bioelectric Homeostasis
A homeostat is a hierarchical regulating structure, which in the process of its action maintains dynamic stability of some physiological parameter of the living organism. Bioelectrical homeostasis forms a first level homeostat that is united into a second level homeostat by the autonomic nervous system. The first level homeostat, bioelectrical, influences control through the autonomic nervous system which is responsible for the equilibrium in the internal systems of the body. Where meridians are regulator-executers that provide information to glands and organs that are regulator-controllers through the autonomic nervous system. 
Bioelectrical Homeostasis as a Component of Acupuncture Mechanism by G. Zukauskas, M.D., K.Dapsys, Biophysicist Acupuncture & Electro-Therapeutics Res., Int. J., Vol.16, PP.117-126, 1991

Bioenergetic Diagnosis and Conformation using Classical Diagnosis
The selected eleven cases presented are reported from a family practitioner's office using Electroacupuncture According to Voll (EAV) diagnostic technique. Six cases had finding of malignant tumors, three were diagnosed as GI bleeding, one for acute inflammation, and one for chronic degenerative disease. All findings were confirmed by classical means of diagnosis.
Reprint requests should be addressed to: Julia J. Tsuei, M.D., Professor, International Health, School of Public Health, University of Hawaii, 1960 East-West Road, Honolulu, Hawaii 96822.

Electrical Properties and Responsive Behavior of Skin
This article defines the conductance, capacitance, and resistance properties of both macroscopic and microscopic areas of human skin and the inter-relations with bioenergetic measurements.
On the Explanation of Electrodermal Diagnostic and Treatment Instruments: Part I. The Electrical Behavior of the Human Skin by William A. Tiller, Department of Materials Science and Engineering Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305

Electromagnetic Frequencies (Signatures of Items) 
The most straightforward expressions of useful electrical quantities are as complex numbers in frequency domain. This article goes on to explain how the body responds to these frequencies and how we can measure that response through specific locations on the skin.
Dialectric Response in Human Skin by William A. Tiller, Department of Materials Science and Engineering Stanford University, 
Stanford, CA 94305

Bioelectromagnetics versus Biochemistry
The National Institute of Health states that "bioelectrmagnetics essentially underlies biochemistry, in that chemical reactions of biological importance are mediated by the electromagnetic force." Bioenergetic Medicine offers the possibility of more economical and more effective diagnosis and noninvasive therapies for medical problems, including those considered intractable or recalcitrant to conventional treatments. 
Electromagnetic Applications in Medicine NIH-OAM Panel Report by Beverly Rubik, Ph.D. and Robert G. Flower; National Institutes of Health, Office of Alternative Medicine, January 14, 1993

Radioactive Isotope Imaging of Meridians
The work was conducted on over 250 healthy control subjects and on 80 patients with renal pathology. The work was conducted on patients form the Department of Urology and from the Acupuncture Department of Biophysics and Nuclear Medicine from the Necker Hospital in Paris with each experiment repeated several times. Morphological studies found those tracer migrations from acupoints in both healthy and sick patients followed the same identical pathways with those described as "meridians" in Chinese traditional medicine. The study also found that the rate of flow through the meridians was altered by chronic or acute pathology. 
Nuclear Medicine and Acupuncture: A Study on the Migration of Radioactive Tracers after Injection at Acupoints; American Journal of Acupuncture, Vol.20, No.3, 1992 by Jean-Claude Darras, Pierre de Vernejoul, and Pierre Albarede, C.H.U. Necker-Enfants Malades, F-75 743 Paris Cedex 15 France

Snapshots in Time
Disease processes disrupt the body's normally balanced mechanisms. Current chemical analysis only captures "snapshots" that measure a brief time frame, creating the appearance of a static state where none exists. By measuring electrical resistance over time, EDS devices provide clinicians with a dynamic profile of these normal or distorted oscillatory patterns. The evolving field of bioelectric medicine holds great promise for the early diagnosis of significant disease states and for earlier and more effective treatments. 
EDS: Auto-regulation & Cell Signal Enhancement by Barbara Brewitt, Ph.D., Bridges / ISSSEEM Magazine, vol.7, No.2, 1996

Meridians and Coronary Heart Disease
This research found that there was a relation to diagnosed heart disease and the electrical resistance of tissues connected through a meridian pathway. They showed these electrical resistance values were specific and distinct for each type of disorder as well as chronic and acute interrelations.
Characteristics of Reactive Electropermeable Points on the Auricles of Coronary Heart Disease Patients; Clinical Cardiology (16, 415-419, 1993) by Keijiro Daku, M.D., Ph.D.; Yoshito Mukaino, M.D., Ph.D; Hong Ying, M.D.; Kikuo Arakawa, M.D. Ph.D. (Department of Internal Medicine, Fukuoka University School of Medicine, Fukuoka City, Japan) 

Medicine Testing and Physiological Response
EAV has shown that each acupuncture point bears a direct relationship to a specific anatomical structure or physiological function in the body. A serendipitous discovery showed that when medicine, if correctly chosen, will change the reading values to a more normal level. The scientific validity of EAV and medicine testing has been firmly established over the past quarter century and a number of laboratory experiments are outlined to substantiate and corroborate this exciting advance in medicine.
The Phenomenon of Medicine Testing in Electroacupuncture According to Voll by Reinhold Voll, M.D.; Richard-Wagner-Strasse 5, D-731 Plochingen, West Germany

Diabetes Mellitus
This study demonstrated the effectiveness of medicine testing as a beneficial adjunct to the physician in determining the proper dosages of medicines prior to dispensing to the patient. It also showed that abnormally functioning organs, as indicated by testing the disease related acupuncture points, can be balanced by corresponding properly dosed allopathic medicines or homeopathic remedies and nosodes.
Study on the Bioenergetic Measurement of Acupuncture Points for Determination of Correct Dosages of Allopathic or Homeopathic Medicines in the Treatment of Diabetes Mellitus by Fred M. K. Lam, M.D., Julia J. Tsuei, M.D., Zixian Zho, M.D.; American Journal of Acupuncture, Vol.18, No.2, 1990

Skin Impedance is Frequency Sensitive
A special differential electrode was designed to perform continuous press intensity against the skin. The study revealed that the impedance readings would respond differently to set ranges of frequencies and intensities.
Active Acupuncture Point Impedance and Potential Measurements by Jacob Fraden, Engineering Design Center Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio 44106; Am. J. Acupuncture, No.2, Vol.7, April-June 1979

The Process of Healing
Injury to tissues represents a source of release of energy, leading to structural modifications in tissue. Artificial activation can even lead to beneficial effects in disease. This energy gives rise to a physiochemical potential difference in relation to surrounding non-injured tissue. This book goes on to explain the relationship between meridians, tissues, and how they are affected by something as small as one ionic charge.
Biologically Closed Electrical Circuits by Bjorn E. W. Nordenstrom, M.D.; Nordic Medical Publications

Pictures of GSR or Acupuncture Points
Galvanic Skin Response clearly demonstrates the presence of an organized system of highly electroconductive points on the human skin. The techniques described in this article allow photography of these points and how they relate to the autonomic nerve reflexes. The photographed points form distinct organized patterns on the skin which closely correspond to the points noted on oriental acupuncture charts.
Direct Observation and Photography of Electroconductive Points on Human Skin by Ralph J. Luciani, D.O., Ph.D; 125 Fry Boulevard, Suite 4, Sierra Vista, AZ 85635; Am. J. Acupuncture, No.4, Vol.6, Oct-Dec 1978


Meridian Stress Assessment- Washington State University

This paper presents a review of the history and current use of Meridian Stress Assessment (MSA), MSA instruments, and bioenergetic medicine (BEM). The use of MSA devices, treatment selection using MSA, homeopathy, nutritional therapy, acupuncture, and other complimentary modalities has been a mainstay of diagnosis and treatment for decades among health care providers throughout the world, and most recently, in the United States. More importantly, people are learning about alternatives. We are being inundated through the media with information about complimentary modalities and the possibilities that they offer. The consumer is beginning to demand more from their health care dollars. Entrenched medical and political paradigms are breaking down and the general public and scientific communities are beginning to recognize the benefits of the various complimentary modalities. The Journal of the American Medical Association (Eisenberg et aI., 1998) reveals that visits to complementary medical practitioners now exceed those to orthodox practitioners. Eisenberg et ai. report that four out often Americans used "alternative" therapies in 1997. Total out-of-pocket expenditures for alternative therapies during this same period were estimated at $27-34 billion dollars. In addition, 50% of the visits were 35 to 49 year olds with annual incomes above $50,000. Visits to alternative or integrative medical practitioners increased by nearly 50% from 1990 to 1997. 

This paper presents a review of the history and current use of Meridian Stress Assessment (MSA), MSA instruments, and bioenergetic medicine (BEM). The use of MSA devices, treatment selection using MSA, homeopathy, nutritional therapy, acupuncture, and other complimentary modalities has been a mainstay of diagnosis and treatment for decades among health care providers throughout the world, and most recently, in the United States. More importantly, people are learning about alternatives. We are being inundated through the media with information about complimentary modalities and the possibilities that they offer. The consumer is beginning to demand more from their health care dollars. Entrenched medical and political paradigms are breaking down and the general public and scientific communities are beginning to recognize the benefits of the various complimentary modalities. The Journal of the American Medical Association (Eisenberg et aI., 1998) reveals that visits to complementary medical practitioners now exceed those to orthodox practitioners. Eisenberg et ai. report that four out often Americans used "alternative" therapies in 1997. Total out-of-pocket expenditures for alternative therapies during this same period were estimated at $27-34 billion dollars. In addition, 50% of the visits were 35 to 49 year olds with annual incomes above $50,000. Visits to alternative or integrative medical practitioners increased by nearly 50% from 1990 to 1997. 

This paper presents a review of the history and current use of Meridain Stress Assessment (MSA), MSA instruments, and a brief overview of the energy meridian system. Meridian stress assessment has been additionally referred to as electrodermal screening (EDS), electroacupuncture according to Voll (EAV). The use of MSA devices, treatment selection using MSA, homeopathy, nutritional therapy, acupuncture, and other complimentary modalities has been a mainstay of diagnosis and treatment for decades among health care providers throughout the world, and most recently, in the United States. More importantly, people are learning about alternatives. We are being inundated through the media with information about complimentary modalities and the possibilities that they offer. The consumer is beginning to demand more from their health care dollars. Entrenched medical and political paradigms are breaking down and the general public and scientific communities are beginning to recognize the benefits of the various complimentary modalities. The Journal of the American Medical Association (Eisenberg et aI., 1998) reveals that visits to complementary medical practitioners now exceed those to orthodox practitioners. The researchers report that four out often Americans used "alternative" therapies in 1997. Total out-of-pocket expenditures for alternative therapies during this same period were estimated at $27-34 billion dollars. In addition, 50% of the visits were 35 to 49 year olds with annual incomes above $50,000. Visits to alternative or integrative medical practitioners increased by nearly 50% from 1990 to 1997.

This paper includes a brief historical perspective, electrical properties of the meridian system, the importance in assessing the bioenergetic systems, advantages and challenges of MSA and instrumentation. Meridian stress assessment and bioenergetic medicine can be valuable adjuncts to conventional diagnosis and treatment and potentially a new paradigm in medicine. The integration of MSA instrumentation into clinical settings significantly augments the ability to rapidly and accurately evaluate bioenergetic status o f tissues. Meridian stress assessment offers the clinician a proven quantitative method useful as a diagnostic supplement to case histories, physical assessment, laboratory diagnostics, and radiographic imagining. Given reliable MSA instruments, early diagnosis of disease states via measurable changes in electrical conductance is possible, which could facilitate prevention and/or early and more effective treatment. This would facilitate provision of early and more effective treatment. The integration of MSA instrumentation into the clinical settings significantly augments the ability to rapidly and accurately evaluate tissues. Meridian stress assessment offers the clinician a scientifically documented quantitative method useful as a diagnostic supplement to laboratory diagnostics, radiographic imagining, and case histories (Brewitt, 1996). Further study of bioenergetic function using meridian stress assessment and the tools used in the assessment seems clearly warranted.

Introduction

Energy meridians and the points that lay along them have been subjectively reported in great detail by acupuncturists for over 3000 years. According to traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) there is a connection between these energy channels, measurement points (MPs) on the skin, and every physiologic system. The term "meridian" includes both the lines on which the MPs are located and the internal organs or systems that are associated with the particular points and lines. There are twelve main meridians and eight extra meridians. There is a control measurement point (CMP) for each of the twenty meridians corresponding to each half of the anatomy located on the fingers and toes of both hands and feet (Table 1& Figures 1 through 4). Additionally, there are over 2000 other MPs that correspond to virtually every sub-component of each major physiological system that have been identified to date (Soochow University, 1997). The premise is that energetic processes, that include electrical and magnetic processes, vibrational resonance, and bio-photon emission, are essential to all life processes. The bioenergy that flows through the meridian system is the carrier of bio-information and is crucial to biological self-regulation. This is referred to in traditional Chinese medicine as chi or qi (Tsuei, 1996). This energetic system is the "master" homeostatic control mechanism for every physiologic function.

All the studies reviewed in this paper have statistical agreement that the meridian system is physiologically different from the vascular, lymphatic, musculoskeletal or neuronal systems (Darras, deV ernejoul & Albarede, 1992; Darras, 1989; Tiller, 1987; Chen, 1996; Motoyama, 1996). All functions of human beings are energetically interconnected through these meridians. Several organs can be affected by a single meridian system and its various branches. A disease process will begin when there is an imbalance to an affected energy system. The imbalance within a given system will in tum affect one or more organs located along that meridian. This imbalance will often manifest as signs and symptoms somewhere along the causal chain when physiologic compensatory mechanisms are inadequate (Tsuei, 1996).

Historical Perspective


While the meridian system is ancient in its' subjective origin, the first objective inquiry of the meridian system began in 1945, with de la Fuye's work.. The meridian system did not begin to be understood scientifically until 1950, when Nakatani discovered the electrical conductance properties of the meridians. In 1953, Voll, a German neurosurgeon, was the first to measure the electrical response ofMP's along the meridians and use this information to diagnose patients. Voll developed the first meridian stress assessment (MSA) device (thus known as the "Father" of MSA) and procedure known as "electro-acupuncture according to Voll" or EA V (Voll, 1975). Thus began the era of electro-diagnosis using the first generation of MSA devices and a system of evaluation (Royal & Royal, 1991).

The use of ECG, EEG, electromyography, MRl, ultrasound is widely accepted. Meridian stress assessment, assisted by a measured stress stimulus (1-5 volts DC and 10- 50 micro-amperes), offers the practitioner a system to assess, by non-invasive means, the degree of order or disorder in the whole client. It can also measure the impact of a disease in a particular organ thereby obtaining a specific statement about the regulatory capabilities of the client (Maiwald, 1988).

Orthodox medicine strives to overcome morphologic changes inherent in natural disease processes to affect a "cure" for the patient. Bioenergetic medicine is designed to identify and assist innate forces within a patient to effect a self-cure (Royal & Royal, 1992).
It is widely recognized that, prior to morphologic manifestations of a disease process, there is a pre-clinical phase whereby the physiologic system attempts to compensate. When the system fails to compensate, clinical symptoms become manifest. Orthodox medicine endeavors to help patients with all the modalities it employs, specifically with differential diagnosis, clinical findings, diagnostic techniques, pharmacologic interventions, and surgery. Orthodox medicine appears to work well if one does not take into account the iatrogenic effects of those efforts which are well- known and documented (Tronet, 1980). Bioenergetic medicine, with the use of meridian stress assessment, endeavors to detect and recognize energetic and regulatory disturbances which precede and/or accompany morphologic and biochemical alterations of a disease process. During the pre-clinical phase, meridian stress assessment can determine acute causative factors. Estimates are that at least 70% of patients in any general practice suffer from disturbances that no specific tissue, organ damage, or orthodox diagnostics can explain (Shimmel & Penzer, 1996).

Instrumentation

There are a number of manufacturers of MSA equipment around the world and the last study conducted doing comparative analysis was done in 1988 (Lam, Tsuei && Zhao, 1988). Many improvements and modifications have been made by all manufacturers since this study. There continues to be operational parameter differences between instruments. However, all of the instruments tested in this study effectively measured electrical dermal conductance and/or resistance. Most instruments in use today elicit physiologic responses using 1-5 volts DC and 10-15micro-Amperes registering dermal responses in K-ohms on a scale of 1-100 (Figure 5). For the purpose of this review, and in general practice, a reading of50 on the scale is considered optimal. Readings below 50 are classified as degenerative conditions while readings above 50 are classified as inflammatory (Figure 6). Each study reviewed used different instruments and parameters with the normal, degenerative, and inflammatory classification ranges slightly different. The idea of 50 being normal function and above and below 50 being inflammatory and degenerative, respectively, can be extrapolated to all MSA devices and testing procedures.

Review of Research Literature


Professor Chen of Soochow University Department of Physics in Taiwan has been quantitatively studying the electrical properties of meridians for the past ten years. In one study, a Wilcoxon signed-rank test was used to discriminate between the electrical properties of meridian points and control point groups. The paired t-test was used to determine preferential direction of current. The study was conducted using two traditional acupuncture arm points ("Chin-tsa" HE3 and "Nei-Kuan" HE6) of the pericardium meridian and two non-meridian points located I-centimeter away from the true meridian points. The meridian points demonstrated higher conductivity than the non-meridian points (p<O.OOI). Meridian stress assessment can objectively measure the conductance of this elicited current through selected meridians corresponding to specific anatomical areas and determine hypo, normal, or hyper-function. This study offers statistically significant evidence that meridians are preferential pathways for electrical current as compared to neighboring tissues (Chen, 1996).

Darras, deVemejoul and Albarede conducted a study on 250 healthy control subjects and 80 subjects with renal pathology to examine whether injected radioactive isotope (Technetium-99m) coincides with the acupuncture meridians as described in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) and, that these pathways were distinguishable from either lymphatic or vascular routes. Imaging was conducted using a Siemens SAM digital scintillation camera with computerized analysis. Morphologic studies found those radioactive tracer migrations from acupoints (MPs) in both healthy and pathologic groups followed identical pathways with those described as meridians in TCM. These results suggest that the pathways are different from vascular or lymphatic pathways (Darras, deVemejoul & Albarede, 1992).

Using quantitative analysis of electrical skin conductance in diagnosis, Brewitt (1996), attempted to replicate research findings from four previous studies. Using the LISTEN meridian stress assessment device from Bio-MeridianTM International of Orem, Utah, electrical conductance measurements on patient groups were analyzed for differences at immune related measurement points. The four groups consisted of non- viral, non-cancer controls (N=34), patients with various inflammatory conditions, (N=22) (eg, carcinoma in situ, chronic Epstein Barr infection, rheumatoid arthritis, and leukemia), degenerative conditions, (N=7) (cancer and AIDS), and mv asymptomatic group, (N=10). Controls were found to have normal range at MPs corresponding to both the immune and spleen areas. Patients with chronic inflammatory conditions had higher than normal (>50) electrical conductance at the peripheral MP for the immune system. Spleen MP was in normal range, but statistically higher than the control group.

Brewitt, 1996, found that early stages of cancer, chronic viral infection (Epstein Barr and illV) and chronic inflammatory conditions are characterized by hyper- conductance at MPs associated with lymphatics, skeletal joints, and connective tissue compared to the same MPs in the control group. In contrast, terminal or degenerative stages of cancer and AIDS were characterized by lower than normal electrical conductance, especially at the spleen MPs (Brewitt, 1996).

Saku, Mukaino, Ying & Arakawa (1993), studied the characteristics ofMP's on the auricles (ears) in patients with coronary heart disease. The researchers demonstrated significant correlation's between heart conditions and the heart MPs used. Four groups were used including old myocardial infarction (OMI), (n==17), acute myocardial infarction (AMI), (n=30), angina pectoris (AP), (n=16), and controls, (n=19). Using MSA instrumentation (type not revealed) electrical conductance was measured at six MPs on the auricle (heart I-shin, heart II-shinzo, small intestine, lung, heart III-shinyu, and shoulder), (see figure 7). Small intestine and shoulder MPs demonstrated no significance in or between any of the four groups. Heart I and heart II MPs on the auricle demonstrated significance (p<O.OOl) between the OMI and control, AMI and control, and the AP and control groups. Although larger and age comparative groups could further objectify a similar study, one can conclude that heart I (shin) and heart II (shinzo) points on the auricle do correspond to the functional anatomy of the heart (Saku, et aI., 1992).

Tsuei, Lam, Mi, Zhao (1989) used MSA to diagnose diabetes mellitus (control N=95 and confirmed diabetics N=55). The findings demonstrated a 95% to 97.5% correct classification rate by MSA testing using discriminant analysis.

A small study involving confirmed lung cancer patients (n=3) and healthy subjects (n=20) demonstrated a significant level of agreement (p=0.02) between the MSA testing and conventional diagnosis using chest x-ray (Sullivan, Eggleston, Martinoff & Kroening, 1985).
Discussion

The challenges and advantages of meridian stress testing and bioenergetic medicine, as it pertains to MSA, will be the subject of this final discussion.

Bioenergetic medicine and meridian stress assessment involve a paradigm shift in our approach to health and illness as the current medical paradigm is reluctant to make room for energetic processes and evaluation. Since the presence and movement of meridian energy is not expressed chemically, it is impossible to monitor quantitatively or qualitatively using standard chemical based testing procedures. Applied research in well- designed clinical trials is the only convincing method to establish efficacy, and in MSA, the questions of mechanism of action have not been completely resolved (Tsuei, Lam & Chou, 1996). Operator/technician ability and training has not been standardized causing reproducibility to be variable and related to technician expertise. Inadequate regulatory enforcement and standardization of instrumentation is a compelling problem. 

Federal laws are in place regulating the use of MSA devices. The FDA label of non-significant risk (NSR) device and an investigational device exemption (IDE) number-G930148 has been granted to the LISTEN system (Currently the BEST [Bio- Energetic Stress Test] system) from BioMeridian International of Orem, Utah (Figure 8). Early detection of disease processes will facilitate earlier and less harmful (or harmless) interventions with greater efficacy. MSA is non-invasive and completely harmless to the client. An MSA screening, physically and visually integrates the client in every aspect through sight, sound, and touch of the initial and follow-up evaluations. Meridian stress assessment is extremely cost effective by virtue of its simplicity, non-invasiveness, and earlier disease detection (resulting in earlier and therefore more effective interventions). Meridian stress assessment can provide causative determination of acute or chronic disease processes (Tsuei, Lam & Chou, 1996).

Conclusion

Orthodox and bioenergetic medicine need to recognize and embrace the great qualities that each has to offer and work together toward a system of health care that is safe, cost effective, more accessible and individualized. The quality of health outcomes can improve with the integration of meridian stress assessment, and its many capabilities, into modern medical practice. "With its solid theoretical foundation in physics and quantum mechanics, meridian stress assessment is perhaps the most modem medical methodology available today. The device, the tests that it performs, and the system may prove to be the greatest set of tools against disease created this century (Tsuei, 1996)." Although meridian stress assessment is used extensively around the world by over 70,000 practitioners as a primary diagnostic tool, it has clearance only as a biofeedback system in the United States. Considerable amounts of data are currently being gathered and analyzed, using scientific methods, for future publication and further validation of MSA and BEM. This is happening not only in the United States, but in clinics and research centers around the world. Further interest and research is warranted and encouraged in MSA and it is the hope of this author that the readers of this review will recognize the potential of MSA and BEM and be stimulated to such interest and research. Many of the most eminent holistic health care providers in the United States, and around the world, have recognized the benefits of meridian stress assessment and bioenergetic medicine and have incorporated them into daily practice. Incorporation of MSA systems into health care practices can only enhance orthodox practice and potentially assist in the bridging of long-held "cure-the-symptoms" model and a true holistic health care model. Meridian stress assessment is the most comprehensive system developed in medicine to date that has the ability to provide a truly holistic system of health care delivery (Tsuei, 1996).