Welcome to DC2Be Revolution. Helping Chiropractic students think big in order to live large. I'm your host Noah Volz and today I'm here with Dr. Anne Jensen. She has a varied history in the Chiropractic world. She got her Ph.D. from Oxford and she's published a lot of different research articles and considered an expert in emotional wellness and she's the developer of heart speak, the powerful innovative stress reduction process.
Noah: Thank you for being here.
Dr. Anne Jensen: Welcome, I'm really glad to be here thanks Noah. I know that there are a lot of students who are curious about research and want to be really involved in doing research in Chiropractic or at health or and wellness.
Noah: When I see they talk a little bit of your origin story how you transitioned from a clinician into a researcher and what that looks like for you now.
Dr. Anne Jensen: I was practicing in North Queensland in Australia for 11 years and during the last few years of practice was doing research in practice, I was doing some kind of fringy things and I thought I was seeing amazing changes.
Let's back up so when I was in practice, I was noticing in my patients that I was adjusting the same segments of the spine and I was also they were coming in with the same complaints and you know I was giving good adjustments, because if people were leaving better feeling better, but then six months later they come back in with the same complaints. Not that I was symptom oriented at all, I wasn't but after three months they'd come in at the same complaints. We never get ahead, we just seem to be keeping things that bay so then I went back to my original Chiropractic philosophy from DD Palmer.
What are subluxations caused by? Because I was really curious as to why we had to adjust the same areas of the spine each time. Subluxations are caused by trauma: physical stress; toxins chemical stress; or thoughts: mental-emotional stressed, chiropractors, were quite good at addressing physical stress and a lot of us are good at chemical stress, helping people detox and have the right night nutrition. But, we didn't have many tools to address mental-emotional stress.
Sure an adjustment will help people feel better mentally, emotionally but why did it keep coming back? I started looking around. I took a bunch of courses and I was seeing amazing results in my practice, when I started to add this component. That's when I started to say, “Hey we got to do some research on this and what am I seeing in practice to figure out what's actually happening.
I started designing a few little studies and I started to do some data collecting in practice. I found out I was doing poor quality research. As a result it was really hard to publish what I had done. I thought if I'm going to be serious about this and I was very serious about helping the Chiropractic profession advance I had to put my money where my mouth was and actually contribute to the evidence base.
I started looking around to see who was doing good research, good clinical research and it was Oxford in the UK. I applied and I actually got accepted to do my masters and so left Australia and went to the UK and did my Masters, and then my Ph.D. I don't exactly know how I got accepted either way now I have two Masters. A Master's from Oxford, a post-grad certificate from Austria and a Ph.D. from Oxford so it's been an interesting journey for 10 years.
Noah: When you were at Oxford, were you primarily doing Chiropractic research? I mean you said it was kind of a fluke that they let you in the first place, Oxford is not the first place I think of evidence-based Chiropractic research. How was that?
Dr. Anne Jensen: Sure, yes it was really interesting; I was the only chiropractor in the program and the only alternative health care professional in my PhD program. In my Master’s I was pretty much the only alternative person. Most of them were psychologists and social workers. I was not only doing something that was off the beaten track for clinical medicine, I was also doing something off to being track for Chiropractic.
I've really wanted to study the effect, I wanted to do a big clinical trial on an emotional healing technique with depression. You know your average normal every day depression, nothing with depression is normal but, you know the feeling blue. Not the clinical, major depression where people are suicidal. I wanted to help the general population just lift them up and feel better, which I had success in practice, so that's what I got accepted to do my Ph.D. for.
Then, when I was demonstrating this kinesiology based process in my department, my department at Oxford for my Ph.D. in the Department of Primary Care Health Sciences with hardcore medical researchers like some of the top names. The medical researchers around me and also in my department were seated in the Center for evidence-based medicine, so this is where it was happening.
When I was doing my very first presentation in my department and in my first year at Oxford and you are just figuring out what you want to do and demonstrating that in front of about 30 people.
Some of my students cohort, PhD students and some medical researchers were watching as I was demonstrating my muscle testing technique and a statistician in the back of the room stood up and says: “could you just stop talking please because if you don't stop talking I'm going to leave” and my supervisor stood up and said, look this has not been proven, this is not scientifically validated.
She's doing exactly what she needs to do in exactly the right place. It turns out that two years later that fella in the back of the room became my secondary supervisor. He was very impressed with the research methods and the data we were getting, and he came on board. What's really interesting is that at my graduation, my supervisor, told me that she was a General Practitioner and a medical researcher, a hardcore medical researcher. She confided in me that she really didn't think this was going to work so she wanted to be there what had happened, so it was interesting.
I was heckled, harassed, and ignored most of the time I was at Oxford for the better part of 10 years I was there. It was only in the last couple years that people started to pay attention to what was happening. As a result of that first presentation I did at my department and a few other things that happened in that first year, I was told: “you can't actually do a randomized trial on this process, until you show us that muscle testing actually works. I started to evaluate muscle testing and that took a life of its own and I put the depression study on the backburner. I did a series of six diagnostic accuracy studies on the validity of muscle response testing, the way I use it. It wasn't applied Kinesiology. Applied kinesiology is one thing, but the muscle testing research I did was not applied kinesiology it was just muscle response testing.
Anyway they're similar or related, but they're not the same. There are a few basic differences in Kinesiology. You are testing a variety of muscles and the weakness will mean certain things like organ dysfunction or normal neurological dysfunction, or it might mean organ dysfunction or meridian dysfunction. With muscle response testing which is used by over a million people around the world. Applied Kinesiologists use muscle response testing, but they make fun of it, they call it the arm push down test. One of my first studies I did was to determine how prevalent the arm push down test was used. It was used by about a million people around the world. Which is quite a lot and so with AK tests, every muscle response testing is basically the same indicator muscle over and over again, but with changing what your test for.
Noah: So it sounds like you validated muscle response testing is that what I'm hearing?
Dr. Anne Jensen: We got some very exciting results in my first study. The first study was a prevalent study. The first diagnostic test accuracy study, it was a quite a big study, with almost 100 people assessed, and we found that muscle testing can be used to accurately distinguish lies from truth. You can see my methods in the links to my papers.
They didn't believe me that I got such a big margin so they had me replicate it. The replication study and then three or four studies after that supported the findings of the original study. Now we have six studies to show how valid muscle testing is, which are now in the process of being published. This is exciting, really exciting because of the impact all of these studies can have on Chiropractic or really I mean muscle response testing.
Noah: What was the response to that validation? How is that really going to change the different types of conditions, or symptomology that muscle response testing is able to provide information about?
Dr. Anne Jensen: Muscle response testing is a tool, it's a test. Any test gives you information. How you apply that information is up to you, the practitioner. Then there are different ways to apply it, whether it be through applied kinesiology, through touch for health, through total body modification, heart speak, contact reflex analysis CRA.
There are a hundred different techniques that apply the muscle testing within it. We found that muscle response testing can be accurately used. Each of those technique systems is responsible to show that their whole technique system is effective for instance. We've been working with the neural organizational technique. We're planning a study that will show that it’s effective for traumatic brain injury. While it's not going to be a randomized trial. We'll have a series of participants, who have traumatic brain injury and then they'll be put through the specific protocol for them and we’ll compare them to a control group. We will compare the results to see if the not effective. We need to show if these different techniques and systems are effective and how effective.
Noah: You talk about the NOT study that is specific to TBI, seems like one of those things that's kind of in the Chiropractic realm but, taking it an outside of the Chiropractic realm into behavioral modification or psychology or neural reprogramming. That should not be too far out of our scope of practice, but it is. Do you have any plans of heart speak moving our skill set into that arena?
Dr. Anne Jensen: Actually we just spoke with a member of the IRB committee today, about the possibility of doing some research on heart speak and muscle testing. I want to do more muscle testing studies and more surrogate testing, which is really common from other muscle testers. This is where you're using another person's muscle to test. Someone who can't be tested for instance and also you'd like do muscle testing self-testing, which is also quite common out there. As far as heart speak we are looking at reducing stress levels.
It’s hopefully going to be a pilot study, hopefully I’ll get it approved sometime soon. With heart speak we can reduce overall stress levels in real time. I have lots of ideas and only so much time to do it.
Noah: My audience is primarily students and many of those students are really interested in the research. What would your recommendation be to students who hear this interview and are really excited about the work that you're doing? How could they support you or how could they get involved?
Dr. Anne Jensen: First of all a couple of things. When I was in Chiropractic school and for most of my pre Oxford life, I was told to do a case study on that; a case series on that and so on. If you look at the pyramid of evidence a case study is it's right at the bottom. It's a qualitative study, which is not considered good evidence. A case series are a bit better. So even though we are told to do case studies, I'm going to really urge you guys to not do case studies. Take the plunge and do a small trial instead. It doesn't really take that much more effort in the data collecting and in the writing up in the analysis. So I would suggest that first of all, also I did spend ten years at Oxford and in that ten years I was only asked one time how does muscle testing work. Where a lot of practitioners would want to know, how does muscle testing work. In my department no one cares if muscle testing worked, they wanted to know if it worked, how well it worked, and does it close harm. That's the job of a clinical researcher.
We’ve spent a lot of time and resources figuring out how Chiropractic works, when they don't really care. The policymakers and the funders they don't want to know how something work’s. They want to know if it works and how well it works.
Why don't we shift our funding to clinical studies and do randomized trials instead of brain scans, and things like that. We need to do more trials and then once we get a series of trials we can then do a systematic review, which is right at the top of the pyramid. Systematic review and meta-analysis are the top. How can students get involved? They can take the plunge like I did when I was in practice, just jump in.
I've learned so much and I’m free to help people. If people are really committed to doing a study I can certainly help. There's a program I did at Oxford that is open now to everyone. There is actually another chiropractor in the program. The best thing to do is to do it. It's one of those programs you can fly in for a week and be exposed to some of the best clinical researchers in the world. Do your masters in evidence-based health care and you can fly in for a week, it's a series of module based courses designed for clinicians in the field.
Search the Oxford website for masters in evidence-based health care, which then progresses on to a PhD. It was a really amazing experience, it wasn't easy and I had to be committed, but not once in those 10 years did I ever question if I was doing the right thing.
I've been asked to speak at seven conferences this year since my first papers are published. Not one Chiropractic conference. I was asked to speak at kinesiology, physical therapy, and energy psychology conferences. Get outside the profession, shake it up a bit, we need good quality research and it's the young ones like you guys that need to do it.
Noah: That's really the essence of the revolution, it's young people taking control of the profession making it what we want to see. So that it can serve more people and help the maximum number of people. Thank you for closing with that and bringing it full circle.
Writing with originality, generosity, compassion and purpose, Dr. Noah Volz imparts valuable lessons in an entertaining, engaging and snappy way―backed by a wealth of experience. As an author, chiropractor, and entrepreneur, he has started and run multiple companies and has been the host of the DC2Be Revolution YouTube channel and podcast.