Purdue University Graduate School
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A Data Requisition Treatment Instrument For Clinical Quantifiable Soft Tissue Manipulation

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posted on 2021-10-12, 14:53 authored by Abhinaba BhattacharjeeAbhinaba Bhattacharjee
Soft tissue manipulation is a widely used practice by manual therapists from a variety of healthcare disciplines to evaluate and treat neuromusculoskeletal impairments using mechanical stimulation either by hand massage or specially-designed tools. The practice of a specific approach of targeted pressure application using distinguished rigid mechanical tools to breakdown adhesions, scar tissues and improve range of motion for affected joints is called Instrument-Assisted Soft Tissue Manipulation (IASTM). The efficacy of IASTM has been demonstrated as a means to improve mobility of joints, reduce pain, enhance flexibility and restore function. However, unlike the techniques of ultrasound, traction, electrical stimulation, etc. the practice of IASTM doesn't involve any standard to objectively characterize massage with physical parameters. Thus, most IASTM treatments are subjective to practitioner or patient subjective feedback, which essentially addresses a need to quantify therapeutic massage or IASTM treatment with adequate treatment parameters to document, better analyze, compare and validate STM treatment as an established, state-of-the-art practice.

This thesis focuses on the development and implementation of Quantifiable Soft Tissue Manipulation (QSTM™) Technology by designing an ergonomic, portable and miniaturized wired localized pressure applicator medical device (Q1), for characterizing soft tissue manipulation. Dose-load response in terms of forces in Newtons; pitch angle of the device with respect to treatment plane; stroke frequency of massage measured within stipulated time of treatment; all in real-time has been captured to characterize a QSTM session. A QSTM PC software (Q-WARE©) featuring a Treatment Record System subjective to individual patients to save and retrieve treatment diagnostics and a real-time graphical visual monitoring system has been developed from scratch on WINDOWS platform to successfully implement the technology. This quantitative analysis of STM treatment without visual monitoring has demonstrated inter-reliability and intra-reliability inconsistencies by clinicians in STM force application. While improved consistency of treatment application has been found when using visual monitoring from the QSTM feedback system. This system has also discriminated variabilities in application of high, medium and low dose-loads and stroke frequency analysis during targeted treatment sessions.


Degree Type

  • Master of Science in Electrical and Computer Engineering


  • Electrical and Computer Engineering

Campus location

  • Indianapolis

Advisor/Supervisor/Committee Chair

Stanley Y.P. Chien

Additional Committee Member 2

Brian King

Additional Committee Member 3

Sohel Anwar

Additional Committee Member 4

Terry Loghmani