The methods of the GDV and the heart rate variability for evaluation of effect of the Ayurvedic massage

N. K. Belisheva , N. L. Solovievskaya, Premakumar, R.E. Mikhaylov, V.V. Megorsky
R&D Centre for Human Adaptation in the Arctic of the Kola Science Center of Russian Academy of Sciences(RDC HAA KSC RAS), Apatity, Russia
Kairali Ayurveda Vaidhya Madom, Kochuuvila Mukku, Kerala, S.India.
Apatity, Murmansk region, Russian Federation


Ayurveda is India’s traditional alternative therapy, which uses holistic

healing methods to promote good health. Abhyanga, the classic Ayurvedic oil

massage, addresses the client’s whole body, which promotes to a wide range of

physiologic and psychologic benefits [1,2,3]. However, if the effects of the various

‘‘Western’’ styles massage treatments are well documented [2-5], there have so far

been no studies evaluating Ayurvedic massage at a level that satisfies the quality

requirements of scientific investigation [2]. Only a single pilot study was

performed for assessment of the single-dose effect of Abhyanga in terms of its

impact on subjective stress experience [2]. Basler A.J. has found high statistically

and clinically significant reductions in subjective stress experience on the group of

examinees [2]. A consequent analysis of physiologic data indicated likewise

reductions in Heart Rate (HR), while a Blood Pressure (BP) reduction was only

found in the prehypertensive subgroup. Findings indicate that Abhyanga massage

is promising in reducing subjective stress experience [2] and in reduction of HR.

The results of this pilot study encourage to the further research with more stringent


The aim of this study was to study effects of the Indian traditional Ayurvedic

oil massage (Abhyanga) with the using of the formal methods of research in the

Western-scientific tradition and with alternative medicine method. 


Material and Methods.

Research was conducted in the Euro-Arctic region (Apatity city, Murmansk

region) with involving of 18 residents in the Apatity (50,30±2,49 years). All

patients were informed about the purpose and conditions of the experiment, and

gave their agreeing to participate in research. Patient treatment was performed by

using traditional Ayurvedic oil therapy (Abhyanga). Assessment of

psychophysiological state were carried out by traditional analysis of Heart Rate

Variability (HRV) [6] and by alternative medicine research [7-11] with applying of

the GDV-diagnostics indicators [9] before and after Abhyanga therapy. The

analysis of Heart Rate Variability (HRV) was based on a 5-minute recording of

HRV with using the "Omega-M" hardware-software complex

( Such indices as Heart Rate (HR), the duration of cardio

intervals (R-R), standard deviation of R-R (SDNN), High and Low frequencies of

the spectral range of HRV (HF and LF, respectively), total spectrum power of

HRV (Total), levels of adaptation (Adaptation) and psyco-emotional state (PsEm

index), health and stress indices, energy resource (Energy), metabolic rate were

used in this research.

Method of GDV-diagnostics (gas discharge visualization) is based on

analysis of luminescence (glow) electric discharge on the surface of objects that

are in alternating electric fields of high electrical voltage (5–30 kV) and frequency

(10–150 kHz)[7,10]. The characteristics of glow, which arises near surface of the

finger tips, when they placed in an electric field of high electrical voltage and

frequency serve as evaluation of the functional state of the body. All investigations

were conducted by using a pulse analyzer "GDV Compact" [7,11]. The obtained

GDV-images were processed in the program “GDV Energy Field”

( and converted to special indices: square of

glow (Sq), coefficients of entropy (CE), of the glow form (CF) and of the

symmetry of glow (CS) in the modes of registration glow "without filter" (mode 1)

and "with filter" (mode 2). GDV-grams in “mode 1” reflect an integral 

characteristic of the state of the body with general contribution of the central and

autonomic nervous systems (ANS) [9]. “Mode 2” allows cut the contribution of the

ANC in GDV-grams, thus displaying the basic features of the functional state of

the body. All parameters were presented in three projections: right, front, left,

except index of symmetry of glow, which was only in frontal view. Statistical

analysis and assessment of the significance of differences between the indices

before and after oil therapy was performed by the software package

«STATISTICA 10.0» using U-criterion of Mann Whitney, Kolmogorov-Smirnov

test and t-test for independent samples. Differences were considered significant at

p <0.05.


The study of the record of 92 electrocardiograms of patients before and after

oil therapy have demonstrated the significant improving of their health according

to values of HRV indices (Table 1).

Table 1. Comparing Heart Rate Variability (HRV) indicators in patients before and after oil therapy

(Abhyanga massage)

HRV indicators Median 25-75 percentiles Coefficient of variation
before after before after before after
HR, bpm 73,00 63,00 70,00-84,00 59,00-74,00 13,78 16,42
R-R, ms 812,00 950,00 712,00-852,00 807,00-1012,00 12,74 14,81
SDNN, ms 31,62 46,28 22,79-45,54 35,65-59,11 60,83 40,74
HF, ms2 196,64 531,77 64,64-474,18 180,75-781,54 220,11  109,28
LF, ms2 195,26 387,27 95,26-489,66 232,52-962,92 209,44  108,59
Total, ms2 907,96 1929,63 469,60-1814,05 1205,15-3079,56 160,43 81,41
Adaptation, c.u. 31,44 52,40 12,89-59,21 40,01-68,28 73,05 44,15
PsEm, c.u. 34,95 52,38 22,79-54,61 41,54-63,84 58,90 39,23
Health, c.u. 34,17 58,99 19,35-59,68  45,48-72,39 61,94 38,19
Stress, c.u. 181,86 89,57 95,56-333,60 49,12-124,94 80,52 123,33
Energy, c.u. 96,00 148,00 61,00-152,00 102,00-201,00 75,75 51,64
Metabolic rate 47,00 71,00 27,00-71,00 46,00-94,00 86,32 49,60
The significance of differences between all of these indicators corresponding to p<0.05


The Table 1 shows only values indices (before and after oil therapy) between

which are found significant differences (p<0.05). One can see that HR has reduced,

the average values of R-R intervals, SDNN, the power of HF, LF components,

Total spectrum power in HRV have increased after treatment of patients by oil

therapy. Reduction of HR, lengthening of the RR-interval and an increase in HRV

(SDNN) reflected in the statistical parameters are a good prognostic sign. The total result

of oil therapy manifests in such integral indicators of functional state of the body as an increase

in energy resources and metabolic rate in 1,5-fold and reducing stress levels in 2 times (Table 1).

Alternative method of research (GDV – diagnostics) has also revealed positive shifts in indicators of

functional state of patients after Ayurvedic oil therapy. We found that indices Sq in

all three projections significant (p<0.05) have increased in the “mode1” (Figure 1)

and in “mode 2” after the oil massage. Significant differences (p<0.05) were found

between values of CF in the right and in the front projections in “mode 1” before

and after oil therapy. Significant (p<0.05) the increasing of the CS, the reducing of

CE in the front projections in “mode 1” demonstrate Improving of the health after

oil therapy. Thus, alterations of indicators of GDV after oil massage are evidence

of positive influence of Abhyanga therapy.


Our results reveal new perspectives of consolidating of the traditional and

alternative research methods for attachments in holistic medicine. The fact that the

application of traditional and alternative methods for assessing of the state of the

body before and after the Abhyanga oil massage revealed the objective

characteristics of improving health, can serve as evidence for the Western skeptics

of the mighty power of traditional Indian methods for correction health.



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potential health abnormalities prior to even the earliest symptoms of an underlying condition, and

suggests courses of action.

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