Force Sensing Table Technology®

Developed by faculty at CMCC, Force Sensing Table Technology™ embeds a force sensing platform into a chiropractic treatment table to provide users with immediate feedback regarding their performance of manual therapy. Delayed video feedback can also be incorporated to the FSTT® system. Our research, supported by the Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario (HEQCO), has demonstrated that students are able to improve their skills in manual therapy with less than an hour of practice using the FSTT®.

Read the latest FSTT Brochure 

Watch a demonstration of the FSTT®

For more information on how the FSTT®, can be used for teaching and research, please contact Dr. David Starmer , .

Life Sciences Labs

Directed by Dr. Brian Budgell, LS_SIthe Life Sciences Labs include the Neurophysiology and Immunology/Cell Biology Labs where researchers are investigating the cellular and tissue-level phenomena at the core of patients' pain and their responses to chiropractic treatment. Better understanding of the scientific underpinnings of chiropractic position us to improve the quality and effectiveness of treatment and enhances the dialogue between professions.

Upper cervical manipulation can have tremendous affects, both positive and negative, on human health and much attention has focused on the vertebral artery's sensitivity to physical forces, as this is thought to place patients at risk. However, remarkably, almost no research has investigated the innervation and neurally mediated behavior of these sensitive structures. Dr. Myra Kumka is addressing this important knowledge gap through meticulous anatomical dissections and histological studies of the artery. Dr. Kumka is attempting to identify autonomic and somatic nerves serving these vessels, as well as identifying the particular types of mechanoreceptors found in the vessel walls. These studies may help us to understand how cervical stimulation modulates diverse physiological functions, such as heart rate and blood pressure, and how manipulation of this vessel could lead to both therapeutic and adverse responses.

Cytokine profiles and pain response

Dr. Stephen Injeyan and Dr. Julita-Teodorczyk Injeyan are studying cytokine profiles in patients with back pain, and in patients who undergo spinal manipulation. Cytokines control many aspects of inflammation and pain, and so precise profiles may help us to identify patients who are more or less likely to respond to spinal manipulation. The Injeyans are using precise biochemical and molecular techniques including ELISA, western blot, immunofluorescence microscopy and PCR to produce some of the most detailed information available on the body's response to back and neck pain.

What makes TENS effective?

Dr. Guy Sovak is currently studying the mechanisms by which TENS (transcutaneous nerve stimulation) modulates the behavior of nerve cells. It is well known that TENS produces important clinical responses in different patients with pain and inflammation, but what are the mechanisms by which those responses are produced? Answering that question could help us to target and improve therapies. Dr. Sovak is working with different strains of neuronal cells, examining how TENS modulates the production and release of chemicals involved in pain and inflammation. He has discovered that TENS interrupts the normal behavior of cell membrane channels and ultimately suppresses the expression of certain genes responsible for inflammatory cytokine production.

Understanding spinal stenosis to improve interventions

The Director of the Life Science Labs, Dr. Brian Budgell is interested in the mechanisms and treatment of cord compression syndromes such as spinal stenosis. He has shown that, in short-term experiments, TENS-like stimulation can boost blood flow even in compressed spinal cord. He is now working on a model to implant and gently inflate almost microscopic balloons to mimic spinal stenosis in an animal model. He hopes that this research will help doctors to understand the mechanisms of disease – how and why compression harms the spinal cord - and to time their interventions more effectively.

Understanding pain in non-spinal tissues

Dr. Felipe Duarte comes to us from the University of Guelph, having just completed his Ph.D. under Dr. John Srbely. Dr. Duarte is especially interested in how spinal pain, for example in osteoarthritis, can induce pain and inflammation in extra-axial (non-spinal) tissues. Dr. Duarte is interested in both basic scientific studies in animals, and clinical studies in humans with biomechanical problems affecting the spine.

Human Performance Lab

human performance lab Human performance is often associated with sports and athletics; however, the name is equally applicable to less intense tasks such as desk work. The Human Performance Lab (HPL) studies the biomechanics of human activities that span a range from activities of daily living to high-level athletics. A key component of our work is to understand movement, which is fundamental to life.


Dr. Samuel Howarth, Director
Mr. Steve Tran, Lab Engineer
Dr. Steven Lester
Dr. Simon Wang
Dr. Diane Grondin
Dr. David Starmer
Dr. Shawn Engell 
Dr. Sheilah Hogg-Johnson

What's in the Human Performance Lab?

CMCC’s Human Performance Lab is outfitted with the necessary, and state of the art equipment and software to evaluate the biomechanics of human performance.

- Motion Capture
- Electromyography
- Force and Pressure
- Ultrasound
- Visual3D

Research Areas

Patient-centred biomechanics of manual therapy

Does changing patient posture or the clinician’s contact alter the forces and movements experienced by the patient during treatment? Can manual therapy influence patient movement after treatment? Do patient reports of reduced pain following treatment correlate with measurable changes in biomechanical behaviours during daily activities? Answering these questions will help us to understand the patient experience during manual therapy, and to identify biomechanical changes that could be linked to the therapeutic benefit of manual therapy.

Sports and exercise

Whether recreational, or competitive, participating in sports and exercise is a part of life for many of us. We study the biomechanical aspects of exercises to understand their demands on the human body, and to optimize their implementation into training and rehabilitation programs.

Biomechanics of daily living

Tasks that we do throughout the day, either at work or in our personal lives, have an impact on our bodies. Research in this area focuses on determining the physical demands of these activities, and developing effective strategies to reduce the risk of pain or injury.


The Human Performance Lab has historically conducted research with commercial partners. We are interested in expanding our connections with industry.  Please contact ${spammenot.encodeEmail("", "Dr. Howarth")} if you would like more information regarding any of these studies.

Research & Development

Committed to a culture of innovation

At its core, innovation is about developing ideas and solutions that address immediate and future needs for improvement. CMCC recognizes that innovation plays a very important role in advancing the chiropractic profession, and that research is an important part of the innovation process. Researchers, educational faculty, and clinical practitioners across CMCC work together to develop and evaluate new resources that will standardize clinician training, and treatment for patients.

Force Sensing Table Technology (FSTT®) System

CMCC is a leader in the development of technologies aimed at standardizing learning and assessment of manual therapy skills. The FSTT® system, developed by researchers at CMCC, embeds a force sensing platform into a chiropractic treatment table to provide users with immediate feedback regarding their performance of manual therapy. Delayed video feedback can also be incorporated to the FSTT® system. Our research, supported by the Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario (HEQCO), has demonstrated that students are able to improve their skills in manual therapy with less than an hour of practice using the FSTT™.

Human Analogue Mannequin (HAM™)

Faculty at CMCC developed the HAM™ to accompany the FSTT® system. The HAM™ has been designed with materials that simulate soft tissue and structural compliance of the human spine for training and evaluation of manual therapy skills. A flexible neck also lends the HAM™ to being used for practicing neck procedures. Future generations of the HAM™ will have additional articulated joints, and will include implanted sensors to provide users with direct information about forces and movements experienced by the HAM™ during manual therapy. Obtaining analytical information directly from the HAM™ is something that cannot be directly measured from human patients.

Opportunities for entrepreneur and industry partnerships

Researchers at CMCC are interested in partnering with entrepreneurs and industry to conduct product evaluation, and assist in developing solutions to a problem. Please contact the Dean of Research and Innovation, or contact a researcher from our directory for more information.