What is HTMA?

A hair tissue mineral analysis (HTMA) is a sophisticated laboratory test that uses inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS) to analyse the mineral content of a sample of head hair. An HTMA provides accurate and reliable levels of key nutrient minerals (e.g. magnesium, zinc, and potassium), as well as heavy metals (e.g. mercury, arsenic, aluminum).

The results of an HTMA provides a window into the inner workings of your biochemistry over a one to three month period, providing insights into your stress and energy profile. An HTMA is not a medical or diagnostic test.

Why test hair?

An HTMA is non-invasive and reliable, bypassing the regulatory mechanisms of the blood when it comes to measuring mineral levels. The blood is the body’s transport medium and tight controls are kept over mineral levels in the blood even if levels are low within cells and tissues. The hair does not have this regulatory mechanism and thus can give insights into mineral levels at a cellular level.

Minerals and toxins deposit in the hair follicle in a non-random manner, proving a window into the inner workings of your biochemistry over a one to three month period (hair grows approximately 1 cm a month).

What can an HTMA tell me?

A properly interpreted HTMA can provide insight into:

  • Metabolic rate – fast or slow
  • Stage of stress – alarm, resistance or exhaustion (burn out)
  • Cellular energy production
  • Mineral imbalances

Your unique HTMA results provide a powerful framework to guide treatment decisions such as what micronutrient supplements you would benefit from.

When combined with an assessment of your psychological functioning as well as personality style, HTMA data can provide powerful context for understanding your presenting issues.

Is HTMA scientific?

There are thousands of published scientific studies that have used hair tissue mineral analysis (HTMA) to assess nutrient mineral and toxic metals in both humans and animals.

The HTMA laboratory I use for all my samples is Trace Elements Incorporated (TEI), in Texas, headed by David Watts Ph.D., a pioneer in the field of HTMA. TEI is a world-class facility that has analysed over 1 million hair samples since its inception in 1984.

The link below provides a sample of references to published scientific research that has used HTMA – http://www.traceelements.com/EducationalResources/HTMA.aspx

How did I train in HTMA?

I have received extensive training in the interpretation of HTMA’s from Rick Malter, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist and authority on HTMA who has been using it in his own clinical practice since 1980. Dr. Malter was a student of Drs David Watts and Paul Eck, two HTMA pioneers who collaborated from 1975 to 1984, establishing a conceptual framework for HTMA that combined oxidation rate (metabolic type – fast or slow), with Hans Selye’s general adaptation syndrome (GAS or ‘stages of stress’).

Sample HTMA result 


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