What happens on Day 1 of the 2013 International Massage Therapy Research Conference

Posted: December 7th, 2012 | Author: admin | Filed under: massage | Tags: | No Comments »

MTF Marketing Committee volunteer Allissa Haines sat down with MTF President Ruth Werner to learn more about the conference happening in Boston in April, 2013.

The International Massage Therapy Research Conference will take place April 25-27, 2013, in Boston, Massachusetts. Registration is now open. In the video above, President Ruth Werner walked me through the schedule of a research conference and what a newcomer (like me) can expect. Ruth describes the structure of the large plenary (I learned a new word!) sessions that occur in the morning and the smaller workshops in the afternoons.

Day 1 will focus on the mechanisms of massage, that is, how massage works. We know that massage works, it makes people feel better. Why do we need to know how? When we begin to understand and track the physiological changes that occur through touch, we can be more effective in our work.


Announcing the 2012 Massage Therapy Foundation Research Grants

Posted: December 4th, 2012 | Author: admin | Filed under: massage | No Comments »

The Massage Therapy Foundation (MTF) is pleased to announce the funding of two Research Grants in the field of massage therapy for the 2012 granting cycle. Since 1993, the Massage Therapy Foundation has sought to fund important research in the field of massage therapy to advance the profession.

The first $30,000 MTF Research Grant has been awarded to Joan E. Cunningham PhD, at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston, South Carolina, for her study “Use of Therapeutic Massage to Treat Chemotherapy-Induced Peripheral Neuropathy (CIPN).” This condition is a common debilitating side effect of many standard chemotherapy drugs used in cancer treatment. CIPN’s symptoms include pain and numbness in the extremities, muscle weakness, stiffness, cramps and/or twitching. The current research for CIPN is lacking, and the underlying causes are poorly understood. This study aims to lay the groundwork for clinical trials focused on the physiological processes involved in CIPN, and hopes to establish the feasibility of using massage as a viable treatment for symptoms.

The second $30,000 MTF Research Grant has been awarded to Mark Blegen PhD FACSM, at St. Catherine University in St. Paul, Minnesota. His study, “The Effects of Massage Therapy in Conjunction with Exercise Training on Weight” will study whether using massage therapy as a reward for regular exercise could promote weight management. The research team will not only measure bodyweight and body fat percentage, but also the status of emotional eating, and physical and psychological measures of stress, anxiety, and mood to determine the effect of massage within a weight management program.

MTF President Ruth Werner said these studies “reflect two emerging fields for massage: the feasibility of integrating massage into medical treatments for complex conditions in Cunningham’s study on CIPN, and massage’s application as an aspect of general public health and wellness in Blegen’s study on massage and weight loss. The Massage Therapy Foundation is pleased to be able to support studies that have such clear clinical relevance for massage therapists.”

About MTF Research Grants

The Massage Therapy Foundation offers Research Grants for up to $30,000 to those conducting studies that seek to advance our understanding of specific therapeutic applications of massage, public perceptions of and attitudes toward massage therapy, and the role of massage therapy in health care delivery. Applications are now being accepted for the 2013 MTF Research Grants. The submission deadline is March 1, 2013. Learn more and apply online at www.massagetherapyfoundation.org/researchgrants.

IMTRC – Late Breaking Call for Abstracts

Posted: November 29th, 2012 | Author: admin | Filed under: massage | No Comments »

The Massage Therapy Foundation is now offering an opportunity to submit late breaking abstracts for oral presentations and posters at the 2013 International Massage Therapy Research Conference to be held in Boston, Massachusetts, on April 25-27th, 2013. Specifically, abstracts are requested in the following two areas:  (1) mechanistic studies on massage therapy, and (2) clinical research studies on massage therapy for specific conditions.

The research must be new and of sufficient scientific importance to merit special consideration after the standard abstract deadline. Abstracts should describe either large clinical studies or high-impact translational research that could not be completed prior to the original deadline. Late-breaking abstracts are abstracts which describe important current research advances and which have not been submitted previously.

Submission deadline is December 10, 2012. Please complete the abstract template and return it via email to Alison Pittas, Research and Grant Program Manager at apittas@massagetherapyfoundation.org

Learn more about the conference at www.IMTRC.org.

Abstracts will be peer reviewed by the Scientific Advisory Committee and assessed against the following equally weighted criteria:

  1. The objectives, methods/ target groups, results/activities, conclusions/deliverables are clearly described and appropriate.
  2. The relevance to the specified topic area
  3. Potential for advancement of massage and manual therapies practice, research, and policy
  4. The abstract represents original research or a novel concept.

All abstracts selected for presentation will be notified by January 1, 2013.  All presenters are required to register for and attend the conference and are responsible for their own expenses related to conference attendance and presentation.

The Massage Therapy Foundation has an equal opportunity policy and welcomes abstract submissions from all people regardless of race, color, creed, religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, disability, age, or marital status.

Happy Giving Tuesday from the Massage Therapy Foundation!

Posted: November 27th, 2012 | Author: admin | Filed under: massage | Tags: | No Comments »
Today marks the very first Giving Tuesday, the non-profit industry’s answer to Black Friday and Cyber Monday. People all around the country are using today to give back by supporting their favorite charities. We want to use today to highlight some ways that the Massage Therapy Foundation gives back to the massage industry all year long. Below are five things we used your donations for last year, all of which you can learn more about in our 2011 Annual Report.
  1. We awarded five Community Service Grants to people around the world, bringing massage to people who need it most: Orphans in Japan, indigenous Costa Ricans, at-risk women in Houston, elderly people in New Jersey, and formerly incarcerated men and women in Brooklyn, New York.
  2. We funded one Research Grant studying the effects of massage on chronic pain in patients trying to break their addiction to opioids.
  3. We recognized the outstanding work of three Practitioner Case Reports and five Student Case Reports for their contribution to the body of massage research.
  4. We were able to launch Basics of Research Literacy with Education and Training Solutions, an online course for anyone interested in learning more about research and how to apply it to their practice.
  5. We continued to publish the only open-access, peer-reviewed massage research journal, the International Journal of Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork.
There are many ways you can give back to the massage industry through the Massage Therapy Foundation. You can contribute to the body of research by conducting a case study of your own and submitting it to one of our case report contests. If you need funding for a massage research grant, or have an idea for a community service project, there is still plenty of time to apply before the submission deadlines next year. If you want to know more about research, register for Basics of Research Literacy – thanks to Education and Training Solutions, 65% of the proceeds go straight to the MTF. We cannot do what we do without your continued financial support.

Please consider making a donation today in honor of Giving Tuesday. Your gift will make a difference in the lives and health of others.

Bringing Relief to First-Time Mothers During Labor with Massage

Posted: November 21st, 2012 | Author: admin | Filed under: massage | No Comments »

Contributed By Jolie Haun, PhD, LMT; Sandy Anderson, BA, LMT, ABT; April Neufeld, BS, LMT, NCTMB

The Massage Therapy Foundation is always looking for ways to expand its borders. This month’s review reaches internationally to a study conducted at Baharlou University Hospital in Tehran, Iran. This recent publication in the Archives of Gynecology and Obstetrics examined the “effects of massage therapy and presence of attendant on pain, anxiety and satisfaction during labor” in first time mothers.

Since the beginning of time, the majority of women of childbearing age have reported experiencing intense pain and anxiety during labor, particularly first time mothers. Mortazavi and colleagues collected important data for women seeking relief during labor. The study included 120 women pregnant for the first time. Participants were between 16 and 36 years of age, with an average age of 23. Participants had normal term pregnancies (gestational age between 37 and 42 weeks) without complications at the time of admission to the hospital; and had cervical dilatation of no more than 4cm. Potential participants were not included in the study if a cesarean procedure was needed or if Oxytocin infusion was needed to accelerate or augment the progression of labor.

Participants were randomized into three groups of 40 participants: those receiving massage, those with an attendant, and a control group (no massage and no attendant). Participants in the massage group received firm rhythmic massage for 30 minutes during labor in three phases: latent phase (3–4 cm cervical dilation), active phase (5–7 cm cervical dilation), and deceleration phase (8–10 cm cervical dilation). These women were encouraged to close their eyes and breathe deeply while receiving massage. The massage protocol included shoulder and back massage, abdominal effleurage, and/or sacral pressure, depending on the participant’s preference. After a 30-minute massage at each stage, pain, anxiety and satisfaction levels were evaluated. Satisfaction was also measured 30 minutes after delivery (considered phase 4). A self-reported pain intensity scale was used to measure the labor pain. Anxiety and satisfaction were measured with a standard visual analog scale.

In the attendant group, an attendant who provided emotional support stayed with the mother throughout the entire labor. Participants in the control group received standard care, with no additional intervention. Outcomes regarding pain, anxiety, and satisfaction were also assessed in both the attendant and control groups.

Results indicated that participants in the massage group had lower pain scores in the second and third phases, compared to the attendant group. However, levels of reported anxiety were lower in the attendant group in second and third phases. Overall, satisfaction was higher in the massage group in all four phases. The massage group had lower pain and anxiety scores compared to the control group and higher satisfaction scores in the massage group compared to the control group. Participants in the attendant group also showed higher satisfaction when compared to the control group. Data findings also indicated that the duration of active phase was lower in the massage group compared to the other groups.

Mortazavi and colleagues conclude that the presence of an attendant can reduce anxiety and improve satisfaction. Additionally, massage is a safe and effective alternative for reducing pain and anxiety during labor and increases satisfaction. Notably, the active phase length was reduced by massage therapy and the presence of an attendant when compared to the control group.

However, before conclusions about the data can be made, study limitations should be noted. The small sample size in this study limits the power of the findings. Studies with larger sample sizes, representing diverse ethnic and cultural populations, as well as geographical locations are needed. In addition, objective outcomes, beyond those that are self-reports in nature, are needed to avoid participant response bias. For example, future studies can evaluate the effects of massage to reduce labor pain by evaluating bio-factors associated with pain and anxiety such as heart rate variability, cortisol levels and the use of pain medication.

Although these study limitations represent some concern for confounding effects (i.e. factors that influence outcomes that are not being measured), the research findings are compelling and warrant further investigation. These preliminary findings reveal massage and attendant presence provide a significant benefit for women during labor, which should be explored in obstetrics practice. Obstetricians serving women in need of perinatal care can provide enhanced support by providing patients with options to integrate complementary modalities into birthing plans.

As massage therapists continue to diversify their practice to meet clients’ needs and clients look for new ways to integrate massage therapy into their approach to healthcare, Mortazavi and colleagues present compelling evidence that the approach to birthing plans can be significantly improved through the presence and practice of massage therapists, and offer a pleasant complementary treatment during labor.

These findings also contribute to the wide field of massage therapy research. These data support the evidence-based practice of massage to treat anxiety and pain during labor; consistent with previous findings supporting the use of massage to reduce anxiety and pain associated with chronic pain, lower back pain, muscle pain in general, and cancer pain that is often associated with treatment. This study also illustrates the beneficial effects of massage therapy are experienced across different cultural and ethnic groups and geographic locations.

Source: Mortazavi SH, Khaki S, Moradi R, Heidari K, Vasegh Rahimparvar, SF. Effects of massage therapy and presence of attendant on pain, anxiety and satisfaction during labor. Arch Gynecol Obstet (2012) 286:19–23.


Reprinted with permission from the December 2012 (Vol. 12, Issue 12) Issue of Massage Today, www.massagetoday.com.

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