When you gather, read and most importantly understand massage therapy research, you can use that information to guide communication with your clients and improve your sessions. Massage research helps grow massage therapy’s acceptance by the public and by medical professionals.
Without research, medical massage might not exist, nor opportunities for massage therapists to work in hospitals or with professional athletic teams. Take the time to learn about organizations that support research into massage therapy.
Massage Therapy Foundation
The Massage Therapy Foundation (MTF) was formed in 1990. Its mission is to advance the practice and use of massage therapy through grants for scientific research, community outreach and educational scholarships, available to all massage therapists. MTF aims to bring “the benefits of massage therapy to the broadest spectrum of society through the generation, dissemination and application of knowledge in this field,” according to its website. MTF also awards research grants to individuals or teams conducting studies on the efficacy of massage for specific conditions and the role of massage in health care.
MassageNet Research Network
This practice-based research network uses data gathered from therapists and clients, in real-world settings, to answer important research questions. The network was established in 2009 with funding assistance from the Massage Therapy Foundation. Its mission is to “develop and maintain communication between professional massage therapists, students, educators and researchers,” according to its website.
National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health
The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) is one of 27 institutes and centers within the National Institutes of Health. NCCIH’s mission, according to its website, is to “define, through rigorous scientific investigation, the usefulness and safety of complementary and integrative health interventions and their roles in improving health and health care.”
NCCIH awards grants throughout the world to support CAM research and to provide training and career-development opportunities for pre-doctoral, postdoctoral and career researchers. Each year, NCCIH sets research priorities in specific areas of health, such as allergies or chronic pain syndromes, in order to fill gaps in existing research.
Touch Research Institute
The Touch Research Institute (TRI) was formed in 1992 by Tiffany Field, PhD, with a startup grant from Johnson & Johnson. Since then, TRI in Miami and its affiliates in the Philippines and France have conducted more than 100 studies on the effects of massage therapy.
According to TRI’s website, the institute’s mission is to “better define touch as it promotes health and contributes to the treatment of disease.”
Canadian Touch Research Center
The Canadian Touch Research Center conducts, supports and collaborates on research aimed at pain relief, pain prevention and improved quality of life. The center’s website states it is “the first in the country exclusively devoted to the knowledge advancement of massotherapy and technical touch therapies.”
The center works toward this goal by implementing research that evaluates the application of touch therapies for specific conditions and publishing the results of such research.
Ida P. Rolf Research Foundation
The Ida P. Rolf Research Foundation was founded in fall 2007. According to its website, it “encourages and supports interdisciplinary, scientifically sound research focusing on the therapeutic mechanisms, clinical effects, longer-term health effects and utilization of Structural Integration, a therapeutic method designed to evoke whole-body improvement of function and well-being.”