Massage Therapy Research Consortium
The Massage Therapy Research Consortium based in Burlington in Vermont , US advances massage therapy education and practice, and enhances public health, by collaboratively building research capacity in massage schools, and by fostering partnerships with research scientists in different communities.
The Massage Therapy Research Consortium is a voluntary collaboration of American massage schools that are interested in enhancing their own understanding of and participation in research on therapeutic massage. They have banded together to provide mutual support and to pool resources for joint educational and research activities.
The consortium acts as a network for participating schools, providing opportunities to learn, share experiences and expertise, and support the research endeavours of the schools. It also supports participating schools by developing resources to support staff and student education, and to enhance schools’ capacity to conduct research and to partner with outside researchers.
The consortium as a whole conducts small multi-site studies together and provides massage-related expertise to research partners.
- Clinic Client Study - The consortium is just completing data analysis on a qualitative study of how patients describe the effects of massage. The study was conducted in the student clinics of ten consortium schools.
- A Taxonomy of Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork - The consortium has drafted a taxonomy of therapeutic massage and bodywork designed especially to facilitate a range of research-related functions. (See InTouch March 2007) The taxonomy will be made available on the organisation’s website after publication.
- Lower Back Pain Study - A committee from the consortium is working with Drs. Dan Cherkin and Karen Sherman of Group Health Center for Health Studies in Seattle on a study comparing two different forms of massage as treatments for chronic lower back pain. The consortium designed the two intervention protocols being investigated. This study follows on the research done by Cherkin and Sherman some years ago that found massage to be beneficial in reducing pain and restoring functionality in people with chronic lower back pain. The current study, by comparing two very different forms of massage, one more relaxation-oriented and one more structurally-oriented, will help therapists understand whether one type of massage is more helpful in this regard than another; and if so, what implications that has for understanding the mechanism(s) through which massage does help alleviate pain.
- September 2005 - Building a Research Program in Your Institution: Lessons from the Massage Therapy Research Consortium - Panel Presentation made at Highlighting Massage Therapy in CAM Research, Albuquerque, New Mexico . September 25-27, 2005.
- May 2006 - Taxonomy of Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork: An Aid in Developing Sophisticated Intervention Protocols - workshop to be given at the North American Research Conference on Complementary and Integrative Medicine will be held in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, May 24th-27th, 2006.
- September 2007 - Client Descriptions of the Effects of Massage: Preliminary Data from a Qualitative Study. Presentation to be made at AMTA 2007 National Convention, Cincinnati, OH.