Research is an important part of any health care field. Scientific research helps both practitioners and clients better understand how massage therapy works and what kinds of results to expect, as well as lending credibility to massage therapy as a field.
As a working massage therapist, staying up to date on current research in the field can help you and your clients. Research helps us understand new massage therapy techniques, how they work, and in what circumstances they are the most effective. Learning about advances in massage therapy research can also provide great opportunities to educate our clients about both the benefits and the limits of massage therapy.
Before I became a massage therapist, I worked in research myself, so I am always interested to hear about what massage therapy researchers are discovering. The AMTA and ABMP regularly send their members information and articles about new research findings. If you want to dig even deeper, you can check out the Touch Research Institute, a center “devoted solely to the study of touch and its application in science and medicine” or the Massage Therapy Foundation, an organization which funds and supports scientific research and massage therapy education.
I enjoy listening to the Massage Therapy Foundation’s “Research Perch” podcast to learn about how massage therapy research is done. For massage therapists with a strong interest in science, there are even ways to make massage therapy research a part of your own practice or long-term career. This episode of Research Perch discusses some ways for LMTs to get involved: The Intersection of Massage Practice and Research: Community Massage Therapists as Research Personnel on an NIH-funded Effectiveness Study Check it out!