Community Service: Touching Lives

Posted:Wednesday, February 21, 2018
Massage Therapist Karen Selph works with a patient at Maryville Children’s Health Services, a 2016 MTF Community Service Grant recipient

By Massage Therapy Foundation President-Elect, Doug Nelson, LMT, BCTMB, CNMT

Community Service Grants are the heart of MTF. These grants bring the benefits of massage therapy to populations that desperately need them, but do not typically have access to therapeutic massage. Over the years, MTF has given over $400,000 to such efforts. In 2016, we awarded grants to provide massage therapy to

• Medically fragile children
• Immigrant torture survivors
• Veterans
• Burn survivors in New England

Massage Magazine featured our grant for medically fragile children at Maryville Children’s Health Services in Chicago, IL. Recently, I had the chance to visit with the staff at Maryville and see firsthand the impact that our grant is making. It was gratifying and inspiring to hear how massage has positively affected the children. A staff member described how much of the touch these children receive involves a medical person poking and prodding them. To have the caring touch of a massage therapist results in smiles, giggles, and a moment of peace in a day often filled with struggle.

Two of the recipients of our 2017 Community Service Grants focus on massage and opioid use, one in the military and one in the general population. The opioid epidemic is a national concern and these projects explore the use of massage therapy as an alternative method of pain reduction. Both projects are research-ready, adding further possible impact for the profession.

Massage therapists strive to create a positive impact on people’s lives and the world we all share. Our Community Service Grants are proof of this spirit of generosity and humanitarianism within the profession.