A Decade of Building Massage Therapy Services at an Academic Medical Center as Part of a Healing Enhancement Program*

AWARD TYPE: Past Poster Presenter

Nancy J. Rodgers, BCTMB, Susanne M. Cutshall, APRN, CNS, DNP, Liza J. Dion, BCTMB, Nikol E. Dreyer, BCTMB, Jennifer L. Hauschulz, BCTMB, Crystal R. Ristau, BCTMB, CMT, PMT, Barb S. Thomley, BA, Brent A. Bauer, MD, FACP

The use of complementary and integrative medicine therapies is steadily becoming an integral part of
health care. Massage therapy is increasingly offered to hospitalized patients for various conditions to
assist with the management of common symptoms such as pain, anxiety, and tension. This poster
summarizes a decade of building the massage therapy service at a large tertiary care medical center, from
the early pilot studies and research to the current program offerings, and the hopes and dreams for the

*Rodgers NJ, Cutshall SM, Dion LJ, Dreyer NE, Hauschulz JL, Ristau CR, Thomley BS, Bauer BA. A decade of building massage therapy services at an academic medical center as part of a healing enhancement program. Complement Ther Clin Pract. 2015; 21(1):52-6.

Case report: Manual Therapies Promote Mobility and Continence In an Adult with Cerebellar Agenesis

AWARD TYPE: Past Poster Presenter

Susan Vaughan Kratz, OTR, CST

Introduction: Cerebellar agenesis is a rare condition in which the brain develops without a cerebellum. Individuals with either congenital or acquired cerebellar agenesis often have significant impaired mobility, and function, sensory motor deficits, speech, and often other cognitive impairments.

Objective: This case reports on the results of using CranioSacral Therapy (CST) to treat an adult female with cerebellar agenesis and other congenital malformations.

Case Presentation: A 22 year-old female with congenital cerebellar agenesis presented to a private therapy clinic for treatment of chronic pain following spinal surgery which occurred 6 years prior. The patient had life-long movement disorder; cerebellar ataxia; neurogenic bowel and bladder dysfunction; and required maximal assistance for walking, standing, and changing position due to pain and lack of strength, balance, and control. The treating therapist noted extreme athetosis of the head, neck, and shoulders and a significant keloid scar along the posterior vertebral surface.

Intervention: Ninety-one, 45-60 minute, CST sessions were conducted over a four-year period with minimal/occasional use of proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation, myofascial release, scar reduction techniques, and lymphatic drainage. The primary goal was relief of chronic pain, but shifted to a general health and wellness focus when that goal was attained.

Results: Following 18 sessions of CST within the first six months, the primary goals of pain relief were attained. The patient’s mother reported this as “the only therapy she has ever attended where she indicates receiving comfort. She appears motivated to come and I know she feels better and her mood is better.” After 4 years, CST also contributed to marked improvements in functional movement skills and unexpected attainment of fecal continence. The patient’s mother again reported “she has started to be able to go to the bathroom and is now using the toilet and is independent with her bowel control now. It’s a huge impact that we are all very happy about”.

Conclusion: Clinical significance of these outcomes arouses curiosity about the type of stimulation CST provides to the central nervous system and any effect upon neuroplasticity.

Chronic Ankle Instability (CAI), Clinical Reasoning and Research Literacy: a Case Report

AWARD TYPE: Past Poster Presenter

Rosi Goldsmith, BA, LMT, DAFNS

Introduction: Ankle sprains comprise up to 85% of athletic injuries. Most heal without consequences. Chronic ankle sprains, especially in sports, can result in more proximal complaints. A perception of instability and sensorimotor deficits are key symptoms of chronic ankle instability (CAI).

Objective: To note how clinical reasoning and research literacy reframed a clinical focus CAI that improved outcomes and patient satisfaction.

Case Presentation: A 48-year-old athletically-inclined corporation middle manager had a history of sports injuries. After multiple prior treatments, including two knee surgeries, she still experienced restriction in her ability to walk, run, stand, squat, or engage in sports. The patient’s initial complaint was knee pain.

Interventions: Ortho-Bionomy® (O-B) techniques were initially applied to hypertonic, painful muscles around the knee and proximal to it, in 7 sessions over 4 months. The practitioner surveyed the research and found that patient self-report of lower limb instability is an indication of CAI, despite absence of pain at the anteriotalofibular ligament (ATFL). Positive anterior drawer and talar tilt tests suggested a change of focus to the ankle. O-B for ATFL and calcaneofibular ligaments was applied in 3 sessions. Four months later, the patient presented with re-injury, and practitioner found new research recommending massage techniques for CAI sensorimotor deficits. Practitioner assessed ATFL pain by palpation and pinwheel tests, and found diminished sensation and changed frequency, dosage and methods. In 11 half hour sessions over 4 weeks, practitioner used O-B for proximal fibula and hypertonic lower leg muscles plantar fascia massage, ankle isometric and isotonic exercises to increase proprioceptive awareness and improve ankle biomechanics to prevent re-injury.

Results: Following the first 4 months of treatment, the patient reported diminished knee pain, but a perception of instability. The 5th month, with ankle-focused sessions, increased the patient’s perception of stability, but did not prevent re-injury. The last series of treatments 4 months later, the patient reported increased proprioception, “I can be mindful of how I use it”, “Feel close to normal”, “I am excited about getting my body back”, “I just thought it was my knee”, “Now I’m noticing the healing.”
Implications: Massage practitioners may apply clinical reasoning skills, assessments within their scope of practice, and research literacy to target physiological dysfunction that is not immediately obvious or reported by the patient.

Oral & Poster Abstract from the 2016 International Massage Therapy Research Conference. International Journal of Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork. 2016; 9(2): 9-27.

Disabling Shoulder Pain Treated by Contralateral Isometrics with Ipsilateral Ortho-Bionomy, Massage and Visualization: A Case Report

AWARD TYPE: Past Poster Presenter

Rosi Goldsmith, BA, LMT, DAFNS

Introduction: Shoulder pain is the third most common musculoskeletal condition, with high social-economic costs. Contralateral inhibition (CI) has been used to treat a limb affected by stroke and to prevent unilateral overuse sports injuries, but is not well researched for pain treatment. This is the first such case report on CI for disabling shoulder pain.

Case Presentation: The patient was a married, 45 year old, right-handed male, with a 3-year history of right shoulder pain following a traumatic injury. The slightest touch or use of his right arm exacerbated the pain for days and interfered with all aspects of his daily life. Previous treatment included surgery, psychotherapy, pain management training, physical therapy, and chiropractic. He took analgesics, and wore an advanced transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) unit for approximately 2 hours daily.

Methods: The practitioner identified the most painful tissues in the affected right arm, then applied isometric and very slow isotonic contractions to homologous left arm muscles. The patient’s wife was recruited to assist with daily home exercises. The practitioner applied cross-fiber friction, myofascial release and proprioceptive exercises to the right arm when direct touch became tolerable. The patient recorded VAS pain scales at each session and kept a weekly frequency/duration log of TENS unit use. The practitioner charted verbal narratives on other changes the patient experienced.

Results: Following 12 clinical sessions in 24 weeks, the patient had a 50% VAS reduction in between-session pain, and TENS unit usage dropped from 13-14 hours per week to none. The patient reported improvements in sleep and confidence, as well as resumption of normal home and family activities. He also reported that he was able to return to work for the first time in three years.

Conclusion: Physical therapy research has documented CI with “neurological crossover” effects, but it is not well researched. A prospective study could choose more appropriate rating scales, and determine when CI treatment might be most effective. This case suggests massage therapy may be beneficial for some cases of severe unilateral pain, but additional larger scale studies are needed.

Effect of Massage Therapy on the Proprioceptive System of an Autistic Child—a Case Study

AWARD TYPE: Past Poster Presenter

Rachel Benbow, LMT, BA, MLIS

Introduction: Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) often have an underdeveloped or dysfunctional proprioceptive system, leading to significant motor skill delays and increased anxiety. There is not enough clinical research to indicate the efficacy of massage therapy on proprioceptive dysfunction in children with ASD, but if shown effective, massage therapy could offer a new intervention for this issue.

Objective: The objective of this case report is to describe changes in the proprioceptive abilities of a child with ASD after the application of 8 massage therapy sessions over a four week period.

Case Presentation: The subject of the case report was a 5 year old Caucasian female client with mid to high functioning autism and proprioceptive dysfunction. The client’s proprioceptive dysfunction impairs gross motor planning and execution, creating gross motor developmental delays.

Intervention: Eight 40 minute massage therapy sessions, consisting of Swedish massage and foot reflexology, were administered twice a week over four weeks. The Swedish massage protocol utilized strokes stimulating to muscle spindle proprioceptive neurons. The foot reflexology focused on reflex points specific to the nervous system. Improvements in proprioceptive abilities were monitored through pre and post-massage testing activities that included single foot balancing, jumping rope, back-and-forth ball bouncing, and independent ball dribbling.

Interpretation: The client displayed improvement in proprioceptive testing tasks at a much faster rate than her usual learning curve. Proprioceptive progress was demonstrated by gains in gross motor skills pertaining to postural control, overall body coordination, and use of force.
Implications: Although positive results were achieved within this case study, more extensive studies are needed to support the efficacy of massage therapy on proprioceptive dysfunction in children with ASD. Further research is needed to determine which intervention in this case study, Swedish massage, foot reflexology, or the combination of the two, is responsible for the observed changes.

Oral & Poster Abstract from the 2016 International Massage Therapy Research Conference. International Journal of Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork. 2016; 9(2): 9-27.

Effectiveness of Massage Therapy in Improving Range of Motion and Posture of Shoulder and Cervical Region in a Morbidly Obese Patient: A Case Report


Kianoosh Esraghian
Grant MacEwan University – Edmonton, Alberta, Canada


Background: Range of motion (ROM) is defined as the extent of movement of a joint for a
certain inter-segmental rotational movement. Range of motion is primarily restricted by
musculature and skeletal structures. It may also be affected by other factors such as age, gender,
and obesity, which can have debilitating effects. Lack of physical activity, reduction in function,
and fatty tissue surrounding the joints or adjacent structures may contribute to restrictions in
range of motion in obese individuals. Lack of suitable equipment and protocols for treating
morbidly obese individuals limits the effectiveness of the therapist and the desire of the patient to
consider massage therapy as a viable treatment option.

Objective: To demonstrate the effectiveness of massage therapy on reduction of symptoms in a
morbidly obese patient experiencing pain in the shoulder, restrictions in ROM during specific
movements, and acquired postural alterations.

Methods: A 58-year-old disabled, morbidly obese male presented with pain and stiffness in his
right shoulder. A student massage therapist conducted initial and final assessments and treated
the patient over a six-week period. Techniques were chosen to help the patient reach his goals of
reducing pain, and improving range of motion and posture. Techniques utilized were trigger
point therapy (TrP), soft tissue frictions (STF) and direct fascial (DF) techniques. Stretches were
chosen to help maintain results and promote active recovery.
Results: After five treatments, shoulder and cervical ROM increased and shoulder pain
diminished. The patient was able to move through the entirety of range with minimal discomfort.

Conclusion: Results suggest that with modified positioning and techniques, massage therapy
combined with therapeutic exercises can help reduce non-specific shoulder pain, increase range
of motion, and improve posture in morbidly obese patients.

Keywords: range of motion, obesity, homecare, shoulder, cervical

Evaluating the impact of General Swedish Massage, Cross Fiber Frictions, Neuromuscular and Myofascial Techniques on Range of Motion, Skin sensation and Nerve pain in a Third-Fourth Degree Chronic Burned Victim: A Case Study

AWARD TYPE: Past Poster Presenter

Nicole Gnadt, LMT

Objective: To determine if Myofascial release, Swedish massage, Neuromuscular therapy, and frictions performed local to affected bilateral chest; combined with pain free stretch and strengthen exercises has an impact on pain, itch, anxiety, range of motion, sensory of the skin, and nerve pain in a chronic burned victim. The goal is to decrease adhesions, hypertonicity, improve tissue elasticity in the client’s bilateral chest area, and restore range of motion to the bilateral glenohumeral joints.

Case Selection: A Caucasian male, age thirty, with no history of illness nor use of other therapies, who has a chronic third-fourth degree burn to his bilateral chest and the right side of his neck. The client has a full thickness graft in the form of an oval shape to the middle section of his throat and normal skin grafts to his bilateral chest and the right side of his neck.

Methods: Seven 60-minute treatments were conducted, twice a week. Prior to each treatment, 30-minutes of assessments were collected, including the McGill pain questionnaire, state trait anxiety form, and active/passive range of motion tests. Resisted muscle testing, pec contractor test, a two-point discrimination test, and a modified nerve pain test were done prior to the first treatment and after the seventh treatment. The 60-minute massage treatment consisted of Myofascial release, Neuromuscular therapy, Swedish massage and Cross Fiber frictions. Homecare recommended included the use of a stretch and strengthen exercise with a moisturizer.

Results: The client had a significant increase in nerve pain and skin sensation to his chest bilaterally. Upper/middle trapezius strength increased, as well as range of motion of his bilateral glenohumeral joints. The client had a significant decrease in the McGill pain score and itch with use of certain massage techniques. Following the seventh treatment, the pec contracture test was negative but no difference was found in state trait anxiety.

Conclusion: Massage was beneficial in reducing itching and pain levels, as well as increasing overall range of motion, nerve pain and skin sensation in a third-fourth degree chronic burned victim.

Integrating Body-Oriented Therapy Practices in Trauma Informed Care

AWARD TYPE: Past Poster Presenter

Tara McManaway, M.Div. C.A.G.S., LMT, LCPC, ALPS

Introduction: Trauma is, by definition, unspeakable and unbearable. Trauma interferes with language and the fight/flight response. Counseling and mental health treatments for trauma may incorporate embodied practices, including massage therapy and movement. A review of available literature across disciplines was conducted to investigate evidence of benefit of this integration. Body-oriented therapy needs to be defined, evidence supported practices for use in trauma work identified, and supervision and ethical considerations for body-oriented practitioners developed.

Objectives: (1) Identify evidence-supported practices that may be effective in trauma work. (2) Identify preliminary best practices utilizing body-oriented therapy. (3) Identify supervision and ethical considerations for body-oriented practitioners.

Methods: A review was conducted of available books, journal articles, dissertations, reviews and research articles from 1996-2015 accessing databases and collections available through Johns Hopkins University Catalyst —including but not limited to publications from mental health, psychology, psychiatry, neuropsychology, neuroscience, massage therapy, public health, epidemiology, and trauma. 158 publications were identified and reviewed for basic supporting science; treatment effectiveness specific to trauma symptomology; preliminary evidence; current best practices; and ethical and supervision considerations in body-oriented trauma-informed care.

Results: The review indicated that body-oriented therapies may be categorized into no-touch or near-touch therapies, movement therapies, and touch therapies. Pilot studies with torture, trauma, and sexual abuse survivors, as well as other findings, although limited, suggest that body-oriented therapy may play a unique role in the path toward embodiment for trauma survivors. Ethical and supervision issues were identified and guidelines developed based on best practices to date.

Conclusion: Body-oriented therapies show promise in helping reconnect the body sensations with emotions, reduce anxiety, improve restorative sleep, and help clients create and repair functioning connections to body awareness and emotional control that were damaged during trauma. A number of supervision considerations need to be addressed when working ethically with vulnerable populations of trauma survivors.

Oral & Poster Abstract from the 2016 International Massage Therapy Research Conference. International Journal of Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork. 2016; 9(2): 9-27.

Massage and Burn Scar Therapy for Burn Survivors in the New England Area

AWARD TYPE: Community Service Grants

Brecken Chinn, PhD
Hand Reach
East Falmoth, Massachussetts

HandReach is a network of compassionate professionals dedicated to improving quality of life for burn
and trauma survivors. HandReach works at the acute, reconstructive, and psychosocial levels to help
individuals debilitated by severe burns and amputations return to full function and a productive future.

The objective is to provide massage and burn scar therapy to underserved burn survivors in the New
England area who might otherwise not be able to afford treatment. Financial hardship may be due to being out of work during their recovery; not being able to return to work; or permanently disabled.

Massage Perceptions and Experiences for Individuals with Amputations

AWARD TYPE: Research Grants

Niki Munk, PhD, LMT
School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences
Indiana University
Indianapolis, IN

The 2016 Massage Therapy Foundation Research Grant award will support the completion of a developing amputation related therapeutic massage and bodywork (TMB) research program for early career TMB practitioner researcher, Dr. Niki Munk and will be conducted at the Indiana University’s School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences.
Evidence informed practice is built from clinical experience, patient preferences, and the best research evidence available. Currently, little to no published research exists to elucidate TMB application, effect, or theoretical approach for individuals with amputations compromising the three-legged evidence based practice stool. Approximately 1.6 million people currently live with an amputation in the U.S. and this rate will double by 2050. Those with amputation face many chronic and/or reoccurring pain conditions and many with amputation related pain do not receive satisfactory relief through the typical opioid and anticonvulsant treatment regime. Massage therapy is a treatment self-reported by those with amputation as moderately-extremely effective, but no research has specifically examined efficacy or effectiveness in this regard. In order for meaningful and translatable TMB research to be conducted, an understanding of how and to what effect TMB is actually used for amputation related sequelae is needed. The overall aims for the developing research is to 1) explore and describe how, what, and why professional TMB care is sought by or applied to individuals with amputations and 2) explore and describe perceived treatment outcomes of professionally delivered TMB for individuals with amputations and to what and why perceived outcomes are attributed, from the perspectives of both TMB practitioners and the amputation population. Step I of the study, TMB practitioner perspective, has been completed with results currently in dissemination. Step II of the study (supported by the current award) will focus on the perspective of individuals with amputations and has three specific aims and one exploratory aim:
Specific Aim 1: Describe general perceptions of TMB and usage for individuals with amputations.
Specific Aim 2: Explore and describe the reasons or not adults with at least one amputation seek professional TMB care.
Specific Aim 3: Explore and describe perceived treatment outcomes of professionally delivered TMB for adults with at least one amputation.
Exploratory Aim: Generate potential relationship hypotheses between TMB usage and self-reported health for individuals with amputation.
To meet study aims, we are conducting a mixed methods study using a modified convergent parallel design in two amputation specific populations: those who have received TMB treatments (TMB Experienced) and those who have not received TMB treatments (TMB Naïve).
Stage III of the developing research program efforts will combine data from Stages I and II to identify alignment, divergent, and gaps between TMB practitioner and amputation population perspectives regarding TMB for amputation related sequelae. The whole of our efforts will be used to inform evidence based recommendations to TMB researchers, practitioners, and educators.

Massage Therapy as a Treatment for Rheumatoid Arthritis Affecting the Wrist and Hand: A Case Report


Brandy Sharpe
MacEwan University – Edmonton, Alberta, Canada


Background: Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a chronic autoimmune disease with a characteristic
destructive nature, and is marked with periods of exacerbations and remissions. Affecting any
joint in the body, RA presents with inflammation, pain, stiffness, edema, and a decrease in joint
function over time. The cause of RA is unknown.

Objective: To examine the effects of massage therapy on RA affecting the wrist and hand using
goniometry, grip strength measures, pinch strength measures, and subjective pain scales.
Methods: The study period included an initial and final assessment with the treatment being six
massage therapy sessions carried out by a student massage therapist over a seven-week timespan.
The subject, a 64-year-old female, presented with RA affecting the left wrist and hand. The
intent of the treatment was to increase grip strength, pinch strength, and range of motion (ROM),
and to decrease pain. In order to achieve these goals, a massage routine with specific techniques
was created. Longitudinal stroking (effleurage), petrissage, trigger point (TrP) therapy, frictions,
manual oscillations, and paraffin wax were the methods applied to the affected hand and wrist.

Results: Grip and pinch strength improved in both the affected and unaffected hands. ROM
increased in the affected hand. The unaffected hand’s ROM results varied, with a slight increase
in one motion and a decrease in another. The subject reported a decrease in pain in the affected
wrist and hand.

Conclusion: The results suggest that certain massage therapy techniques, when implemented
regularly, have a positive effect on RA in the form of increasing strength and ROM, and
decreasing pain.

Keywords: Rheumatoid arthritis, massage, manual oscillations


Massage Therapy for Immigrant Torture Survivors

AWARD TYPE: Community Service Grants

Carol Gomez
Program for Torture Victims
Los Angeles, California

The Program for Torture Victims (PTV) is a 501c3 non profit organization that was founded in 1980 to address the complex psycho-social and health needs of survivors of political torture. For the past 35 years PTV has provided comprehensive services to immigrant survivors of political torture living in southern California. Torture survivors we see have mostly experienced complex trauma (sexual violence, physical assaults, prolonged periods of detention and/or isolation, psychological persecution/intimidation/threats, community/state violence, trafficking, domestic violence) and arrive from over 70 countries across the globe.

PTV will offer therapeutic massages services to help bring relief to the suffering of torture survivors. The provision of massage therapy will help to alleviate pain, reduce muscle tension, decrease stress and help survivors regain connection with their body.


Massage Therapy for Medically Fragile Children

AWARD TYPE: Community Service Grants

Shawn Pickett
Maryville, Children’s Healthcare
Des Plaines, IL

The Maryville Children’s Healthcare Center (CHC) treats medically fragile, technology-dependent infants and children who need hospital-to-home transitional care or palliative and hospice care. The CHC offers individualized care and crucial parental training of specialized child care in a homelike environment that combines traditional medical care with alternative medicine approaches to relieve pain, enhance comfort and facilitate healing. The Massage Therapy for Medically Fragile Children program is designed to improve the overall well-being of CHC pediatric patients as well as adjunct the traditional allopathic medical and nursing care. Specific objectives include employing massage therapy to relieve pain and reduce the need for pain medications; enhance physical comfort; facilitate healing/recovery from wounds and orthopedic surgery; increase tolerance to chronic therapies such as ventilator, gastric feedings and IV nutrition, and increase socio-emotional engagement through the positive sensations generated by human touch. These outcomes are documented in patient case notes, which include data on vitals, medication and other medical services delivered, and measurable data reflecting stress levels and other quality of life indicators.

The alternative therapy program was implemented in the spring of 2014 with an initial grant from the Oberweiler Foundation. The impact of stress and how it it’s addressed continues to be revealed in growing numbers of physiological and health and community health research. The use of alternative therapies to complement traditional western medicine has grown alongside the increase in the numbers of medically fragile children with special health care needs. According to the 2012 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS), 11.6 percent of the more than 10,000 children aged 4 to 17 included in the survey had used or been given some form of complementary alternative medicine (CAM) during the past year. More than half of children with chronic medical conditions use some form of CAM, usually along with conventional care. The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH), one of the National Institutes of Health, reports the beneficial effects of massage therapy on pain and other symptoms associated with a number of different conditions. Much of the evidence suggests that these effects are short term and that people need to keep getting massages for the benefits to continue.


Massage, Bodywork and Mind-Body Interventions For Parkinson’s: A Case Report

AWARD TYPE: Past Poster Presenter

Rosi Goldsmith, BA, LMT, DAFNS

Introduction: Parkinson’s Disease (PD) is a progressive neurodegenerative disorder, with symptoms of rigidity, tremor, postural instability and bradykinesia. Sleep disorders, fatigue, emotional issues, and cognitive changes are some non-motor symptoms (NMS) which negatively impact Quality of Life (QoL).

Objective: Research done within various populations using massage, focused exercise, mind-body practices, and imagined movement have shown benefits to associated brain areas, emotional issues, and/or motor symptoms implicated in Parkinson’s. No previous studies have investigated these combined therapies for PD patients. This study asks whether a multi-modal program could affect PD symptoms.

Case Presentation: A 63 year old male with PD 5 years post-diagnosis, was taking Sinemet. Patient identified goals of pain relief, improved mobility, slowing of PD progression, and symptom control. Initial assessment showed moderately stooped posture; mild to moderate rigidity of neck and major joints; bilateral pain at shoulders; and impaired balance.

Methods: Fifty-six bodywork sessions over eight months included: Massage, Ortho-Bionomy; mindfulness and interoceptive awareness training; and neurological exercises including single leg stand and vertical eye saccades. A home program was developed from clinical practices, with adapted yoga, meditation, and mental rehearsal of his exercise/yoga routine. Joint range of motion (ROM), balance, and eye saccades were assessed clinically throughout the study. Pain, motor and NMS, and QoL were assessed by validated instruments: Visual Analog Scale (VAS), Non-Motor Symptom Scale (NMSS), PD Quality of Life-39 (PDQ-39), Modified PDQoL (PDQoL), and Unified Parkinson’s Disease Rating Scale (UPDRS).

Results: ROM, balance, and eye saccades improved based on clinical assessments. VAS of pain showed a decrease from 7/10 to 4.5/10. PDQ-39 showed an 11.5% overall improvement, with the largest subscale improvement in Activities of Daily Living (ADL) (33%). PDQoL demonstrated notable subscale improvements of Emotional Functioning (12.5%) and Parkinsonian Symptoms (21.6%). NMSS showed a 26% overall improvement, with specific domain improvement in Sleep/Fatigue (10%). UPDRS showed notable improvements in Motor Examination (15%). Patient reported he could often calm “off” symptoms of fatigue, tremors, and RLS by meditation and exercise/yoga mental rehearsal, resulting in improved sleep, confidence and self-satisfaction.

Implications: Multiple therapies and medication changes may have introduced confounding variables; and variations in Parkinson’s symptoms and massage clinical practice make it hard to reproduce. The possibility of benefits to QoL and NMS suggests a controlled study using multiple evidence-based modalities, including bodywork, might be worthwhile.
Oral & Poster Abstract from the 2016 International Massage Therapy Research Conference. International Journal of Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork. 2016; 9(2): 9-27.

Monday Massage for Veterans

AWARD TYPE: Community Service Grants

Char Marx
Clear Path for Veterans Wellness
Chittenango, New York

Recognizing the responsibility of communities to help those who serve, Clear Path for Veterans empowers service members, Veterans, and their families through supportive programs and services in a safe, respectful environment. Clear Path for Veterans is fully accessible for Veterans with mobility limitations.

The Massage Therapy Foundation funding will facilitate a demonstration project to help Veterans who have participated in programs at Clear Path for Veterans to take the next step, and access services in their home communities.  Massage Monday for Veterans will offer a package of two one hour massage experiences to Veterans in Central New York to address issues of stress, pain, anxiety and/or difficulty sleeping.  Massage Monday for Veterans participants will be identified through outreach efforts from the existing Clear Path Wingman, Peer Mentor and Dogs2Vets programs.

Online Students Want More…Teachers?

AWARD TYPE: Past Poster Presenter

Susan G. Salvo, MEd, LMT, BCTMB

Purpose: Student satisfaction is one of the five pillars of quality online education. In 2015, nineteen percent of massage schools offered online courses for their entry-level programs. If trends in massage education follow colleges and universities, this number will increase. The purpose of this study was to gain a deeper understanding of how students perceive their online educational experiences. Educators and administrators are interested in this topic as satisfied students are more likely to achieve academic success, less likely to drop out, and more likely re-enroll in future online courses.

Methods: Studies, reports, and textbooks were obtained using scholarly databases. Keywords used during searches were online, distance, learning, education, student, perception, attitude, university. Inclusion criteria were participants must be students of higher education and must have completed at least one online course. Publication dates must be prior to January 2000. Studies that examined faculty perceptions were excluded. Data gathered from 34 sources were used during analysis.

Results: Students cited flexibility and convenience as primary reasons why they choose online courses. Learning management systems (LMSs) were important to online course implementation. The most valued LMS features were uploading assignments and utilizing digital resources such library databases. The least valued feature were discussion boards. Students had a strong preference for courses that were well-organized. One consistent finding was students felt there was a lack of teacher presence, inadequate teacher feedback and time intervals between student inquiry and teacher response were excessive. These experiences produced feelings of anxiety among online learners.

Conclusion: Students enjoyed their online learning experiences overall. Teacher presence was an important contributing factor that improved student satisfaction. Teachers help create substantial learning experiences for students learning online by stimulating and directing discussions, asking probing questions, clarifying misconceptions, and emphasizing key concepts.

Oral & Poster Abstract from the 2016 International Massage Therapy Research Conference. International Journal of Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork. 2016; 9(2): 9-27.

The Effects of Massage Therapy on Physician Suspected Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder: A Case Study

AWARD TYPE: Past Poster Presenter

Alyssa Hofmann

Background: Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) a term used for a wide array of growth, mental, and physical problems that can occur to a baby if the mother drinks while pregnant.

Symptoms can include smaller physical features and stature, poor coordination, hyperactivity, and difficulty with attention span and communication. There is currently no specific treatment for FASD; however parents may seek medical care from a variety of specialists, medications, behavior and educational therapy, and/or complimentary therapies such as massage.

Objectives: To determine the effects of Swedish massage on the behavior of a two year old boy with physician suspected FASD.
Case Presentation: The patient is a two year old boy small in stature, with abnormal facial features, chronic ear problems, and developmental difficulties who regularly works with hearing and speech specialists. According to the guardian, the child’s mother had admitted to drinking throughout her pregnancy. The child’s physician suspects FASD, but he is currently on a waitlist for additional testing by a specialist.

Methods: The patient was given ten approximately 30minute Swedish massage treatments. Palpation, postural assessment, and muscle testing was conducted by the therapist. Subjective measures of behavior and emotional levels were collected from both the patient and the guardian.
These measures included the FACES Rating Scale and behavioral questions inquiring about interactions with others, distraction during tasks, and toe walking. Assessments were primarily collected before the first treatment, after the fifth treatment, after the last treatment, and one week later.

Results: The therapist noticed a decrease in hypertonicity in the child’s bilateral Tricep Surae group and increased strength in the Tibialis Anterior muscles. Decreased behavioral outcomes included toe walking, throwing of toys, aggressive behavior, getting over emotional, and fidgeting during mealtime. However, taking toys away from others and mimicking bad behavior remained the same. The FACES Rating scale responses were unreliable and only served to help the child reflect and improve communication.

Conclusion: The findings from this case study demonstrate the possibility of massage as a treatment to assist with improving behavior problems in a 2 year old with FASD; however, additional larger scale research with more standardized assessments needs to be conducted.

The Use of Massage to Increase the Performance of a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Athlete by Increasing Range


Alta Schwab
Center for Neurosomatic Studies – Clearwater, Florida


Background: Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is a modern combat martial art that utilizes joint locks to force an
opponent into submission. It is a high intensity combat sport that places unique stresses on the
body leading to atypical injuries and muscular imbalance, a possible predictor of injury. Athletes
with a history of low back pain have significant reductions in hip range of motion, and
maximum hip flexibility is necessary to perform optimally.

Participant: 40-year-old Caucasian male Jiu-Jitsu black belt presenting with restricted range of
motion in the right shoulder and both hips as well as left SI joint and posterior gluteal pain
Diagnosis: Herniated L4-5 disc with no other notable health issues
Purpose: To discover if the utilization of massage can increase the performance of a BJJ athlete
by increasing range of motion and decreasing pain.

Intervention: The practitioner a 25 year old female within 3 months of the end of her third
semester of a three-semester, 18-month program at the Center for Neurosomatic Studies
(CNS). Biweekly targeted, deep-tissue massage treatments were performed for five weeks. The
results were tracked using the Bournemouth MSK scale, PGIC, WOSI, active range of motion
measurements measured with a goniometer, and routine Posturology assessments.

Results: There was significant improvement in range of motion in the shoulder, elbow, and both
hips as well as eliminated SI joint pain and some diminished pain in the posterior gluteal area.
The patient also claimed to have experienced improved performance in BJJ training.
Discussion: The participant was training for a tournament throughout the duration of the study,
thus he was training more than normal (5-6 time weekly); this is likely why there was less
improvement in pain than there was improvement in functionality.

Keywords: Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, range of motion, shoulder, hips, elbow.

Utilizing Chair Massage to Address One Woman’s Health in Rural Ghana West Africa: A Case Report

AWARD TYPE: Past Poster Presenter

Cathy Meryanos, LMT

Background & Objectives: There is limited access to healthcare in rural Ghana and virtually no rehabilitative services available. This situation presents a unique opportunity to utilize chair massage in addressing women’s health in rural Ghana, particularly when it comes to muscle pain and fatigue from heavy labor. The objective of this case report is to determine the results of chair massage as a strategy to reduce neck, shoulder, and back pain, while increase range of motion.

Case Presentation: The patient is a 63-year-old Ghanaian female, who was struck by a public transport van while carrying a 30-50 pound load on her head, 2 years prior to the massage. The accident resulted in a broken right humerus and soft tissue pain. A traditional medicine practitioner set the bone, however there was no post-accident rehabilitation available. At the time of referral, she presented complaints of shoulder, elbow, and wrist pain. In addition, she was unable to raise her right hand to her mouth for food intake.

Results: The results of this case report include an increase in range of motion, as well as, elimination of pain in the right shoulder, elbow, and hand. A visual assessment showed an approximate ROM increase within the range of 45-65 degrees in the right arm and 10 degrees in the 4th and 5th fingers. There was also a decrease in muscle hypertonicity in the thoracic and cervical areas, and a profound increase in quality of life for the patient.
Discussion: This case report illustrates how therapeutic chair massage was utilized to address a common health concern for one woman in rural Ghana. It also demonstrates pre-existing musculoskeletal disorders and pain may be eliminated with massage intervention. Massage therapy may be important to ameliorating certain types of health problems in remote rural villages in low income countries.


Volunteerism of Massage Therapists: A MassageNet Study

AWARD TYPE: Past Poster Presenter

Dana Madigan, DC, MPH; Jerrilyn Cambron, LMT, DC, PhD; Ann Blair Kennedy, LMT, DrPH; Kaley Burns, BS; Jennifer Dexheimer, LMT, BS

Introduction: Volunteerism among physicians, nurses, and other healthcare professionals has been described in the literature. To our knowledge, there is currently no published literature regarding the volunteerism of massage therapists.
Objective: The aim of this study was to describe the volunteerism activities, motivations, and barriers for massage therapists.

Methods: Practicing massage therapists in the United States that were recruited through MassageNet, a practice-based research network, to take a survey containing questions regarding volunteerism. Participants took a survey containing questions regarding professional, volunteerism, and personal characteristics. Specific volunteerism questions addressed if volunteering was massage or non-massage related, motivations, barriers, and their primary role including direct service, administrative/organizational, or fundraising. This was intended to serve as a preliminary assessment using a small sample of therapists and is not representative of the massage therapy profession.

Results: Of the 96 massage therapists that completed the survey, in the past year 27 participated in only massage related volunteering, 12 participated in only non-massage related volunteering, 37 participated in both massage and non-massage related volunteering, and 20 did not volunteer. The most commonly reported motivations for volunteering include the enjoyment of the activity (67.7%), desire to contribute to betterment of society (59.4%), and desire to give back to society (56.3%). The most commonly reported barriers for volunteering include not having enough time (62.5%), organizational restrictions (38.5%), and personal health concerns (20.8%). For those who participated in massage-related volunteering, the most commonly reported settings included social and community service groups (40.6%), hospital, clinic or healthcare organization (37.5%), and health research or education organizations (34.4%). The most common population specified was cancer patients (15.6%). Of the 64 participants who participated in massage related volunteering, the majority engaged primarily in direct service volunteering (46.9%).

Conclusion: The majority of massage therapists surveyed participated in volunteer work during the past year, primarily with social and community groups in a direct service role. Service is important to various sectors of the massage community; therefore recognizing the benefits and barriers to volunteerism for massage therapists may enhance participation and impact the profession positively.

Oral & Poster Abstract from the 2016 International Massage Therapy Research Conference. International Journal of Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork. 2016; 9(2): 9-27.