Education Sessions Description

Don’t miss this opportunity to hear leading researchers and colleagues discuss the role massage therapy plays in an integrated approach to care.

Keynote Session

Hear from Peter Murray, PhD, Program Director of the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health a component of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) as he discusses the NCCIH research priorities and how they relate to the massage therapy community.  Among his efforts, Dr. Murray supports the cross-NIH project, Helping to End Addiction Long-term – or HEAL – Initiative, overseeing studies aimed at developing non-opioid interventions to treat pain, and the NIH-DoD-VA Pain Management Collaboratory whose goal is to conduct large-scale pragmatic clinical research in military and veteran health care organizations focusing on non-pharmacological approaches to pain management and other related conditions.  In this inspiring opening to the 2022 IMTRC program, hear more about NCCIH’s work related to integrative approaches to pain management and the role of massage therapy in that conversation.

Opening Panel: The Massage Therapy Foundation Research Agenda

The Massage Therapy Foundation’s updated research agenda is designed to help grow the massage therapy knowledge base and increase support for the application of quality research for the profession. Find out how the integrative health and massage community have been called upon to help move this research agenda forward. Learn about the important goals of the agenda and how new research presented at IMTRC will support it.

Hear from:


  • Doug Nelson, President of BodyWork Associates, a massage therapy clinic in Champaign, IL and leader of the teaching institute, NMT MidWest, Inc


  • Ann Blair Kennedy, LMT, BCTMB, DrPH, licensed massage therapist in clinical practice prior to pursuing her Doctor of Public Health degree in Health Promotion, Education, and Behavior from the University of South Carolina
  • Robin B. Anderson, MEd, LMT, BCTMB, CEAS, a board certified massage therapist and current President of the Massage Therapy Foundation
  • Niki Munk, PhD, LMT, licensed massage therapist and Associate Professor of Health Sciences in Indiana University’s School of Health and Human Sciences

Massage Therapy as an Integrative Approach to Managing Chronic Pain

Explore new research on the efficacy of multidisciplinary, nonpharmacological, integrative approaches to managing chronic pain. Find out how integrative therapies including massage therapy can improve health-related quality of life, reduce opioid medication use, and help promote sleep in people living with chronic pain and PTSD.

Hear from:

  • Irina Todorov, MD, Cleveland Clinic: Living Well with Chronic Pain: Integrative Pain Management via Shared Medical Appointments
  • Leisa Bellmore, MSc, The Pain Management Clinic of the Stollery Children’s Hospital and the University of Alberta: Effectiveness of Hand Self-Shiatsu to Promote Sleep in Young People with Chronic Pain: A Case Series Design
  • Jolie Haun, PhD, EdS, LMT, James A. Haley Veterans Hospital: PTSD and Chronic Pain in the Veteran Population

Hospital-Based Massage Therapy: Improving the Quality of Life for Patients

In this session, examine how massage therapy can help with quality of life challenges for hospitalized patients affected by chronic and serious illness, including improving the inpatient environment and relieving stress. Discover how massage reduced anxiety levels and increased satisfaction in pre-operative surgical patients.

Hear from:

  • Hunter Groninger, MD, MedStar Washington Hospital Center: I Didn’t Know Massages Could Do That: A Qualitative Analysis of the Perception of Hospitalized Patients Receiving Massage Therapy From Specially Trained Massage Therapists
  • Jennifer L. Hauschulz, BCTMB, Mayo Clinic: Benefits of Hand Massage on Anxiety in Preoperative Outpatient: A Quasi-Experimental Study With Pre- and Post-Tests

Get Involved: Massage Therapy Foundation and You

Are you interested in becoming more involved with the Massage Therapy Foundation, but don’t know how?  Hear from the Massage Therapy Foundation on a variety of current projects and ways massage therapists can get more involved in the profession’s Foundation. Explore examples of recently-funded research including a project that studies massage therapy work through the lens of ergonomics. Hear about IJTMB, the quarterly, peer‐reviewed scientific journal for the massage therapy profession, available free of subscription fees and contributing author charges. And, learn about new efforts to create and grow massage-specific Practice-Based Research Networks (PBRNs) to expand the body of scientific evidence supporting the profession.

Massage Therapy for Breast Cancer Patients

Research continues to show that massage therapy can be an important part of an integrative approach to care for cancer patients. Learn how oncology massage helped reduce clinically significant pain in breast cancer patients and stress in breast cancer patients undergoing reconstructive surgery.

Hear from:

  • Danielle Gentile, PhD, Levine Cancer Institute: Pain Improvement After Healing Touch and Massage in Breast Cancer: An Observational Retrospective Study
  • Brent Bauer, MD, Mayo Clinic: Massage Compared with Massage Plus Acupuncture for Breast Cancer Patients Undergoing Reconstructive Surgery

The Latest Science on Muscles and Massage

Massage therapy has long been known to reduce soreness and tension in muscles, but can it be used in patients who can’t undergo traditional rehabilitation? In this session, examine the latest research on massage therapy as an effective method for decreasing muscle atrophy and helping people recover from muscle disuse. In addition, explore evidence on how massage therapy can prevent fibrosis in muscles.

Hear from:

  • Esther Dupont-Versteegden, PhD, from University of Kentucky: Massage as an Intervention for Muscle Atrophy
  • Geoffrey Bove, DC, PhD, Bove Consulting: Massage Therapy for Preventing Fibrosis: Three Lines of Evidence

Massage Therapy for Veterans

The Veterans Health Administration (VA) has been at the forefront of providing Complementary and Integrative Health (CIH) approaches for pain management for years. Explore the results of a National Organizational Survey on CIH implementation for veterans to better understand the scope of massage’s ability to impact the veteran population. This session will explore how massage therapy can make a difference including the latest research on massage therapy for veterans with chronic neck pain.

Hear from:

  • Alison M. Whitehead, MPH, RYT, PMP, Integrative Health Coordinating Center (IHCC) VHA Office of Patient Centered Care & Cultural Transformation, USVA: Complementary and Integrative Health Approaches Offered in the Veterans Health Administration: Results of a National Organizational Survey
  • Matthew J. Bair, MD, Indiana University School of Medicine: Trial Outcomes for Massage: Caregiver-Assisted vs. Therapist-Treated (TOMCATT)

Closing Panel: Involving Massage Therapists in Massage Therapy Research

Make the leap from being a massage research enthusiast to a massage researcher! Hear from leading researchers on the importance of massage therapists participating directly in research studies. Explore how registering in the Practice Based Research Network (PBRN) can lead to opportunities for massage therapists that will expand the research base and help advance the profession. Find out how you can get signed up and begin participating in studies.