A Specific MFR Technique for Treatment of Non-Specific Upper Quadrant Mylagia and Paraesthesia – A Case Study

AWARD TYPE: Past Case Report Contest

Honorable Mention
Sebastien Vachon-Gravel
Atlantic College of Therapeutic Massage
Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada

Objective: Investigate whether a case presenting with non-specific upper quadrant
muscle pain and neurological dysfunction would benefit from an isolated myofascial
release (MFR) technique, entitled herein as direct fascial glide with static unwinding (DFG-
SU), in a multitude of related variables: degree of disability and pain, shoulder girdle
kinematics and pectoralis minor length, unilateral upper-extremity strength, and
neurological functioning.
Methods: The intervention consisted of six treatments over a period of five weeks
with pre- and post-intervention examinations. Pain characteristics and degree of disability
was monitored with the Revised Short-Form McGill Pain Questionnaire (SF-MPQ-2) as
well as the Shoulder Pain and Disability Index (SPADI) and performance of Apley’s
scratch test, respectively. Shoulder girdle kinematics was examined via the combination
of an inclinometer and goniometer. Pectoralis minor length was assessed using a tape
measure against a table and a wall in supine and standing positions, respectively. A handheld
dynamometer allowed for the quantification of grip strength on the affected side.
Finally, tactile sensation and Tinel’s sign was compared using a three-point ranking
system from normal sensation to anaesthesia.
Results: Overall degree of pain, disability, and neurological pain ameliorated after
the intervention, yet no notable change in pectoralis minor length or shoulder girdle
kinematics was noted. Nonetheless, the restricted aspect of Apley’s scratch test and
unilateral grip strength improved by 3.5cm and 2kg, respectively. Finally, tactile
sensation and Tinel’s sign improved from presence of paraesthesia to normal sensation.
Conclusions: The results suggest that the MFR technique described herein
improved overall wellbeing and competence in daily tasks without significantly altering

Effect of Massage Therapy on the Proprioceptive System of an Autistic Child – A Case Study

AWARD TYPE: Past Case Report Contest

Gold Winner
Rachel Benbow
HACC, Central Pennsylvania Community College
Harrisburg, PA

Background: 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
prove the efficacy of massage therapy on proprioceptive dysfunction in children
with ASD, but if proven effective massage therapy could offer a new intervention
for this issue.
Purpose: 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.
Participant: 5 year old female 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.
Improvements in proprioceptive abilities were monitored through pre and postmassage
testing activities that included single foot balancing, jumping rope, backand-
forth ball bouncing, and independent ball dribbling.
Results: 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.
Conclusion: Although positive results were achieved within this case study, more
extensive studies are needed to verify the efficacy of massage therapy on
proprioceptive dysfunction in children with ASD.

Effects of Massage Therapy on Pain Associated with Partial Lumbarization of S1

AWARD TYPE: Past Case Report Contest

Honorable Mention
Briana Covey
Canadian College of Massage and Hydrotherapy
Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada

Introduction: Lumbarization, known as a transitional vertebra or lumbrosacral transitional
vertebra, is a congenital abnormality where the first segment of sacrum is not fused. The purpose
of this study is to explore the effects of massage therapy on the management of chronic low back
pain associated with right sided partial lumbarization of S1, by using General Swedish and non-
Swedish massage techniques.
Methods: The patient was chosen based on her chronic back pain due to her right sided partial
lumbarization of S1. A treatment plan was designed using General Swedish and non-Swedish
technique and performed for ten, one hour treatments. The patient’s progress was monitored
using a visual analogue scale for pain, energy, and quality of sleep, as well as assessment of
range of motion.
Results: Results showed a three point decrease in day-to-day pain of the patient. Improved
quality of sleep by two points and increased energy levels by three points in the morning and one
point in the evening were reported as well.
Conclusion: The outcomes of this study therefore suggests that massage therapy is an effective
treatment for managing chronic low back pain due to right sided partial lumbarization of S1.

Free Massage Therapy for Cancer Patients

AWARD TYPE: Past Community Service Grant Archives

Cancer Family Care
Carol Huber

For 44 years, Cancer Family Care (CFC) has served the Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky community as a non-profit social service agency offering a comprehensive array of programming that provides well-rounded support to children, adults, and families coping with the often devastating and overwhelming impact of cancer-related illness. As part of its Waddell Family Healing Hands Program, CFC offers free oncology massage to cancer patients. With this grant, an estimated 39 cancer patients will receive four free massage therapy sessions. The outcome of the program is to reduce cancer patients’ physical symptoms of  pain, stress, soreness, fatigue, muscle tightness, and spasms. CRC also hopes to enhance cancer patients’ sense of well-being and improve their quality of life.
This grant was sponsored in part by a gift from Biotone.

Impact of Massage Therapy on Well-Being for Parents of Children Recovering From Traumatic Injury

AWARD TYPE: Past Research Grants

Natalie Williams, PhD
University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Lincoln, Nebraska


The purpose of this research project is to examine the effects of massage therapy as an intervention strategy to improve parents’ well-being in the context of child rehabilitation from severe injury/illness. Although the symptomatic benefits of therapeutic massage have been documented, massage represents a novel intervention to promote physical and psychological wellbeing among caregivers of children recovering from severe injury or illness. Participants for this study include parents of 40 children receiving inpatient rehabilitation for severe injury or illness at Alexis Verzal Children’s Rehabilitation Hospital in Lincoln, Nebraska. Following enrollment, participants are randomized to receive either three massage sessions per week for two weeks, or one massage session per week for two weeks. For all participants, regardless of group assignment, study outcomes are assessed pre-intervention (occurring at enrollment, prior to randomization) and post-intervention (occurring two weeks post enrollment). Primary outcomes include self-report measures of psychological functioning (positive and negative mood, anxiety, depression) and perceived stress. For our secondary outcomes, saliva samples are collected to assess the effects of massage on salivary cortisol (to measure stress response) and salivary alpha-amylase (to measure autonomic nervous system activation) reactivity during a verbal stress task. Participants’ sleep is also measured using actigraphy.

Improving the Quality of Life for Children with Cerebral Palsy in Central America

AWARD TYPE: Past Community Service Grant Archives

Liliana Urias
Christian Blind Mission

Established in 1908, CBM is the world’s oldest development organization focused exclusively on the needs and the rights of person with disabilities. CBM’s mission is to improve the quality of life of persons with disabilities and those at risk of disability in the poorest countries of the world. They currently work in 68 low and middle income countries with a network of local partners in those countries. The grant, combined with what individual donors will match will provide essential massage and physical therapy services to 250 children with cerebral palsy. It will provide training and support through parent support groups to parents of these children It will also provide essential new skills in massage and physical therapy techniques as well as supportive supervision to 14 CBR workers who will receive necessary training and supportive supervision. The project has the potential of being the spark to improving massage and physical therapy access to people with cerebral palsy and their families in Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador and Nicaragua.

The Effect of Massage Therapy on Postural Dysfunction Exacerbated by Parkinson’s Disease

AWARD TYPE: Past Case Report Contest

Bronze Winner
Keiko Marumo
MacEwan University
Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

Background: The causes that lead to low back pain (LBP) vary, and include poor
postural alignment, muscle fatigue, and chronic conditions. Deviations from
balanced upright posture can result, leading to hypertonicity in compensatory
muscles. With increased kyphosis and forward head posture, affected tissues
include scapular retractors and anterior cervical muscles. With decreased lumbar
lordosis, affected tissues include lumbar, trunk and hip muscles. Conditions such
as Parkinson’s disease (PD), can exacerbate LBP, since a common sign of it is
postural change.
Objective: To show that massage therapy is effective in reducing LBP by
applying relaxation, myofascial release (MFR), mobilization, and stretching
techniques, and hydrotherapy heat to postural misalignment resulting from PD.
Methods: A 55-year-old male diagnosed with PD in 2012, presented with
shooting LBP in the left lumbar region after lifting a heavy gate. Clinical analysis
suggested muscle strain exacerbated by postural changes related to PD. The
treatment aim was to decrease LBP in the affected muscles. The treatment plan
involved 50-minute sessions of massage, once a week, for five weeks. Techniques
included hydrotherapy heat application, relaxation techniques, MFR techniques,
passive stretches, and passive mobilizations. The treatment was provided by a
second year massage therapy student.
Results: The patient reported an overall decrease in pain intensity, by rating pain
descriptors. The patient also reported a general decrease in disability caused by

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

AWARD TYPE: Past Case Report Contest
AWARD TYPE: Practitioner

Gold Award Winner 
Cathy Meryanos
Conway, South Carolina

Thank you to Massage Warehouse for for their generous gift to our gold case report winner!

Background and Objectives: There is limited access to healthcare in rural Ghana and virtually no rehabilitative services available. This case study presents a unique opportunity to utilize chair massage in addressing women’s health in rural Africa, particularly when it comes to muscle pain and fatigue from heavy labor. The objective of this study is to determine the results of chair massage as a strategy to reduce neck, shoulder, and back pain and 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. The accident resulted in a broken right humerus and soft tissue pain. A traditional medicine practitioner set the bone. 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 study include an increase in range of motion, as well as diminished pain in the right shoulder, elbow, and hand. 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 study illustrates how therapeutic chair massage was utilized to address a common health concern for one woman in rural Africa. It also demonstrates pre-exiting myoskeletal issues 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.