Massage Perceptions and Experiences for Individuals with Amputations

Posted:Friday, August 19, 2016

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.