Massage Therapy Canada

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Industry success rests on research

Research and scientific studies make up an important part of any health-care discipline.

January 2, 2014  By Mari-Len De

Research and scientific studies make up an important part of any health-care discipline.

For massage therapy, research outcomes form the foundation for evidence-based treatment approaches and support the goal of bringing massage therapy into the health-care fold. The American Massage Therapy Association, for example, during the observance of National Massage Therapy Week in October, cited several research findings when attributing the associated benefits of massage therapy to mental health, particularly in alleviating symptoms of stress, anxiety and depression.

The announcement of a partnership between British Columbia and Saskatchewan to establish a new national research foundation dedicated to massage therapy is a welcome development, and one I am certain many practitioners and industry stakeholders look forward to.

There is currently no designated national agency solely dedicated to the promotion of research in the massage therapy profession and practice – albeit some organizations do provide some great resources and support for massage therapy-related studies. The Canadian Interdisciplinary Network for Complementary and Alternative Medicine Research (In-Cam) is a good example. In-Cam offers funding and resources to promote massage therapy research through its Massage Therapy Research Fund. However, massage therapy is only one aspect of its more comprehensive mandate that includes other facets of complementary and alternative medicine. The Canadian massage therapy industry has also relied on Evanston, Ill.-based Massage Therapy Foundation for relevant literature on massage therapy.


The efforts of the Massage Therapists’ Association of British Columbia (MTABC) and the Massage Therapist Association of Saskatchewan (MTAS) in taking the lead on this long-awaited massage therapy research foundation in Canada are commendable. However, this initiative does not and should not rest with just these two provincial associations.

A national undertaking like this needs the support and participation of the entire massage therapy profession across Canada – and I understand this is the intent of the proponents. Although this is being initiated by B.C. and Saskatchewan, the ultimate goal is to make this a truly national endeavour by involving all stakeholders across all provinces. Reasonable efforts must be made to reach out to other provincial associations, and vice-versa, to ensure the intent of a truly national foundation is realized. Only through collaboration can a national endeavour such as this have a good chance at success.

There are already some great works being done in the area of massage therapy research across Canada. The expertise and the resources are there. Establishing a national research foundation will further galvanize these efforts and provide a centralized resource for the profession.

If all goes as planned we could see this new research foundation established by 2014 – at least, that is what proponents are hoping for.

These are exciting times for the industry and I am looking forward to seeing what the new year will bring to the massage therapy profession.

I hope 2013 has been great to you and I wish all of you a prosperous 2014!

Mari-Len De Guzman

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