War vets among beneficiaries of new massage therapy funding grants

Massage Therapy Canada staff
January 06, 2015
By Massage Therapy Canada staff
The U.S. Massage Therapy Foundation (MTF) has announced the funding of four community service grants and one research grant for the 2014 granting cycle, helping pursue initiatives geared toward providing assistance to war veterans, survivors of trauma and people with disabilities, among other things.
Community service grants
Veterans Helping Veterans Now (VHVNow) in Longmont, Colo., will be completing a project titled, “Lend a Hand, Therapeutic Innovations for Veterans.”

VHVNow works to build healthier lives for veterans and their families while increasing community awareness of veterans’ challenges and needs. The program, led by Kathy Brewer, will provide quarterly training workshops for the 2014-15 grant year for participating massage therapists. Workshops will provide support and specialized education on how to work with people who have experienced trauma. This grant was sponsored in part by a gift from Biotone
Advocates for Survivors of Torture and Trauma (ASTT) in Baltimore, provides specialized case management and psychological counseling services for survivors of torture. The project, “Massage Therapy for Survivors of Torture and Trauma,” led by project leader Karen Hanscom, will use hands-on healing as a weekly complement to talk therapy. Massage therapy volunteers will be trained to give ASTT clients four treatments, and their psychological symptoms will be measured at the first and fourth sessions. The grant was also sponsored in part by a gift from Biotone.
Pushing Boundaries in Redmond, Wash., developed a project titled, “Incorporating Massage into Paralysis Rehabilitation.” Pushing Boundaries aims to provide intensive exercise therapy that strengthens and supports people living with paralysis, to maximize health and improve quality of life. The grant will be used to integrate massage therapy into the existing program of exercise therapy, both as a direct service to clients and as a pilot study for effectiveness. Staff will focus on wheelchair users with shoulder/arm impairment, and massages will be received in 60-minute sessions. The project will be led by Christopher Kagen.
New Orleans Community Outreach in New Orleans is a non-profit organization that provides access to programs and services offered by the New Orleans Healing Center to the underserved in the community. “Massage for Survivors of Human Trafficking” began with Andrew Holbein as the lead and has now been taken over by Willie Martin. Massage therapists have been meeting regularly with the survivors to provide massage while discussing a variety of techniques for relaxation.

Research grant
The Massage Therapy Foundation awarded a research grant to Deborah Backus, PT, PhD, in Atlanta, for her study, “Impact of Massage Therapy on Spasticity in People with Multiple Sclerosis.” The purpose of this pilot study is to assess the effectiveness of massage therapy for decreasing fatigue, pain and spasticity in people with multiple sclerosis, to improve their health perception and quality of life. Participants will receive a standardized routine of massage therapy by a licensed massage therapist one time a week for six weeks. Measures of fatigue (primary outcome measure), and pain, spasticity and quality of life (secondary outcome measures) will be collected before and immediately after the completion of the six-week intervention phase.

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