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War vets among beneficiaries of new massage therapy funding grants

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.

January 6, 2015  By Massage Therapy Canada staff

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
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
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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