COLLABORATIVE RESEARCH PROJECTS
with the Human Performance Laboratory at the University of New Brunswick
Since 2001 the Atlantic College of Therapeutic Massage (ACTM) has been involved in several research projects associated with the health and wellness of Massage Therapists. To date, the research literature focusing on the profession of Massage Therapy has centered around the validity of specific techniques or case studies on the efficacy of specific modalities. Unlike many professions, the Massage Therapist uses their body as their work tool and therefore places physical and biomechanical strain on their musculoskeletal system.
The ACTM has teamed up with Dr. Wayne Albert, Associate Professor at the University of New Brunswick. Dr. Albert’s research at the Human Performance Laboratory is focused on musculoskeletal injuries and health and wellness in the workplace. In the past couple of years, students from the ACTM and graduate students under Dr. Albert’s supervision have been teamed up to conduct research projects pertaining to the physical demands associated with the profession of Massage Therapy.
Currently, three research studies have been completed:
- A Biomechanical Assessment of Massage Therapists
Currently In Press with the journal Occupational Ergonomic
- Ergonomic Comparison of Massage Therapy Equipment: Chair vs Table
Currently submitted to the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics
Abstract from the journal article
- Musculoskeltal Injuries Amongst Massage Therapists:
A Cross-Canada Survey
A summary of the results
The Atlantic College of Therapeutic Massage encourages research in all areas of massage therapy by incorporating research projects and case studies within the program. The following ACTM graduates had their papers published in the media.
- Matthias Mann, Lynne McKenzie, and Pierre Wust (ACTM 2005) combined their efforts on their research project which was a nationwide study on the use of latex and vinyl examination gloves with massage oils. This study was published in the Massage Therapy Canada Magazine.
- Eric Mathis' (ACTM 2006) case study on Massage Therapy and Cancer was published in the Massage Therapy Practice Magazine and was awarded "Honorable Mention" in the Massage Therapy Foundation Student Case Report Contest.
- Karen Totton's (ACTM 2006) study on Massage Therapy as an Effective Intervention for Agitation in Elderly with Dementia was published in the Journal of Soft Tissue Manipulation.
- Sarah Welch (ACTM 2008) case study on glove use and HIV massage therapy client was published in Science Direct.
- Sara Davidson (ACTM 2010) study on Myofascial Techniques along the Acupuncture Meridians was awarded an ‘Honorable Mention’ in the Massage Therapy Foundation Student Case Report Contest.
- Study on Massage Therapy and Fibromyalgia
The research team is:
- Dr. Wayne Albert, Professor and Assistant Dean, University of New Brunswick Faculty of Kinesiology
- Dr. Judah Bunin, MSc, ND, Research Coordinator at the Atlantic College of Therapeutic Massage
- Lisa Ivany, RMT, Co-owner and Instructor at the Atlantic College of Therapeutic Massage
Initial results of the study have been analyzed and a poster summarizing the findings has been presented at the 6th annual Canadian Interdisciplinary Network for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (IN-CAM) Research Symposium held November 2010 in Vancouver, and another poster has been accepted for presentation at this year's Canadian Association of Naturopathic Doctors's Convention (Health Fusion) that was held on June 2011 in Calgary.
The Effect of Therapeutic Massage on Muscle Parameters in Fibromyalgia Patients – A Pilot Study.
We tested the hypothesis that therapeutic massage improves muscle blood flow and oxygenation of the trapezius muscle in patients with fibromyalgia (FM). Changes in total muscle hemoglobin as well as the ratio of oxygenated to deoxygenated hemoglobin were measured by near infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) in healthy controls and patients with FM while receiving massage therapy (MT). We also examined the effect of a 6-week MT intervention on the functional hyperemic response of trapezius during a lifting task. MT had little direct effect on NIRS measures of muscle hemoglobin during acute massage. Further, 6 weeks of MT on FM patients did not improve their diminished hyperemic response in trapezius during a lifting task. We found little evidence to support the idea that MT improves muscle blood flow acutely or with long-term therapy in FM patients. Interestingly, FM patients receiving 6-weeks of MT reported reduced pain and improved mobility. Thus, MT may improve FM symptoms primarily through a non-vascular mechanism(s).