The need for massage therapists to be research literate cannot be over-stated. Recent articles in the LA Times and the New York Times emphasize the fact that the public is increasingly aware of —and interested in—what massage can do for them. Recently I saw a friend’s post on Facebook: “Today I had a first-time client. When I asked him what he wanted to accomplish with his massage, he said, ‘Oxytocin release.’” Fortunately this was a practitioner who stays on top of current information about massage—can you imagine how it would reflect on our profession if the therapist’s answer had been a slack-jawed, “Huh?”
The Massage Therapy Foundation has developed the Teaching Research Literacy program to work with massage school faculty, many of whom feel they have neither the time, nor the expertise to build research literacy competencies into their curricula. We send a presenter to a host school, which pays a nominal fee for the event. Other expenses are covered by corporate partners who are eager to help with this important work. Our presenters work with the host school’s faculty, and we strongly encourage that host to invite faculty from nearby schools to attend this 8-hour in-service as well. In its very best form, this class is a time for educators to build skills together, and to engage in the active exchange of ideas for how they can take very basic research literacy concepts into virtually every massage class. With some help to overcome the “language barrier” that seems to separate researchers from clinicians, and some basic skills for searching out and critically evaluating available studies, teachers find they can easily find ways to bring these skills into their already-existing programs. Science classes can use new data on fascial function or massage applied in the context of a wide range of pathologies; technique classes can find studies that support or challenge the efficacy of the modalities they teach; business teachers can take advantage of a wide range of data about consumer use of massage and other CAM therapies.
The long-range goal for the Teaching Research Literacy program is that new massage therapists will enter the field with some of these skills in place. We would love to see more schools develop research-specific content as part of core curriculum. And ultimately, the clients who receive massage from these practitioners will be the beneficiaries of the best possible information, which will allow them to achieve the best possible results. This is the heart of evidence-informed practice, and the Massage Therapy Foundation is proud to be a standard bearer for that goal for our profession.
If you are a school interested in hosting a Teaching Research Literacy workshop for your faculty, or an organization wishing to sponsor a workshop, please visit our website for more information.
I find that asking people for money is neither fun to do nor entertaining to watch. During NPR’s fund drive weeks I usually find another radio station to listen to, and I somehow find other things to watch on tv while PBS is raising money. I make my donations, but then I tune out until it’s all over.
Now that I am the president of an organization that relies on funding from our stakeholders, I have developed much more appreciation for those making a case for why listeners and watchers should voluntarily hand over their hard-earned moolah for the sake of the station. I was recruited for this position because I have a skill set that was needed at the time—but those needs have shifted toward development (which is a non-profit word for fundraising). Frankly, I didn’t sign up for this—but I am so dedicated to the Foundation and committed to its importance that I am pitching in with all I’ve got to make it work.
No one is required to support the Massage Therapy Foundation. AMTA members do it, partly through their National dues, some of which goes toward Foundation support, and possibly through state dues, as many State Chapters are Foundation donors as well. But three qualifiers affect this:
- AMTA members represent a relatively small percentage of all licensed massage therapists in this country;
- AMTA financial support of the Foundation is, by necessity of the economic climate and priorities, becoming more limited;
- Chapter donations, while generous and meaningful, aren’t the same as individual gifts which show that people are engaged and involved.
We’re coming right up on the end of 2010, and if you’re like me, you’re being solicited by several organizations for an end-of-year gift. I’ll add my voice to that clamor: the work of the Massage Therapy Foundation serves every massage therapist in this country and beyond. If you value having your profession taken seriously, if you appreciate being able to point to evidence for the safety and efficacy of massage, if it makes you glad to know that massage therapists are finding ways to reach out to underserved populations, then the Massage Therapy Foundation serves you too.
Estimates put the number of licensed massage therapists in this country at between 250,000 and 300,000. Fewer than 600 of those were individual donors in 2010. I hope you’ll join this elite group, and help us shape the future. Please consider a gift of $20 (or more!) to celebrate our 20th Anniversary this year, on your own behalf or in the name of someone you’d like to honor. Click here to donate now.
With many thanks, and all best wishes for a fulfilling and prosperous 2011,
Ruth Werner, President
Massage Therapy Foundation
… is to advance the knowledge and practice of massage by supporting scientific research, education and community service.
The Christmas when I was 4 years old I got a dollhouse made by my grandparents and the Barbie mobile home. It was a big year. I remember being so excited that I couldn’t decide which to play with first and I cried.
As an adult, I’ve gotten fancy lotions (don’t use ‘em), fruitcake (yuck), and candles (me and fire shouldn’t mix, according to my acupuncturist). I even got a tube of self-tanner one year. Really, from a boyfriend’s mother. (She didn’t like me very much, apparently because I was so pale?) While I always appreciate the sentiment, such gifts usually end up in a donation basket and are quickly forgotten.
So what’s a client/friend/relation of mine to do? People who know me realize their gift-giving attempts are futile. I have everything I need and most of what I want. (Scratch that, I have everything I want since I picked up a perfect gray cashmere sweater on clearance last week.)
(Me in 1980. Pretty sure I used the sketchpad for writing. Go figure.)
I’m asking for this: Please donate to the Massage Therapy Foundation. For me, there is no greater gift you can give than to support the research, education and community service opportunities for massage therapists.Give me job security, give me proof that my touch relieves pain or helps children with autism relax. Give me the funds to spend time at an elementary after-school program teaching kids how to relax and regroup, creating the next generation of educated massage consumers.
Remember that feeling you have when you leave a massage? Make a donation on behalf of your favorite massage therapist, encourage your clients to do the same, and help more people feel that way for many years to come.
Debra Curties, a former trustee and volunteer for the Massage Therapy Foundation, recently wrote a nice article about the Massage Therapy Foundation for the Sutherland-Chan School Alumni newsletter. Debra is the Executive Director of Sutherland-Chan School, which is located in Toronto, Ontario. This article is a great introduction to the Massage Therapy Foundation, and pitches a strong case for support. Read “Thinking About the Massage Therapy Foundation” below.
Thinking About the Massage Therapy Foundation
by Debra Curties
Most Canadian massage therapists have not given much consideration to supporting the Massage Therapy Foundation, but perhaps that should change. The Foundation has a solid twenty year history of providing funding to researchers and community service projects that serve our profession in important ways. Although it is based in the United States, which may give the impression that it is unrelated to us, the Massage Therapy Foundation actually has strong Canadian ties – Grace Chan was its inaugural president, and Canadians have served on its Board of Trustees and on various committees quite consistently over the organization’s lifespan.
Given bedrock support from the American Massage Therapy Association, which funds its office, the Massage Therapy Foundation is quite stable. Despite still being a relatively modest granting foundation, it can consistently commit to using no more than 20% of fundraised monies for operational purposes. The remainder goes toward the Foundation’s three areas of focus: funding research, assisting community outreach services, and supporting research literacy education and dissemination of information about massage-relevant research.
Research is expensive, and our profession does not yet have funders who can underwrite the six-figure costs of major projects, but the Foundation has the capacity to allocate up to $30,000 for pilot project grants, a respectable amount that means the researcher can expend less time trawling for bits and pieces of grant money. Grant applications are reviewed by a process that is blinded as to identity and location of the researcher, so any applicant from outside the U.S. is as likely to receive approval as an American applicant, based on the merits of the proposed study. Since 1993 five Canadian studies have received funding, the most recent being Marja Verhoef’s at the University of Calgary in 2008. In total, the Foundation has awarded more than $650,000 to massage therapy related research projects.
Since its inception, the Foundation has also maintained a truly commendable commitment to the community service aspect of our profession, funding as many as 10 grantees in some years, at up to $5,000 per project, to help local practitioners bring massage therapy to populations of people who could not ordinarily access its benefits. As with their research funding, these community service grants are allocated based on the quality of the project without country of origin consideration – grants have been awarded in various parts of the globe.
The Foundation has also established several important new educational mandates. Its open access on-line publication, the International Journal of Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork, is into its third year. They have held two conferences, most recently the highly successful Highlighting Massage Therapy in CIM Research that took place in Seattle this past May, and have sponsorship relationships to many others, including the much respected Fascia Research Congresses. In 2009, the Education Committee launched a new project, Teaching Research Literacy, in which they send presenters on request to massage therapy schools to help faculty learn to incorporate research literacy principles into their curricula.
Another of the Foundation’s educational undertakings has drawn considerable interest from Canadians. In 2005, the Foundation started up a Student Case Report Contest, followed by a practitioner contest in 2007. Each year these two competitions produce first, second and third prize winners, who receive cash awards and publication opportunities for their case reports. The first prize recipients also receive stipends to attend and present their research at that year’s AMTA National Convention. These contests have attracted numerous Canadian participants, with considerable success, especially in the student competition. This contest has had at least one Canadian in the top three most years – in 2010, second place was awarded to Melissa Pierson of Foothills College (Calgary) and third place went to Sara Davidson from Atlantic College (Fredericton).
All of these Foundation programs and activities are well documented on their website www.massagetherapyfoundation.org and queries will also be cheerfully answered by Foundation staff members when directed to 1.847.869.5019 or email@example.com.
Donations to the Massage Therapy Foundation from Canadians are made as easy as possible. Contributions can be sent in Canadian dollars and their receipts are accepted by Revenue Canada for charitable deductions. To date, donations from Canadians consistently total less than $5,000 per year, or less than 3% of fundraised monies. It is time to take a closer look at this quality organization.
*Article reprinted with permission.
As many of us are already aware, the Massage Therapy Foundation is a significant influence in moving the massage profession forward. The mission of the MTF is centered around creating a broader level of awareness and a deeper level of understanding of massage through research, education, and community service. The work done by the MTF helps create and environment of respect and opportunity for massage therapists. At the same time, the community service arm of the MTF can literally change lives.
It takes money to accomplish all of this. The Massage Therapy Foundation is supported by an amazing network of generous donors who believe in this work. This network includes thousands of individuals who are massage therapists or supporters of massage.
The RISE campaign is focused on these individuals. The MTF RISE campaign is designed to encourage 20,000 supporters of massage to donate $20. If this level of participation is achieved, that would mean $400,000 in funding. Imagine what that could do for the profession and for those touched by projects funded by the MTF.
As part of this undertaking, we are leveraging online tools to communicate this message to as many people as possible. We will be posting blogs here on a regular basis. We will be messaging through Twitter, Facebook, andLinkedIn. We will be utilizing email, the web, and mobile applications. All of this technology has made it possible foryou to help us reach this goal.
All you have to do is this:
- Donate $20 (or more) to the MTF
- Share one of these blog entries with your network via email, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or whatever is comfortable for you
That’s it! If you are willing to take 5 minutes to support the amazing work done by the Massage Therapy Foundation, you can make a huge difference. By clicking one button, you can reach hundreds, even thousands of people in the blink of an eye.
Your efforts are part of the ripple effect that can result in unprecedented levels of support for the MTF. Let’s see how many people we can reach together. RISE to the occasion and do your part today to support the massage profession.