Evidence-Based Practice For Massage Therapists: Part 2

Research Literacy for Massage Therapists

Evidence-Based Practice For Massage Therapists: Part 2

Massage therapists are learning to adapt to the ever-changing landscape of pain management, but the future's looking bright. A number of practice guidelines now recommends the use of massage therapy as part of a multi-modal approach for chronic pain.

Part of being a recognized treatment option for a chronic pain means the profession is moving into new formal settings. As part of this shift, it is important that therapists learn to think critically and evaluate research.

In an effort to bridge the gap between research and clinical practice, I have compiled a two part post (part 1 is here) listing a number of resources setting groundwork for evidence-based practice.


Review of Part 1 & Introduction to Part 2

Part one covered how massage therapists can establish and utilize a personal learning network. Readers were introduced to the CAARP method of evaluating information.

Then readers were introduced to The Hierarchy of Evidence, a pyramid that provides an overview of various types of scientific research.

In this post we introduce various research journals and databases, tips for accessing free research articles, and how to get involved in research.


Exploring Research Databases

With the ‘CAARP’ method in mind, if you would like to read articles on a broad range of topics, you can use a research database.

The CAARP Method of Evaluating Information

PubMed is the largest medical database, and has many functions that will help you narrow down your search.

Here is a List of Research Journals for Massage Therapists, as well as common PubMed searches for massage therapists.

One limitation with PubMed is that, some of these article are behind a paywall which may limit access to the entire article. You will still be able to read the abstract, this will give a brief summary of the key points of the article.


Accessing Open Access Resources

If you are looking for full text articles you are in luck. In recent years there has been a growth in open access publishing in a number of disciplines. As part of this initiative, I have complied a list of 10 Open Access Research Articles for Massage Therapists.

Additionally There are a number of scientific journals that publish open access research.
• BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders
• BMJ Open Sport & Exercise Medicine
• Canadian Journal of Pain
• Chiropractic & Manual Therapies
• International Journal of Massage & Bodywork 
• PAIN Reports 


Getting Involved With Research

Many of the methods used in manual therapy have simply not been studied in large scale research programs, this is because clinical trials are expensive. The fact that there is little to no research is not always evidence that a method is useless, only that no research has yet been carried out to show its value.

One step massage therapists can take to move the profession forward is by using case reports to document what they do on a daily basis in the treatment room. This article provides links and resources to Help Massage Therapists Publish Their Own Case Report.


More To Explore

Baskwill, A.J., Dore, K. (2016). Exploring the awareness of research among registered massage therapists in Ontario. J Complement Integr Med. 
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26641975 

Kennedy, A.B., Munk, N. (2017). Experienced Practitioners' Beliefs Utilized to Create a Successful Massage Therapist Conceptual Model: a Qualitative Investigation. Int J Ther Massage Bodywork.
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28690704 

Patelarou, A.E., Kyriakoulis, K.G., ... Patelarou, E. (2017). Approaches to teach evidence-based practice among health professionals: an overview of the existing evidence. Adv Med Educ Pract. 
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28740443