Setting The Groundwork for Evidence-Based Massage: 10 Influential Researchers

massage therapy research

Setting The Groundwork for Evidence-Based Massage: 10 Influential Researchers

Evidence-based practice is a process intended to optimize decision-making by emphasizing the use of evidence from well designed research. This includes the use of logical reasoning and the gathering of ideas and knowledge from many overlapping disciplines.

This is a list of ten influential researchers that will help to set the groundwork for an evidence-based approach.

ONE - Amanda Baskwill

Amanda Baskwill is The Associate Dean of Allied Health at Humber College in Toronto Ontario. She is also Registered Massage Therapist/Researcher who brings a lot to the table in promoting the massage therapy profession. 

Notable Works

Baskwill, A. (2015). A guiding framework to understand relationships within the profession of massage therapy. J Bodyw Mov Ther.

Baskwill, A. (2017). A Case for Mixed Methods Research in Massage Therapy. IJTMB.

Baskwill, A. (2018). Developing Capability: Transforming Massage Therapy Education through Inquiry-based Learning. IJTMB.

TWO - Thomas Best

Thomas Best is a researcher at Ohio State University who has put out some quality research on mechanotherapy as it relates to massage therapy. To learn more about his work I recommend listening to his talk: Massage Therapies - From Lab Bench Top to the Patient

Notable Works

Best, T.M., Gharaibeh, B., Huard, J. (2013). Stem cells, angiogenesis and muscle healing: a potential role in massage therapies? Br J Sports Med.

Schroeder, A. N., & Best, T. M. (2015). Is Self Myofascial Release an Effective Pre-exercise and Recovery Strategy? A Literature Review. Current Sports Medicine Reports.

Best, T. M., & Crawford, S. K. (2017). Massage and postexercise recovery: The science is emerging. Br J Sports Med.

THREE - Geoffrey Bove

Nervi nervorum, fibrosis and triggerpoints, Geoffrey Bove has contributed a lot of scientific research to the world of manual therapy. I have been following his work closely, I can't wait to see what works he comes out with in the future.

Notable Works

Quintner, J.L., Bove, G.M., and Cohen, M.L. (2015) A critical evaluation of the trigger point phenomenon. Rheumatology.

Bove, G., Harris, M., Zhao, H., & Barbe, M. (2016). Manual therapy as an effective treatment for fibrosis in a rat model of upper extremity overuse injury. J Neurol Sci.

Bove, G.M., Delany, S.P., Hobson, L., Cruz, G.E., Harris, M.Y., Amin, M., Chapelle, S.L., Barbe, M.F. (inpress). Manual therapy prevents onset of nociceptor activity, sensorimotor dysfunction, and neural fibrosis induced by a volitional repetitive task. Pain.

FOUR - Richard Deyo

Richard Deyo is a Professor in the Department of Family Medicine at Oregon Health and Science University. He has contributed to a number of articles looking at using massage therapy in the management of low back & neck pain.

Notable Work

Cherkin, D.C., Sherman, K.J., … Deyo, R.A. (2011). A comparison of the effects of 2 types of massage and usual care on chronic low back pain: a randomized, controlled trial. Ann Intern Med.

Sherman, K.J., Cook, A.J., … Deyo, R.A., Cherkin, D.C. (2014). Five-week outcomes from a dosing trial of therapeutic massage for chronic neck pain. Ann Fam Med.

Chou, R., Deyo, R., Friedly, J., … Brodt, E.D. (2017). Nonpharmacologic Therapies for Low Back Pain: A Systematic Review for an American College of Physicians Clinical Practice Guideline. Ann Intern Med.

FIVE - Tiffany Field

Tiffany Field is a well known researcher in the field of massage therapy. She is the founder of The Touch Research Institute, a research lab at the University of Miami.

Notable Work

Diego, M.A., Field, T. (2009). Moderate pressure massage elicits a parasympathetic nervous system response. Int J Neurosci.

Field, T., Diego, M., ... Hernandez, A. (2012). Yoga and massage therapy reduce prenatal depression and prematurity. J Bodyw Mov Ther. 

Field, T. (2016). Massage therapy research review. Complement Ther Clin Pract. 

SIX - Ann Blair Kennedy

Ann Blair Kennedy is currently the editor for The International Journal of Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork. She is a researcher and Assistant Professor University of South Carolina School of Medicine. Ann has written on a wide variety of subjects that will help the profession grow and explore emerging opportunities.

Notable Works

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.

Kennedy, A.B., Patil, N., Trilk, J.L. (2018). 'Recover quicker, train harder, and increase flexibility': massage therapy for elite paracyclists, a mixed-methods study. BMJ Open Sport Exerc Med.

Kennedy, A.B., Cambron, J.A., ... Saunders, R.P. (2018). Advancing health promotion through massage therapy practice: A cross-sectional survey study. Prev Med Rep.

SEVEN - Francis McGlone

Francis McGlone is the head of the Somatosensory & Affective Neuroscience Group at Liverpool JM University. His primary area of research is in C-tactile afferents – a group of nerves hypothesised to code for the pleasure of touch. 

Notable Works

McGlone, F., Wessberg, J., Olausson, H. (2014). Discriminative and affective touch: sensing and feeling. Neuron.

Lloyd, D.M., McGlone, F.P., Yosipovitch, G. (2015). Somatosensory pleasure circuit: from skin to brain and back. Exp Dermatol.

Cascio, C.J., Moore, D., McGlone, F. (2018). Social touch and human development. Dev Cogn Neurosci. 

EIGHT - Lorimer Moseley

Lorimer Moseley is a powerhouse in the world of pain science, his work with David Butler is having a major influence on the direction of the profession. The hardest part was deciding which three articles to feature on this list.

Notable Works

Wallwork, S., Bellan, V., Catley, M., & Moseley, G. (2016). Neural representations and the cortical body matrix: Implications for sports medicine and future directions. Br J Sports Med.

Moseley, G.L., Baranoff, J., Rio, E., ... Hainline, B. (2018). Nonpharmacological Management of Persistent Pain in Elite Athletes: Rationale and Recommendations. Clin J Sport Med.

Moseley, G.L. (2018). Whole of community pain education for back pain. Why does first-line care get almost no attention and what exactly are we waiting for? Br J Sports Med.

NINE - Mark Rapaport

Mark Rapaport is a medical doctor, he is the Chairman of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Emory University School of Medicine. His research has looked into the effect of massage for generalized anxiety disorder and cancer-related fatigue.

Notable Works

Rapaport, M.H., Schettler, P., ... Kinkead, B. (2016). Acute Swedish Massage Monotherapy Successfully Remediates Symptoms of Generalized Anxiety Disorder: A Proof-of-Concept, Randomized Controlled Study. J Clin Psychiatry.

Kinkead, B., Schettler, P.J., ... Rapaport, M.H. (2018) Massage therapy decreases cancer-related fatigue: Results from a randomized early phase trial. Cancer.

Larson, E.R., Kinkead, B., ... Rapaport, M.H. (2018). Model structure for protocol adherence utilizing a manualized therapeutic massage intervention. J Complement Integr Med.

TEN - Robert Schleip

Robert Schleip released groundbreaking fascial research in 2003 and he has continued to put out quality content. I had a hard time narrowing down his list to only three papers.

Notable Work

Klingler, W., Velders, M., Hoppe, K., Pedro, M., & Schleip, R. (2014). Clinical Relevance of Fascial Tissue and Dysfunctions. Curr Pain Headache Rep.

Wilke, J., Schleip, R., Yucesoy, C.A., Banzer, W. (2018). Not merely a protective packing organ? A review of fascia and its force transmission capacity. J Appl Physiol (1985).

Zügel, M., Maganaris, C.N., ... Schleip, R., Hodges, P.W. (2018). Fascial tissue research in sports medicine: from molecules to tissue adaptation, injury and diagnostics. Br J Sports Med.