NUHS has a strong culture of supporting research by its faculty,
graduate students, and students in its massage therapy program. The
field of massage welcomes new research and case studies that track
the benefits and applications of massage for various health
One massage student, Lauren Camer, did research at NUHS that
culminated in a poster that she presented at a national conference
after she graduated. She presented her poster at the 2013 American
Massage Therapy Association National Convention in Fort Worth,
Texas in September. Her topic was "Massage Therapy for Balance and
Proprioceptive Deficits in a Juvenile: A Case Report."
Lauren Cramer presents her research at the AMTA National
The poster was based on the case of a boy with balance problems
who received ten 30-minute manual massage therapy treatments over
the course of five weeks. The therapist performed balance
assessments on the boy before, during and after the massage therapy
sessions. Lauren's case study on the boy showed that massage
provided a positive and lasting impact.
While working on her research project, Lauren appreciated
mentorship from her clinical supervisor, Dr. Patricia Coe,
as well as her co-author, NUHS clinical research coordinator, Jen
"They were always available to answer questions, and helped me
with the preliminary work I needed to do to get my research
proposal approved by the university," says Lauren.
Now that she has graduated from NUHS, Lauren Camer is currently
a licensed massage therapist in Illinois. She has a mobile massage
service in addition to providing corporate chair massages and
working in a chiropractic physician's office part-time.
Recent findings from the Touch Research Institutes of the
University of Miami School of Medicine show marked improvement in
those suffering from rheumatoid arthritis after massage
Specifically, after moderate pressure massage therapy, those
with rheumatoid arthritis had less pain, greater grip strength and
improved range of motion in their upper limbs. (Read a summary of this latest research.)
In fact, the Arthritis Foundation has great things to say about
massage therapy as a pain relief option for those living with
arthritis. Research has shown that massage can lower the body's
production of the stress hormone cortisol, and boost production of
serotonin, which, in turn, can improve mood. Additionally, massage
can lower production of the neurotransmitter substance P, often
linked to pain, improving sleep as a result. (Read the three-page report on massage therapy and
When you train as a massage therapist in a clinical environment,
you'll have more exposure to clients seeking massage for medical
conditions, such as arthritis. A key advantage in earning your massage therapy
certification at National University of Health Sciences is its
internship in the on-campus integrative medical clinic. Here, you
will not only practice massage geared toward relaxation and
wellness, but also have the chance to work with clients referred by
physicians from a variety of medical specialties. Your massage will
be part of an over all treatment plan managed by the client's
Dr. Jerrilyn Cambron, professor at
National University, has been elected "president elect" for
the Massage Therapy Foundation. Her position
will begin in March of 2013, and she will serve her two-year term
as president from 2014 - 2016.
Dr. Cambron was previously elected to the Foundation's board of
trustees in 2010, and became a vice president of the organization
The focus of the Foundation is to "advance the knowledge and
practice of massage therapy by supporting scientific research,
education, and community service."
Dr. Cambron says, "These three tenets of research, education,
and community service are exactly what I stand for as well, so
as a massage therapist, the Foundation was a natural match for
"The Massage Therapy Foundation's work is very exciting," says
Dr. Cambron. "We have an international massage therapy research
conference coming up, and also an online open-source journal that is indexed in
PubMed. The Foundation gives out funding for research and community
service projects, and is starting a webinar series on how to write
case reports. In fact, we have a case-report contest for both
students and practitioners." says Dr. Cambron.
Dr. Cambron serves on the faculty of National University's
Research Department and in addition to her doctor of chiropractic
degree, holds both a master's degree in public health and PhD from
the School of Public Health at the University of Illinois-Chicago.
She is also a licensed massage therapist and founder of MassageNet, a
practice-based research network for massage therapists.
Most athletes can testify to the pain-relieving,
recovery-promoting effects of massage. Now there's a scientific
basis that supports booking a session with a massage therapist: On
the cellular level massage reduces inflammation and promotes the
growth of new mitochondria in skeletal muscle. So says new research
from the Buck Institute on Aging and McMaster University in
Hamilton, Ontario. You can read more about this study and watch a video
from one of the researchers explaining how they made the
The study involved the genetic analysis of muscle biopsies taken
from the quadriceps of eleven young males after they had exercised
to exhaustion on a stationary bicycle. One of their legs was
randomly chosen to be massaged. Biopsies were taken from both legs
prior to the exercise, immediately after 10 minutes of massage
treatment and after a 2.5 hour period of recovery.
Buck Institute faculty Simon Melov, PhD, was responsible for the
genetic analysis of the tissue samples. "Our research showed that
massage dampened the expression of inflammatory cytokines in the
muscle cells and promoted biogenesis of mitochondria, which are the
energy-producing units in the cells," said Melov. He added that the
pain reduction associated with massage may involve the same
mechanism as those targeted by conventional anti-inflammatory
drugs. "There's general agreement that massage feels good, now we
have a scientific basis for the experience," said Melov.
study proving that massage therapy is effective for lower back
pain, was featured on NPRs "All Things Considered."
Low back pain is very common. It often goes away after several
days or weeks, but it may last for months or years or periodically
recur. The usual treatments for low back pain include drugs
(painkillers, anti-inflammatory drugs, and muscle relaxants),
physical therapy, back exercises, and education about ways to
prevent back injury and deal with back pain. Some people use
alternative treatments for low back pain, such as chiropractic or
This study compared the short-term and long-term effects of
relaxation massage, structural massage, and usual care for people
with persisting low back pain.
The researchers first gathered information about the participants'
symptoms and how much those symptoms limited their daily
activities. They then randomly assigned each participant to receive
relaxation massage, structural massage, or usual medical care
without massage. Participants assigned to the massage groups got
about 1 hour of massage once a week for 10 weeks. The researchers
remeasured participants' symptoms and ability to perform daily
activities after completing the 10 massage treatments, and then at
6 months and 1 year after starting massage therapy.
Participants who received massage had less pain and were better
able to perform daily activities after 10 weeks than those who
received usual care. The benefits of massage lasted for 6 months
but were less clear at 1 year, when pain and function had improved
about equally in all 3 groups. The type of massage did not seem to
make a difference. Symptoms and ability to perform activities
improved about the same in the 2 massage groups.
(The full report is titled "A Comparison of the Effects of 2 Types
of Massage and Usual Care on Chronic Low Back Pain. A Randomized,
Controlled Trial." It is in the 5 July 2011 issue of Annals of
Internal Medicine (volume 155, pages 1-9). The authors are D.C.
Cherkin, K.J. Sherman, J. Kahn, R. Wellman, A.J. Cook, E. Johnson,
J. Erro, K. Delaney, and R.A. Deyo.)
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