Archive for tag: research

An NUHS Student's Research in Massage

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 conditions.

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."

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Lauren Cramer presents her research at the AMTA National Convention

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 Dexheimer.

"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.

Research on Massage and Rheumatoid Arthritis

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 therapy.

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.)

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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 arthritis.)

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 physician.

Dr. Cambron is President-Elect of Massage Therapy Foundation

Dr.CambronDr. 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 in 2012.

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 me. "

"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.

Massage Reduces Inflammation & Promotes Mitochondria Growth

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 discovery.

Biking

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.

Massage for Low Back Pain

BackpainA recent 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 massage therapy.

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.)