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Massage Today
August, 2002, Vol. 02, Issue 08

Touch Research Institute Celebrates 10th Anniversary

By Editorial Staff

The Touch Research Institute (TRI), the first center in the world devoted specifically to the study of touch, celebrated its 10th anniversary with a surprise gala in Miami on June 4th. The Johnson & Johnson Pediatric Institute, L.L.C., a major contributor to TRI's research efforts, hosted the event.

Founded by Tiffany Field, PhD in 1992, TRI and affiliated researchers from Harvard, Duke, Maryland and other major universities have conducted more than 80 studies showing the positive effects of massage, including improved weight gain in premature infants; relief of childhood asthma; improvement of sleep disorder symptoms; and enhanced immune function.

According to Dr.

Field, her motivation for opening the center came from her experiences as the mother of a premature baby, and her previous research on touch. Research efforts at TRI focus on the benefits of massage on functions and conditions in varied age groups, infants and children in particular.

The original Touch Research Institute was founded by Dr. Field in 1992 at the Miami University School of Medicine, via a startup grant from Johnson & Johnson. Ten years later, TRI receives funding from a variety of organizations, including the Johnson & Johnson Pediatric Institute, L.L.C., the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and Gerber.

The Miami-based TRI now supports three additional facilities:

  • A TRI in the Philippines focused recent research efforts on the effects of massage on preterm infants.
  • The University of Paris TRI studies the role of touch in psychopathology.
  • At the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) Medical School Pediatric Pain Center, TRI researchers investigate touch as treatment for childhood pain syndromes.

"The Touch Research Institutes have come a long way in 10 years," said Dr. Field. "We are establishing very clearly that touch is as important as diet and exercise in our children's healthy growth and development. I would like to see parents beginning to massage their babies right from the newborn nursery. We all need a daily dose of touch."


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