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Massage Today
February, 2009, Vol. 09, Issue 02

Value of Qualitative Research in the Study of Massage Therapy

By Ania Kania, Antony Porcino and Marja J. Verhoef

Qualitative inquiry is increasingly used in health research as it is particularly suitable to the study of topics about which little is known, that are complex, and which cannot easily be understood through quantification. By exploring the lived experience of the individuals providing and receiving massage therapy, and the meaning they ascribe to these experiences, in-depth understanding of what massage therapy is and how it affects people's lives is possible. Qualitative research may also provide insight to the outcomes, process, and context of massage therapy, which cannot be fully understood through quantification alone.

The purpose of this article is to describe what qualitative research is and discuss the value of qualitative research to the massage therapy profession. It targets massage therapists who want to be able to better understand the research literature, novice massage therapy researchers who are unfamiliar with qualitative research, and those teaching research methods courses in massage therapy training programs who want to include qualitative research methods in their curriculum.

Abstract taken from the International Journal of Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork (2008, Volume 1, Number 2). The full text of this report can be found at


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