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Massage Today
March, 2007, Vol. 07, Issue 03

Harvard to Host International Fascia Conference

By Kathryn Feather, Senior Associate Editor

Several international massage groups are supporting organizations for this historic event, dedicated to fascia in all its forms and functions.

The Conference Center at Harvard Medical School will play host to the International Fascia Research Congress Oct.

4-5, 2007. The first of its kind, the congress has been conceived and organized by a multidisciplinary committee of science researchers and practicing health care professionals who share a common focus and interest in the human body's soft connective tissue matrix.

The American Massage Therapy Association is one of many supporting organizations, including the Australian Association of Massage Therapists, the Canadian Massage Therapy Research Network, the Society for Acupuncture Research and the Foundation for Chiropractic Education and Research, just to name a few.

According to scheduled speaker Thomas Findley, MD, PhD, "This conference will present the highest quality, peer-reviewed, original research on connective tissue which is pertinent to hypothesized complementary and alternative medicine therapeutic modalities such as chiropractic, osteopathy, acupuncture, massage and structural integration. We have already received confirmation of participation at the conference from 15 eminent scientists with collectively over 1,500 publications in peer-reviewed journals as well as 16 other scientists or clinicians representing key modalities of this work."

The principle thematic topics to be discussed at the congress are: mechanical force transmission through fascia and fascial anatomy; matrix and fibroblast biology; force adaptation and response to loading; fascial innervation, nociception and proprioception; fascial research in special populations; a panel discussion of controversies in fibroblast research; and a panel for scientist-clinician interaction and formulation of future research directions.

The scientific review committee consists of scientists with conventional research training and/or experience in relevant complementary disciplines. The panel has been selected to represent a wide range of clinical and scientific disciplines. In addition to reviewing submitted abstracts, their continued involvement at the conference will be as moderators of their respective specialty sessions.

Geoffrey Bove, DC, PhD, of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, is chair of the review committee. Other committee members are Malgorzata Czarny, PhD, Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center in San Diego; Brian Degenhardt, DO, A.T. Still Research Institute; Thomas Findley, MD, PhD, Veteran's Administration Medical Center; Giulio Gabbiani, MD, PhD, University of Geneva; Serge Gracovetsky, PhD, Concordia University; Janet Kahn, PhD; Consortium for Massage Research; Helene Langevin, MD, College of Medicine, University of Vermont; Albert Moraska, PhD, University of Colorado and the Massage Therapy Foundation; Robert Schleip, PhD, Institute of Applied Physiology, Ulm University in Germany; and Andry Vleeming, PhD, Spine and Joint Center, Rotterdam.

According to Dr. Findley, the congress has seven primary objectives: 1) To create a forum in which the most current research on fascia will be presented and critically evaluated, including basic science, clinical mechanistic research and research methodology; 2) To foster interdisciplinary, inter-institutional and international collaboration among scientists active in fascia research and clinicians whose methods may impact fascia; 3) To explore developments in research methodologies applicable to complementary therapy investigations; 4) To heighten professional awareness about advances in basic sciences and the importance of formulating hypotheses and testing CAM therapeutic mechanisms; 5) To publish a volume of conference proceedings in the Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies and generating articles published in internationally indexed journals; 6) To foster networking among attendees, both at the conference and afterward; and 7) To enable future researchers (students and postdoctoral trainees) to strengthen their motivation and interest in a career in fascia research.

Information presented during the meeting will foster discussions aimed at promoting future research to further the understanding of the role of fascia in musculoskeletal dynamics.

Two monetary awards will honor the best oral and best poster presentation. The $2,000 Dr. Ida P. Rolf Award, sponsored by the Rolf Institute of Structural Integration, will be given for the best oral presentation; a $500 award, sponsored by the Fascia Research Congress, will be given for best poster presentation.

Those interested in attending this historic event are urged to register now, as space is limited. Attendees can register for one or both days of the conference. Early registration is available through May 15, 2007; advanced registration is May 16-Sept. 25, 2007. Single-day registration fees range from $210 to $320, while fees for the entire conference range from $300 to $450. Discounts are available through May 15, 2007, for students, members of sponsoring organizations and those who also are registered for the IASI Symposium in Boston. Verification of membership status in a sponsoring organization and current student status must be provided in the online registration form.

According to the congress' Web site, "The First International Fascia Research Congress is intended to be a catalyst. Its emphasis and centerpiece will be the presentation of the latest and best scientific fascia research. Professionals from the separate domains of basic research and clinical practice will have an unprecedented opportunity to learn from one another and gain insights that will inform and enrich their respective areas of work and lead to new areas of scientific inquiry and improvements in applied methods."

Visit for additional information or to register online.


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