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Massage Today
January, 2013, Vol. 13, Issue 01

MTF Awards Research Grants

By Editorial Staff

The Massage Therapy Foundation (MTF) awarded two 2012 $30,000 research grants to help fund studies in the field of massage therapy. The MTF has been funding important research in the field since 1993.

The first grant was awarded to Joan E. Cunningham, PhD, at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston for her study titled, "Use of Therapeutic Massage to Treat Chemotherapy-Induced Peripheral Neuropathy (CIPN)." This condition is a common debilitating side effect of many standard chemotherapy drugs used to treat various forms of cancer. Symptoms include pain and numbness in the extremities, muscle weakness, stiffness, cramps or twitching. Not a lot of research has been done on this subject, as the underlying causes are poorly understood. This study aims to establish some groundwork for clinical trials focused on the physiological processes involved in CIPN and it is hoped that through this research, massage therapy will become a viable treatment option for CIPN.

The second grant was awarded to Mark Blegen, PhD, FACSM at St. Catherine University in St. Paul, Minn. His study, "The Effects of Massage Therapy in Conjunction with Exercise Training on Weight" will examine whether using massage therapy as a reward for regular exercise could promote weight management. The research team will measure bodyweight and body fat percentage, as well as the status of emotional eating, physical and psychological measures of stress, anxiety and mood to determine the effect of massage within a weight management program.

"These studies reflect two emerging fields for massage: the feasibility of integrating massage into medical treatments for complex conditions in Cunningham's study on CIPN, and massage's application as an aspect of general public health and wellness in Blegen's study on massage and weight loss. The Massage Therapy Foundation is pleased to be able to support studies that have such clear clinical relevance for massage therapists," said MTF President Ruth Werner.

For more information on these and other grant opportunities and studies, visit the MTF website at


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