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Project Information and Updates

Current State:

Obtaining an IRB

Interviews Conducted



Hours Spent in Analysis


Hours Spent Staring at Blank Walls While Lost in Thought

A Short List of Topics

The BIG research question:


Define the scope of the massage therapy profession struggle including identifying: pieces, contributing factors, and interrelations.

Stakeholder topics:

  • Entry-level Education: schools, instructors, curriculum, students, accreditation

  • Continuing Education: monopolies, pathways, trademark wars, gurus, certifications

  • Associations: domains, motives, transparency, nepotism, competition, cooperation

  • Franchises: motives, politics, education creation/influence, problem solving methods

  • Outside Influences/Comparisons: mainstream medicine, alternative/complementary modalities, nursing

  • International Comparisons: Canadian provinces, Australia (?)

  • Research: Quantitative vs qualitative, current research questions, funding, researchers, what do we really know?

  • Therapists on the Ground: adaptability, isolationism, collective identity

  • Sex Work and/or Human-Trafficking: using massage's name

  • The Public: clear messaging, awareness of massage capability



  • History: how far have we come? What happened before this moment? (See "The Emergence of the Massage Therapy Profession in North America" for some answers)

  • Ethics: bias, boundaries, licensing

  • Equity: diversity, cost of massage, insurance


Massage vs Massage:

  • Art vs science

  • Recreation/spa/service vs clinical outcomes/medical/healthcare

  • Knowledge (evidence based) vs intuition

  • Profession vs vocation/field

  • Amateur vs expert

  • Group vs individualism

  • Complacency vs change vs stagnation

A Shockingly Incomplete List of Questions

  • What is the difference between spa and medical? Does it matter?

  • What is preventing us from having entry-level education standards?

  • Why do the associations have such trouble working together?

  • What is the purpose of those associations? Are they fulfilling that purpose?

  • How does the American system compare to other countries?

  • What can massage learn from traditional medicine?

  • What can traditional medicine learn from massage?

  • What struggles do our students have?

  • What struggles do our schools have?

  • What are our common biases?

  • How do we relate to the Wellness Industry?

  • What do we owe the public?

  • How do we relate to the Human Trafficking crisis?

  • How do we solve the problems in our continuing education practices?

  • Is there a higher percentage of learning disabilities in the massage profession? How can we  adjust the traditionally able-ist education system to address it?

  • What kind of research is happening? Is it helpful? Who is reading it? Who needs to read it?

  • Licensing and all related arguments.

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