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Be a part of the research

Meet The Team

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Primary Researcher
Corey Rivera, BA, LMT

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Asks a Lot of Questions


Martha Brown Menard, PhD

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Averts Research Disasters


The profession of massage therapy in America is at a crossroads. We continually have the same conversations without gaining ground. What is massage? Is there a difference between ‘spa’ and ‘clinical’? How should massage therapy and massage therapists be regulated? What standards should we have for entry level education? Without a clear understanding, we will continue to have the same disagreements, stumble over the same problems and fail to progress.


This project's intention is to gather data through interviews, writings and any other useful mediums to describe:

  • Where the profession of massage therapy is currently

  • How it got here

  • Themes of its struggle

  • How its problems interact and relate

  • How massage therapy fits into the world

  • Speculation about the possible avenues massage therapy could take

The goal of this project is to produce and publish a thoroughly researched document. The document will be written in a manner accessible to all massage therapists who wish to read it. 


My prime directive is “I want to know everything, all of the time.” While this motivation sounds noble if a bit ostentatious on paper, the reality is a relentless drive for answers that may not exist and a perpetual Columbo impression. I always have one more question and I’m developing a squint. 

I have been a massage therapist for 15 years, spent time in both Music and Medical schools, and taught entry-level massage education. I am also able to assess, parse, and present information in ways that everyone can understand. While I have volunteered for AMTA, I carry no institutional ties or loyalties except to my hopes for the growth of the profession. 

 I am uniquely suited to this project because I am skilled at non-judgmental, curious investigation. It is inevitable that mistakes will have been made, but not every story requires a villain, and I am not in search of scapegoats, conspiracies, or a big bad wolf.


While I don’t believe blame needs to be assigned (there appears to be plenty to go around already), I do believe it is important to have an accurate picture. Refusing to acknowledge the darker parts of our story will only continue hamstring our strive for progress, but such acknowledgement can be done in a spirit of healing.

What this project is not

This is not a gossip column and I am not a reality show producer. Everyone who agrees to be interviewed is assured that no audio or video will be used without their permission and no direct quotes will be published without their consent. That's how you ruin lives, and I'm not here to ruin anyone.

Honestly, the truth is often plenty to deal with and this project will bring out truths that affect real people. Its almost a certainty that both you and I will dislike some of those truths (although we may not agree on which ones) but covering up the things that make us uncomfortable is how we got here in the first place.

Please also note that no amount of patronage to The Rub will earn privileges that are not included on the Patreon benefits page. There will be no access to data, special interviews, or favoritism. I don't have the constitution to be a politician. 


Project Updates

Check here for the latest news, progress, tears, and successes!


Join the Research

Click here to donate and add your thoughts to research questions!

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