Resources for Science-Based Massage Therapists

Recently, I wrote about the emergence of what has come to be called science based or evidence based massage therapy. At the end of the article, I listed a few online resources for massage therapists interested in keeping up with relevant research. However, there are many, many more resources available. Some are directly devoted to massage therapy. Some are related to massage therapy and other manual therapies. Still others are devoted to pain research, brain research, science, or medicine and may be of interest to massage therapists. In this article, I would like to start a list of what I think are good resources for massage therapists. This list is far from complete and will be updated periodically as I learn of other resources. Please feel free to submit your own favorite internet resources.

Lay readers are invited to stay informed of updates through the Massage St. Louis FaceBook page. Massage therapists and other professionals can "friend" me here.

Sites are listed in no particular order.


Hot off the (virtual) press!

Massage & Fitness Magazine. Science-based articles on massage and fitness. Pilot issue is free; subsequent issues will require a subscription. I've reviewed it here. Disclosure: I'm a contributor. Read the article on prenatal massage.

Please note:

POEM, the Project for Open Education in Massage is like an online university. Forums, journal club, case studies, and more. As of 6/9/14, POEM is offline. When it returns, we'll let you know.

Added 6/9/14:

BBoy Science. How can you not love it? Physical therapist and dancer Tony Ingram writes about injuries, pain science, and dancing. Tony has a real gift for distilling the information to its essence. Intelligent and a fun read.

Better Movement is Todd Hargrove's blog on movement and pain. Excellent reading. Highly recommended. 

Human Antigravity Suit  is Canadian physiotherapist Diane Jacob's blog covering pain science and the neurobiological revolution. Diane engages in some deep thinking on pain and the nervous system. It may be a little intimidating for some massage therapists at first, but there is some outstanding writing here. Of particular note is a series dissection Melzack & Katz's paper Pain.

Massage Therapists Open Group is a Facebook page for "massage therapists who care about their profession and wish to discuss what we do." Participants include students, new practitioners, seasoned therapists, and related practitioners. We are lucky to have some working scientists on board who are also MTs and can explain, in plain language, the science we don't understand.

Massage and Manual Therapies

Evidence Based Massage Therapy is a FaceBook page that posts articles on massage research, conferences, and other articles of interest.

Ontario Massage Therapist Advocates - Clinical Resource FEEDS for RMTs FB page posts relevant research and encourages massage therapists to apply science-mindedness to evaluate research.

Neuroscience and Pain Science for Manual Physical Therapists is a FB page focussed on physical therapy and still very relevant to massage therapists.

The International Journal of Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork is a peer-reviewed journal that publishes research on massage therapy.

3-D Optimal Performance is the FB page for Will Stewart, personal trainer and massage therapist in Washington, D.C. Will has begun posting a series of outstanding interviews on BlogTalkRadio and has alternately been called the "Terry Gross" and the "Howard Stern" of blog radio and the brain.

Christopher Moyer, Ph.D., first rocked the world of massage therapy with his study on massage and cortisol. Links to this study and other papers can be found on his website PsychRadio. Watch this two part video to better understand the cortisol study.

Touch Research Institute has been doing studies on the effects of massage therapy since 1992. There are some problems with some of their research but I'm still including them on this list. 

SomaSimple is a forum focused on bringing modern pain science and neuroscience into the practice of manual therapy. Predominantly physical therapists, other science-based manual therapists are welcome. The enormity of the site and the vigor of the discussion can be intimidating to the average massage therapist. I wrote a Massage Therapist's Guide to SomaSimple to try to help ease my fellow MTs into the site.

Pain, the Brain, and Science-Based Medicine is the work of retired massage therapist turned science writer Paul Ingraham. Paul writes well-researched, easy to read articles about pain conditions and what can be done to alleviate them. SaveYourself has a huge annotated bibliography about science and common pain problems that is updated constantly. Looking for research or can't understand the study you found? This is the place to go. Sign up on the SaveYourself FB page to stay informed of when new articles are posted. presents well-written, plain language reports on current pain research. Making Sense of Pain Research is a must-read series of articles that will help you learn how to read and interpret research studies.

Body In Mind is another great FB page. Dr. Lorimer Moseley, author of Explain Pain, and collaborators explore the relationship between the body, brain, mind in complex pain disorders.

Science Based Medicine explores issues and controversies in the relationship between science and medicine.