During the course of attending massage school at A New Beginning School of Massage, students are given a number of assignments that requiring research and writing. Some of these assignments result in very insightful and well thought out information and decision-making outcomes. I am happy to share some of their assignments for you to enjoy.
Qualitative research- "Investigates phenomena in an in-depth and holistic fashion, through the collection of rich narrative materials in a flexible design." This type of research is used to understand the human's subjective experience. Qualitative research allows for scientific validation of aspects of massage therapy that are hard to measure but are vitally important. Quantitative research is research that can show the measurable aspects of phenomena. Quantitative research makes it easier to identify things as true and false but is not always applicable.
Both qualitative and quantitative research are valid in determining the benefits of massage therapy. Qualitative research is a valid research method because it uses more complicated forms of data to understand complex phenomena. It helps to validate aspects of massage because the information gathered is subjective material from individual experiences. Quantitative research validates aspects of massage that you can measure such as blood flow.
What I determine as valid is having enough evidence leading to the justification of believing in a cause and effect. If there is enough information repeatedly documenting the same results, then, to me, the information is valid.
I think that it is important to have documentation for everything we can research. I also think that using research to prove the benefits of massage will allow massage to incorporate itself further into medical practices. The more exposure research on massage therapy will have, the greater the benefits of massage will be recognized. This will help give people a new understanding of massage therapy
One important benefit of massage is that it stimulates an increase in circulation of the body. Research at the University of Illinois at Chicago finds that there is "improved vascular function in people who had not exercised" (Galatzer-Levy) simply by getting a massage. The research conducted used three groups for the experiment: People who exercised, people who received a massage, and people who exercised and received a massage. Through the use of ultrasound, the FMD (flow mediated dilation) was measured. People who had not received a massage and only exercised, had reduced blood flow after 90 minutes and beyond, whereas people who had received a massage after exercising showed improved blood flow at all points and people who just received a massage showed improved blood flow nearly identical to those who exercised and received massage.
This experiment shows that massage therapy can be beneficial for people who have limited mobility or vascular problems because of the increased blood flow. Knowing this, I am able to use massage therapy to help people who need it.
Kani, A., Porcino, A., Verhoef, M.. Value of Qualitative Research in the Study of Massage Therapy.International Journal of Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork: Research, Education, & Practice, North America, 1, dec. 2008. Available at: <http://www.ijtmb.org/index.php/ijtmb/article/view/26/33>.
Neufeld, A., Barberree, B., and Anderson, S. Qualitative Research Furthers the Study of Massage Therapy." Massage Today, Oct 2013 (Vol 13, I. 10). Available at: <http://www.massagetoday.com/mpacms/mt/article.php?id=14825>
Galatzer-Levy, J. "Massage Therapy Improves Circulation, Eases Muscle Soreness." UIC News Center. Apr 2014. Available at: <https://news.uic.edu/massage-therapy-improves-circulation-alleviates-muscle-soreness>