Attitudes and Practices of Massage Therapists as Related to Conventional Medicine

Katherine G. Footracer, MS, PA-C, CMT, Melissa Monaghan, MS, PA-C, CHHA, Nicole P. Wisniewski, MS, EdM, PA-C, ATC, Ellen Mandel, DMH, MPA, MS, PA-C

Abstract


Introduction: Research into opinions about complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) has focused on conventional medical practitioners with little exploration of CAM practitioners’ views.

Purpose: To survey attitudes and practices of massage therapists toward conventional medicine.

Research Design: An anonymous online survey consisting of Likert-type scales, fill-in answers, and multiple-choice questions was used.

Participants: Members of the Associated Bodywork & Massage Professionals (ABMP), the largest massage therapy association in the US with over 77,000 members.

Main Outcome Measures: Participants were asked about their years of practice and training, choice of health care practitioners, sources for information about CAM and Western/allopathic medicine, client referral patterns, optimal treatment approaches for various medical conditions, and overall impressions of CAM and Western/allopathic medicine.

Results: Analysis of n = 3,148 responses indicated that while 66.9% of respondents had a neutral or worse impression of Western/allopathic medicine, 64.3% use a conventional
medicine practitioner as their primary health care provider, 61.9% have referred clients to a conventional medicine practitioner in the past six months, and 90.5% seek out information on Western/allopathic medicine. The mode response of the best treatment approach to various medical problems was a mix of Western/allopathic medicine and CAM.

Conclusions: This study suggests that despite the ambivalence of many massage therapists towards conventional medicine, many use it, encourage clients to do so, and see involvement of both as crucial to health.

Keywords


complementary; alternative medicine; attitudes; massage

Full Text:

PDF HTML


DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3822/ijtmb.v5i1.149

International Journal of Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork
ISSN 1916-257X