Author Guideline (Updated March 2020)


Thank you for considering submission to the International Journal of Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork an open-access journal. There are no fees for publication if your manuscript is accepted.

You may now submit your manuscript for the peer review process as a single document, either in word, rich text format, or PDF. You may put your tables and figures in-line with the text or at the end of the manuscript. If your paper is accepted for publication, you will be asked to revise your paper into the “IJTMB format” – see accepted submissions below.

Types of articles ↨

The IJTMB accepts many types of articles. Word counts do not include abstract, tables, figures, or references

  • Experimental and observational research – structured abstract 300 words or less- up to 4000 words.
  • Qualitative and Mixed Methods research articles are allowed up to 5,500 words.
  • Systematic reviews and meta-analyses - structured abstract 300 words or less - up to 3500 words, not including tables
  • Case reports and series - structured abstract 300 words or less - up to 2500 words
  • Education and Practice reports - structured abstract - up to 3000 words
  • Commentaries- unstructured abstract of less than 200 words - text up to 2500 words, no more than 2 tables or figures (combined), and no more than 20 references.
  • Letters to the editor – no abstract - no more than 500 words

Information relevant to all manuscripts

Manuscript Components

manuscripts submitted need to include the following essential sections and follow study type reporting guidelines (see
  • Title
  • Abstract
  • Introduction
  • Materials and/or methods
    • Including patient and public involvement
    • Reporting ethical review and informed consent
  • Results
  • Discussion
  • References
  • Conflict of Interest declaration
  • May also include
    • Funding source
    • Acknowledgements
Case Report manuscript
must follow the Adapted CARE guidelines and include the following sections:
  • Title
  • Abstract
  • Introduction
  • Case presentation
    • Client or patient information
      • Informed consent
      • Assessment Measures
      • Practitioner Descriptors
      • Therapeutic Intervention
  • Results
  • Discussion
  • References
  • Conflict of Interest declaration
  • May also include
    • Funding source
    • Acknowledgements
Commentaries ↨
  • Title Abstract (unstructured)
  • Headings and subheading are recommended to allow for ease of reading
  • References
  • Conflict of Interest declaration
May also include
  • Funding Source
  • Acknowledgements

Ethical Responsibility

All research is to be conducted in an ethical and responsible manner. Details and reporting requirements are embedded in the Methods section of the Article, below. Please carefully review the full ethical statements/requirements and links provided there.

Recommended Reporting Guidelines

There are several reporting guidelines available for different types of studies. Developed by international teams and driven by a need to ensure transparency and consistency of reporting, the IJTMB expects authors to use these international reporting guidelines; articles not meeting basic reporting guidelines will be returned to authors for revisions to conform to guidelines before being accepted for review. For a full list, please visit the EQUATOR Network: Enhancing the Quality and Transparency Of health Research . We recommend including a statement about following the appropriate reporting guideline in the manuscript, and in the cover letter to the editor upon submission. Including the checklist used with your manuscript submission, showing addressed items, is optional but appreciated.

These guidelines include:

CONSORT: Consolidated Standards of Reporting Trials. Applicable to many forms of TMB research ↨

Authors are advised to use the CONSORT (Consolidated Standards of Reporting Trials) reporting guidelines for randomized controlled trials, and particularly the CONSORT Extension for Non-Pharmaceutical Interventions. The application of CONSORT guidelines to all forms of research will ensure manuscripts include items which are expected for full and appropriate reporting of TMB research. For clinical trials this includes a client/patient flow diagram.


As designated in the Uniform Requirements (Section III.J.), “the ICMJE believes it is important to foster a comprehensive, publicly available database of clinical trials. The ICMJE defines a clinical trial as any research project that prospectively assigns human subjects to intervention or concurrent comparison or control groups to study the cause-and-effect relationship between a medical intervention and a health outcome. Medical interventions include drugs, surgical procedures, devices, behavioral treatments, process-of-care changes, and the like” The ICMJE advocates that (a) the public trials registry used include a minimal registration data set spanning 20 criteria (see World Health Organization Technical Consultation on Clinical Trials Registration) and (b) the trial registration number be designated at the end of the manuscript’s abstract. Additional guidance regarding this recommended registration process for prospective authors of clinical trial manuscripts is available at the following sources: ICMJE’s “Questions about Clinical Trials Registration” and

The IJTMB considers TMB interventions to be included in the aforementioned definition. Thus, for research involving TMB clinical trial interventions, Trial Registration information such as trial registry name, registration, & URL of the registry will be expected. If the trial was not registered, an explanation must be provided in the submission cover letter to the Executive Editor.

PRISMA: Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic reviews and Meta-Analyses and ENTREQ: ENhancing Transparency in REporting the synthesis of Qualitative research ↨

PRISMA provides reporting guidelines to ensure inclusion of essential features that should be presented in manuscripts of systematic reviews and meta-analytic studies. ENTREQ: provides the parallel guidelines for manuscripts involving the synthesis of qualitative research manuscripts.

COREQ: COnsolidated criteria for REporting Qualitative research ↨

This checklist helps researchers to report report the key items of relevance for qualitative research projects, covering research team and reflexivity, study design, and data analysis and reporting.

CARE: Consensus-based clinical CAse REporting ↨

The CARE guidelines address completeness, transparency, and data analysis relevant to the reporting in case reports and point-of-care data The IJTMB has published recommended adaptations to the CARE Guidelines specific to therapeutic massage and bodywork.

SAMPL: Statistical Analyses and Methods in the Published Literature ↨

These are reporting guidelines for statistical analyses. The document is available here: SAMPL-Guidelines-6-27-13.pdf


In the submission cover letter to the Editor, give full details on any possible previous or duplicate publication of any content of the manuscript, including degree of overlap. Previous or duplicate publication includes all forms of potential distribution of manuscript material outside of the research team for any purpose excluding peer review in preparation of the manuscript. Previous publication of some content of a paper does not necessarily preclude its being published, but members of the Editorial Board need information about previous publication when deciding how to use space in the journal efficiently; they regard failure of full disclosure by authors of possible prior publication as a breach of scientific ethics. Please send a copy of any document that might be considered a previous publication via email to the Executive Editor, or provide this document during the submission process as a Supplementary file


When you prepare a revised version of your manuscript, it is essential that you carefully follow any specific instructions given in the Editor's letter regarding preparation of the revised manuscript. The following are expected in preparation of the revised manuscript.

    1. Any changes to the manuscript must be done with “track changes”.
    2. A cover letter for the editor must be prepared that outlines
      • what changes were made in the manuscript/supplementary files to address reviewers’ suggestions or concerns; and
      • reasons why the remaining reviewers’ suggestions or concerns should not result in changes in the manuscript/supplementary files.

Revisions received more than 3 months after requested may be sent for another review cycle, at the Editor's discretion. If a revision is not received within 6 months after requested, your file may be closed.

UPLOADING THE REVISION DOCUMENTS Log into your account, click on the name of the manuscript under “My Queue”.

Revised Manuscript and Supplementary Files: On the Review tab of your manuscript, scroll down to Revisions and click “Upload File” and complete the steps. NOTIFYING THE EDITOR THAT REVISED DOCUMENTS HAVE BEEN SUBMITTED, AND SUBMITTING THE COVER LETTER TO THE EDITOR The system does not automatically inform the editor that revised documents have been submitted. To notify the Editor, you will need to start a Review Discussion by clicking “Add discussion” and selecting them from the list of participants. You can write the Editor a brief note informing them that you have uploaded a revised manuscript and any revised supplementary files. You can also attach the documents within the discussion as well. Click “OK” to send this to the Editor.

Accepted Manuscript

Upon Acceptance authors will be required to submit the final manuscript based upon the following guidelines:

Three issues to keep in mind:

  • It is the responsibility of the lead/corresponding author to review the entire manuscript at this time to ensure all factual information is correct. Common oversights at this stage of review include failure to verify that all author and co-author information, references, and legends on figures are correct.
  • It is the responsibility of the lead/corresponding author to ensure that all metadata information on the article's summary page is correct (found by logging in as author). This includes verifying the author and co-author information is current and that the title and abstract on the summary page match those of the version for copyediting.
  • In order to get your article published as soon as possible once the copyediting process has started, please monitor its progress, and respond to the Copyeditor, Layout Editor, and Journal Proofreader in a timely manner.
  • Final file should preferably be in resubmitted in word document format
  • Ensure that manuscript adheres to the ‘Specific Manuscript Components’
  • Ensure units of measurement and place names are clearly indicated
Tables and figures
  • Formatted in AMA style of referencing prior to copyediting
Author Copyediting Review
  • Any changes to the copyedited file must be done with “track changes”
  • Authors are welcome to comment, accept, or refuse the copyeditors comments
  • Indicate any changes you’ve made to the copyedited file in your discussion with the Copyeditor and Production Editor



The title page includes: the article title; authors’ names followed by their highest academic/professional degree(s), then the authors’ institutional department and affiliation; contact information for the corresponding author(s) (postal, email, and indication of whether the author consents to the publishing of the email); and a running head or foot line consisting of: Head author (last name), et al. (if appropriate), and a colon followed by a brief version of the title (approximately 40 characters).

Title: Article titles should be concise while effectively conveying the topic and specifics that will aid immediate understanding of the article, including research design and population when appropriate.

Authorship: Only those individuals who contributed directly to the intellectual content of the paper should be listed as such, with the implication that all of the following criteria have been met by the author(s) listed: (a) conceived and planned the work that led to the report; (b) wrote the paper, or reviewed successive versions and took part in the revision process; and (c) approved the final version. Holding positions of administrative leadership, contributing clients, and collecting and assembling data, are not, by themselves, criteria for authorship. Other persons who have made substantial, direct contributions to the work but cannot be considered authors should be acknowledged with their permission.


The Abstract page begins with the abstract, followed by the subsequent sections: key words; the word counts of abstract and body text; the number of figures and tables; and the conflict of interest statement.

Abstracts: Abstracts are critical summaries of the work, indexed in many databases, and the primary introduction of the work to readers. They must concisely and accurately reflect the work. Structured abstracts are to be no more than 300 words and follow the following guidelines.

Research/Education/Practice manuscripts:

For articles of quantitative original data, the following format applies: Background, Purpose, Setting, Participants, Research Design, Intervention, Main Outcome Measure(s), Results including specific effect sizes and statistical significance if possible, and Conclusions. For clinical trials, also include Trial Registration information such as trial registry name, registration, & url of the registry.

For systematic reviews & meta-analyses, adhere to the following structure: Background, Purpose, Data Sources, Study Selection, Data Extraction, Results, and Conclusions.

For qualitative data manuscripts, the following format applies: Background, Purpose, Setting, Participants, Research Design, Results, Conclusions. Review the recommendations from CONSORT/PRISMA as appropriate.

Abstracts for other types of submissions should concisely explain the core material of the manuscript in a logical manner that reflects the sequential presentation in the manuscript.

Case report manuscripts, the following format applies: Introduction, Case Presentation, and Discussion. Review the Adaptation of CARE Guidelines for more information.

For Commentaries an unstructured abstract of no more than 200 words that accurately reflects the manuscript is required. Key words: Include 3 to 10 key, distinct words or short phrases that readers will use when searching for your article within databases, with reliance on the Medical Subject Headings (MeSH) of the National Library of Medicine.

As MeSH is not precise regarding therapeutic massage and bodywork (TMB) names and techniques, standard TMB terminology with key relevance to the article can also be used if the terms are representative and would be understood and/or commonly searched. Separate terms with a semi-colon and a space (e.g., term1; term2; term3) and do not capitalize them.

Conflict of Interest Notification: To prevent ambiguity, authors must state explicitly whether potential conflicts do or do not exist. Conflict of interest exists when an author, reviewer, or editor has financial or personal relationships that could inappropriately bias or compromise his or her actions (such relationships are also known as dual commitments, competing interests, or competing loyalties). More specifically, the following considerations are illustrative and would need to be addressed:

  1. Authors should identify individuals who provide writing or other assistance and disclose the funding source for this assistance.
  2. Investigators must disclose potential conflicts to study participants and should state in the manuscript whether they have done so.
  3. Authors should describe the role of the study sponsor(s), if any, in the study design; in the collection, analysis, and interpretation of the data; in the writing of the report; and in the decision to submit the report for publication. If the supporting source had no such involvement, the authors should so state.
  4. Editors may request that authors of a study funded by an agency with a proprietary or financial interest in the outcome sign a statement such as, “I had full access to all of the data in this study and I take complete responsibility for the integrity of the data and the accuracy of the data analysis.”

Such perceived conflicts--or their absence in a study-- must be disclosed by the author via the Comments to the Editor route when the manuscript is submitted.


Research Manuscripts: The standard Introduction, Methods, Results, and Discussion (IMRAD structure) described below arises from the natural progression of the research process. The structure is best for qualitative, quantitative, mixed methods, and reviews research. From this point, the following headings (bold) will be expected for all research articles: Introduction, Methods, Results, Discussion, References, Acknowledgements, Creative Commons License. Use subheadings as appropriate (bold italics) to help guide readers through pertinent grouping of information.

Non-research Manuscripts: Manuscripts submitted for consideration in the Journal’s Education Section and Practice Section often represent expository descriptions, conceptualizations, interpretations, or disputations of issues in the massage and bodywork profession, though these sections can also include section-specific research manuscripts. Non-research articles do not need to use the research formatting. However, considerable attention must be given to the necessity for critical reasoning in and professional literature support of one’s assertions. Such articles should have a logical development and flow, and should consider and apply the rationale of the guidelines for relevant sections as described below, i.e., (a) the four major sectional headings of Introduction, Method, Results, and Discussion and (b) the follow-up sections of References, Tables, Figures, etc.

If the manuscript’s topic does not lend itself conveniently to the IMRAD structure, then a deductive, inductive, or hybrid narrative development is encouraged. Other article types such as Letters to the Editor, reactions to published articles, book reviews, and Commentaries may also be submitted. While the format here is open-ended, use of headings (bold)and subheadings (bold italics) help guide readers through pertinent grouping of information.

Patient and Public Involvement

Specific Requirements: Methods:

This subsection should detail how the authors included patients and/or the public (including massage therapists) in the co-production of the research. This is not about gathering data from patients and/or the public, patient and public involvement refers instead to how they helped frame the research question, determine outcome measures, provided input into study design and implementation, as well as data interpretation and results dissemination. If they were not formerly included as co-producers/co-investigators of the project then this short paragraph should state as such.
We recommend authors provide answers to the following questions:

  • How and at what stage of the process were patients/public first involved?
  • How did the patient and public involvement influence the study development?
  • How did they help to clarify the research question?
  • How did they help to identify specific research participant characteristics?
  • How and what did they suggest that helped to minimize disruptions to study participants?
  • How were patients and the public involved in shaping the study design?
  • How were they included in determining or assisting with study recruitment and study implementation?
  • How did they assist with data collection and analysis?
  • How were patients and the public involved in the dissemination of results?

Further guidance on how to best report patient and public involvement in research can be seen in the GRIPP2 reporting checklist click here. One additional caveat for those researchers who are not also massage therapist, this guidance can be considered not only for how you included patients but also for how massage therapists were included in projects. Reporting ethical review and informed consent in the Methods section is also essential for any research that includes human subjects.


Please use the AMA style of referencing.

If you are using citation software, the “AMA” style is most appropriate. The IJTMB strongly encourages authors to use professional literature citations of key materials from recognized genres of scholarly publications such as peer-reviewed journal articles and authored or edited books rather than secondary sources or long lists of illustrative references.

  • For source citations in the body text, tables, and legends, use Arabic numerals as superscripts in parentheses, after commas and final sentence punctuation.
  • Number references (using Arabic numerals without parentheses) in the order in which they are first cited in the text.
  • Use the reference style of the Uniform Requirements as based largely on the standard adapted by the National Library of Medicine for its databases. Review and compare your article references with published examples of the references to confirm accuracy, for peer-reviewed articles use PubMed.
  • Provide complete data for each reference. For journal articles, this includes the abbreviated journal name, and both the volume and issue numbers or equivalent as per the Uniform Requirements.
  • Include an “available from” note for documents that may not be readily accessible.
  • Cite symposium papers only from published proceedings.
  • When citing an article or book accepted for publication but not yet published, include the title of the journal (or name of the publisher) and the year of expected publication.
  • Include references to unpublished material in the text, not in the references [for example, papers presented orally at a meeting; unpublished work (personal communication and papers in preparation)], and submit a letter of permission from the cited persons to cite such communications. When personal communications are included, cite in the text, within parentheses, the name of the person and the date of communication. Avoid citing these sources unless they provide key information not otherwise available.
  • Obtain written permission of author(s) and publisher(s) to use any previously published materials (figures, tables, or quotations of more than 100 words) and attach as Supplementary files.

Do not use ibid.or op cit.


Briefly, list, using each author’s initials, the contributions each author made in the study development, design, implementation, analysis, and writing.


This part of the manuscript recognizes any non-authors who made substantial contributions to the work, including any advisors, colleagues, or contributors. Authors should obtain permission to acknowledge from all those mentioned in the Acknowledgments.

Acknowledgements also includes details of the Project Funding:

Sources of outside support for research, including funding, equipment, and drugs, must be named in the manuscript. The Conflict of Interest section will include the role(s) of the funding organization, if any, in the collection of data, its analysis and interpretation, and in the right to approve or disapprove publication of the finished manuscript must be described.

Place the following as the last statement in the accepted article: Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 License— In the published article, that statement will be linked to the complete Creative Commons License statement. All articles published in the IJTMB are licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 License (see and

Accordingly, the following conditions apply:

  1. Copyright for articles published in this journal is retained by authors, with first publication rights granted to the journal.
  2. By virtue of their appearance in this open access journal, articles are free to use, with proper attribution, in educational and other non-commercial settings.
  3. Derivative works are not allowed in that a user may not alter, transform, or add additional content to an article published in this journal.



All tables should be submitted as one supplementary word processor document, not as graphics or picture files. Each table should be centered and numbered consecutively on a separate page. Create the table using the tools in the word processor. Do not embed tables created in spreadsheets or other software packages. Each table should be numbered in sequence using Arabic numerals (e.g., Table 1, 2, 3, etc.) Tables should have a title that summarizes the whole table, maximum 15 words. Titles and text should use double-spaced 10-point font. Short titles should be centered above the table. Longer titles should have margins that match the table width. Use horizontal lines in tables to delimit the top and bottom of the table and column headings. Use vertical lines to delimit the left and right borders. Do not otherwise use internal horizontal or vertical lines. Each column should be provided with a brief explanatory heading, with units of measure clearly indicated. Where appropriate, tables should display confidence intervals, relevant statistical measures of variation, and effect sizes to augment the reported test statistic p values. Detailed explanations or table footnotes should be typed directly beneath the table. Footnotes to a table should be indicated by superscript, lowercase letters. Authors are asked to keep each table to a reasonable size; very large tables packed with data simply confuse the reader. Tables containing backup data can be made available to the readers directly from the author. A statement to that effect can be included in the data; the Table must be added at the end of the Table supplementary file for distribution to the reviewers. Data should not be reproduced in both tables and figures. Tables (along with their footnotes or captions) should be completely intelligible without reference to the text.


Each illustration should be submitted as a separate supplementary file. Files should be titled and numbered consecutively as they are referenced in the manuscript. Illustrations should be professionally drawn or photographed and should be as self-explanatory as possible. Previously published illustrations must acknowledge the original source, and the submission must include a written statement of permission to use the illustration from the copyright holder, unless such statement is not legally required (e.g., illustrations in the public domain). Signed statements of consent must also be submitted when photographs of potentially identifiable persons are used. Monochrome images should be saved in grayscale mode; color images should be RGB. The print size of a figure should be commensurate with the amount and value of the information conveyed by the figure. Letters, numbers, or symbols on the illustrations should be clear and consistent, and of reasonable size for legibility when scaled to final print size. Figure Titles and Legends are submitted separately (see next section). Only single layer images are acceptable; this is to prevent skewing if the images need to be resized. All images MUST be at or above intended display size, with the following image resolutions: Line Art 800 dpi, Combination (Line Art + Halftone) 600 dpi, Halftone 300 dpi. See the Image quality specifications chart for details. Image files also must be cropped as close to the actual image as possible. Tif and eps files are the most desirable form for printing and archiving, though pdf, jpg, or gif can be accepted if high resolution is maintained, no compression applied. 72 dpi/screen resolution images are not acceptable.


All figure titles and legends should be submitted as one supplementary word processor document. Each title should be centered and numbered consecutively on a separate page. The abbreviation “Fig.” for figure should appear first followed by the figure number and a period. A short title of the figure follows the figure number. If not embedded within the figure, a detailed legend may follow the figure title, with a maximum length of 300 words. When symbols, arrows, numbers, or letters are used to identify part of the illustrations, each should be explained clearly in the legend. The legends should permit the figures to be understood without reference to the text. If the figure has been previously published, the author should include a credit line for the figure in this file. In addition, the author should attach a permission letter as a Supplementary file to the submission.



Use the International System of Units (SI) for units of measurement, such as length, weight, or volume, throughout the manuscript. If you indicate units other than the SI units, they may be shown in parentheses after the SI unit (e.g., 30.48 cm (1 foot)). Do not explain abbreviations for units of measurement (e.g., 3mL, not 3 milliliters (mL)) or standard scientific symbols (Na, not sodium (Na)). The full term for which an abbreviation stands should precede its first use in the text unless it is a standard unit of measurement. Do not use abbreviations in the title, or abbreviations that have other standardized use.


As an international journal, for the first reference to a place, please include the country name as well as the city or province/state designations (as relevant). For example, either of the following are acceptable: We recruited participants in the city of Oaxaca, Mexico... or We recruited participants in the state of Oaxaca, Mexico...