Use of Practice-Based Research Networks in Massage Therapy Research

  • Samantha Zabel Indiana University School of Health and Human Sciences
  • Niki Munk Indiana University School of Health and Human Sciences; Australian Research Centre in Complementary and Integrative Medicine (ARCCIM); University of Technology Sydney; Southern Cross University
Keywords: PBRN, MassageNet, PRACI, real-world care, Massage Therapy Foundation


Massage therapy is a profession, not simply an intervention, and pathways are needed to connect all key massage therapy profession components—clinicians, patient/clients, and the work—to the scholarship and research that describes, investigates, and shapes practice. While the volume of massage-related research has grown over the past few decades, much of the growing massage evidence base is not reflective of real-world massage therapy, nor is research typically conducted through the clinical lens of the massage therapy discipline. This situation reflects the unfortunate disconnect between massage therapy research and massage therapy practice, while magnifying a key research infrastructure deficiency within the massage therapy discipline: the who and where research is conducted is disconnected from the who and where massage therapy is practiced. Practice-based research networks (PBRNs) are a staple of primary care and other health professions research reflecting real life, discipline-focused practice that seeks to address the needs of the discipline’s practitioners and patients. The PBRN model fits well with the directional need of massage therapy research. This paper presents a commentary on the use of PBRNs in massage therapy research, and the current state of PBRN research within the field of massage therapy, namely the recently launched MassageNet PBRN.

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How to Cite
Samantha Zabel, & Munk, N. (2024). Use of Practice-Based Research Networks in Massage Therapy Research. International Journal of Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork Research Education &Amp; Practice, 17(1), 43–49.