5 Campuses + Distance Learning, 218 Courses, 33 Subjects
Connect»
Follow us on TwitterLike us on FacebookVisit us on iTunesUSee what we've been up to on Flickr

Phone us on  0800 4 0 FEES (0800 4 0 3337) 0800 4 0 FEES  (0800 4 0 3337)
outside NZ +64 3 211 2699

Phone us on  0800 4 0 FEES (0800 4 0 3337) +64 3 214 4977  Email us at info@sit.ac.nzinfo@sit.ac.nz

Welcome to the NZ Massage Therapy Research Centre

The NZ Massage Therapy Research Centre (NZMTRC) was established in 2009 to foster massage therapy research in New Zealand. As a hub for massage therapy research, the NZMTRC aims to: promote massage therapy research and teaching across the wider massage community and provide access to New Zealand based massage therapy research findings.

The centre will:

  • facilitate massage research networks within NZ by linking researchers, academic staff, clinicians, students and industry associates.
  • promote massage therapy research and research informed education, and through collaboration with key research partners; and
  • contribute to massage therapy research nationally and internationally

Research topics include:

  • Massage education
  • Outcomes and outcome measurement in massage therapy
  • Professionalism, professionalisation, and the massage therapy profession
  • Mirimiri and massage therapy: historical and contemporary perspectives
  • Massage therapy culture of care
  • Case study research for massage therapy

Research, Publications & Resources

Current Projects

2016 BTSM Year 3 Research Projects

Four studies were completed by year 3 BTSM students in 2016.

 

Are Their Needs Being Met? What do New Zealand bachelor degree qualified massage therapists require from a professional association?

Authors: Hollebon , G. & Smith, J. (2016)

This study provides some preliminary results of how Massage New Zealand (MNZ) may be meeting some bachelor degree qualified (BDQ) massage therapists' needs in New Zealand (NZ) by providing a professional identity and support.

View Poster

 

Horse Shoes Could Be Your Shoes. How to become an equine massage therapist

Authors: Dunn, R. & Smith, J. (2016)

Equine massage therapy is being utilised as a form of complementary alternative veterinary medicine (CAVM) within New Zealand 1,2 and it is believed that the prevalence of equine massage is increasing compared to past years 3.  “The use of touch, massage, or manipulation of painful articulations or tense muscles is arguably one of the oldest and most universally accepted forms of therapy to relieve pain and suffering” 4.  Massage techniques have been developed for the treatment of musculoskeletal dysfunctions and disorders in humans and have been transferred for the use in horses as a part of CAVM.  So the research question was asked; how do you become an equine massage therapist (EMT) within New Zealand

View Poster

 

Touch Deprivation and Mental Health: Severity of mental health issues is associated with stronger negative perceptions of lack of interpersonal touch.

Author: Brett, E. 

The goal of this project was to explore the links between mental wellbeing and perceptions of lack of interpersonal touch. A review of the literature highlighted the importance of touch to mental and physical wellbeing.

View Poster

 

What opportunities are available for degree qualified massage therapists within the New Zealand wellness industry?

Author: Parangi, J & Smith, J. 

Within New Zealand, the practice of massage therapy for health and wellness is part of the growing CAM industry and is a popular treatment for a wide range of health conditions. A 2013 study of Bachelor of Therapeutic and Sports Massage (BTSM) graduates indicated many were working within multidisciplinary or wellness settlings. These ranged from working within multidisciplinary clinics, alongside a chiropractor or osteopath, to integrating additional CAM modalities alongside massage therapy within a spa environment. The aim of this research project was to explore further potential opportunities for degree qualified massage therapists within the New Zealand wellness industry, to investigate potential wellness employers perceptions of massage, and the future of massage within this paradigm.

View Poster

Massage Therapy Education

Aromatherapy Awareness in Massage Therapy

Authors: Leung-Connolly, M. & Smith, J. (2015)

History has shown that aromatherapy and essential oils were used in the ancient practice of herbalism forming the background to today’s current practices. Essential oils today are utilised in: the manufacturing process of Pharmaceuticals, nursing and geriatric facilities, health professional practices such as dentists and homeopathic practices, homemade products, and in the application of oils and waxes in sports and therapeutic massage.

View Poster

 

Perceptions of Degree-based Education for Massage Therapists

Author: Donna Smith

Format: PhD Thesis supervised by University of Otago

This research aims to expand the scope of the earlier study (Smith, Smith, & Spronken-Smith, 2010) and allow more in-depth exploration of the benefits, barriers and attitudes to degree-based education within the massage therapy industry in New Zealand. Perceptions of a range of massage industry stakeholders (i.e. massage therapy educators, massage therapists (currently practicing) and massage therapy students enrolled in New Zealand Certificate, Diploma or Degree programmes in massage therapy) will be examined.

View Thesis

 

Perceptions, benefits and barriers to Bachelor’s degree-based education for massage therapy: PhD thesis survey findings 

 

Career Opportunities for BTSM Graduates in Invercargill

Authors: Bean, E. & Smith, D. (2015)

The aim of this study was to gain an understanding of employment opportunities in the Invercargill region for graduates of the Bachelor of Therapeutic and Sports Massage (BTSM) programme.

View Poster

 

Pathology: what do ’we’ really need to know?

Authors: Shute, N. & Smith, J. (2014)

The aim of this pilot study was to understand the perceptions of practicing massage therapists in regards to essential pathology knowledge.

 

New Zealand Massage Practitioners Perceptions of and Barriers to Degree Based Massage Education

Author: Donna Smith

The aim of this study was to determine the perceptions of the benefits and barriers to degree-based massage education. The project used a qualitative approach with semi-structured interviews with three practicing, certificate or diploma qualified massage therapists. Perceived benefits of degree-based massage education were increased capability, research knowledge, job opportunities, and credibility. Participants identified four significant barriers to participating in further or higher education: a nonessential pursuit; time restraints; family considerations; and financial barriers. The view that a massage degree was non-essential, and that being forced by their professional body to undertake a degree qualification would meet with strong resistance, needs to be addressed by education providers and members of the massage therapy community if the profession is to advance as a health care modality.

 

SITJAR Special Massage Edition: A massage degree and beyond: the journey of BTSM graduates 2004-2013

Authors: BTSM year 3 students (2013)

Access journal (Southern Institute of Technology Journal of Applied Research)

 

2013: Celebrating ten years of massage therapy bachelor’s degree graduates at SIT

Authors: BTSM year 3 students (2013)

In December 2013 the 10th group of students will be graduating from the Bachelor of Therapeutic and Sports Massage (BTSM) programme at SIT. To help us celebrate all of our graduates over the last 10 years, this year's third year BTSM students completed a research project exploring the outcomes of a BTSM education from a graduate’s perspective. This project investigated a number of topics such as: practice patterns, employment opportunities, career paths, and the relevance of the BTSM.

View overview document (195 KB)

View editorial (within SITJAR Special Massage Edition)

 

Evaluating degree-based education for massage therapy: a survey of Southern Institute of Technology Bachelor of Therapeutic and Sports Massage graduates 2004-2013

Authors: Smith, D., Brown, E., Cunliffe, C., de Groot, L., Dimmock, C., Harris, P., Hewitson, B., Flannery, A., Jackson, C., Lock, S., Marshall, S., McCulloch, B., Roy, A., Strickett, H., Symon, B., & Smith, J. (2013)

Degree-based education for massage therapy is relatively recent. The Bachelor of Therapeutic and Sports Massage (BTSM) was the first massage degree in the Southern Hemisphere and was implemented in 2002 at Southern Institute of Technology (SIT). December 2013 marks the tenth cohort of graduates. The aim of this study was to review the outcomes from a BTSM education from a graduate’s perspective. Issues examined were: the BTSM curriculum and benefits of degree level education, their employment journey, clinical practice patterns, and their satisfaction with their massage career.

View article (within SITJAR Special Massage Edition)

 

A Massage Career & Beyond: Methods & Learning (Part 1)

Authors: BTSM year 3 students (2013)

View poster (923 KB)

 

A Massage Career & Beyond: Practice Patterns (Part 2)

Authors: BTSM year 3 students (2013)

View poster (430 KB)

 

A Massage Career & Beyond: Evaluating the BTSM curriculum (Part 3)

Authors: BTSM year 3 students (2013)

View poster (946 KB)

 

A Massage Career & Beyond: Career Aspects (Part 4)

Authors: BTSM year 3 students (2013)

View poster (608 KB)

 

Outcomes Research Project: Certificate in Relaxation Massage at Bay of Plenty Polytechnic

Author: Pip Charlton (2013)

The main aims of this research were to identify the extent of soft outcomes, the value placed on the outcomes by graduates, the extent to which such outcomes were a result of being on the programme and whether graduates felt they were supported sufficiently while studying.

View findings (332 KB)

 

Becoming an evidence based profession

Author: Smith, J. (2010)

Presentation: National Conference panel discussion - MNZ Conference (Christchurch, NZ)

 

Current massage therapy research: highlighting the New Zealand context

Authors: Smith, J. & Smith, D. (2010)

Presentation: National Conference Platform Presentation - MNZ Conference (Christchurch, NZ)

 

“What’s in it for me?” Massage practitioners’ perceptions of a degree qualification: a pilot study

Authors: Smith, D., Smith, J. & Spronken-Smith, R. (2010)

Publication: Journal article (SITJAR)

Massage therapy is among the many growing complementary and alternative medicine modalities within New Zealand. Educational standards are unregulated and qualifications include certificates, diplomas and more recently a three-year Bachelors Degree in Massage Therapy. The aim of this study was to determine the perceptions of the benefits and barriers to degree-based massage education. Issues examined were: purposes of degree-based education; perceived benefits of degree-based massage education; participant’s past education in massage therapy; current educational needs; and barriers to accessing degree-based massage education. The project used a qualitative approach with semi-structured interviews with three practicing, certificate or diploma qualified massage therapists. Perceived benefits of degree-based massage education were increased capability, research knowledge, job opportunities, and credibility. Participants identified four significant barriers to participating in further or higher education: a nonessential pursuit; time restraints; family considerations; and financial barriers. The view that a massage degree was non-essential, and that being forced by their professional body to undertake a degree qualification would meet with strong resistance, needs to be addressed by education providers and members of the massage therapy community if the profession is to advance as a health care modality.

View article

 

Promoting massage therapy research in New Zealand

Authors: Smith, J. & Smith, D. (2010)

Publication: International conference poster presentation - Highlighting Massage Therapy in Complementary and Integrative Medicine Research (Seattle, USA)

In preparation for the practice of massage therapy in tomorrow’s workplace, baccalaureate degree based education for massage practitioners (i.e. BTSM) was implemented at Southern Institute of Technology (SIT) in 2002. As well as providing quality massage therapy education, the BTSM has been nurturing research literate students, who are able to participate in entry level research in their 3rd year of study. Through valuing research and research-informed education, the BTSM has provided an avenue for publically demonstrating the role and value of research for the massage therapy profession. The BTSM has also provided a vehicle for change and is now leading the way in fostering a community of research practice. As a result, the New Zealand Massage Therapy Research Centre (NZMTRC) at SIT was established in 2009. By positioning the NZMTRC within an educational institution’s framework, a research infrastructure (e.g. ethics, funding, supervision, resources) is provided. In the spirit of collaboration, the NZMTRC is a hub for researchers, academic staff, clinicians, students, and industry associates for networking, sharing of research ideas, undertaking projects, dissemination of findings, and research education.

View poster (4839 KB)

 

Themes in the Sports Massage Literature From 1900-2008: A document analysis

Authors: Wilson, K., Giles, K. & Smith, D. (2009)

Sports massage has rapidly become a popular choice of therapy for athletes, people with injuries, and the general population. But what is sports massage, and how has it been portrayed in literature since 1900? This project investigates the common themes related to sports massage in literature published between 1900 and 2008.

View poster (223 KB)

 

The Perceptions and Barriers to Degree Based Education for Massage Therapists in NZ

Author: Smith, D. (2008)

Presentation: Platform Presentation - Spotlight on Teaching, University of Otago (Dunedin, NZ)

 

Building an ethos of scholarship in massage therapy: strategies for fostering learning within an emerging health care profession

Authors: Smith, J. & Smith, D. (2008)

Presentation: Platform Presentation - Spotlight on Tertiary Teaching and Learning: Colloquium for the Southern Region, (Dunedin, NZ)

In 1913, the Otago Medical School established the School of Massage and offered an 18-month Certificate in Massage. This School has evolved into the current School of Physiotherapy, which is recognised as an international leader in physiotherapy education. Today, massage therapy has developed as a specific complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) health service, distinct from physiotherapy, and is one of the fastest growing areas of this sector of the health industry. Mirroring physiotherapy and other health professions, the educational requirements for massage therapy are also increasing. In December 2008, Southern Institute of Technology will award a Bachelor of Therapeutic and Sports Massage (BTSM) to its 5th cohort of graduates.

However, with resistance to higher education, a reculturing is required to establish knowledge as a core value together with skills (technical and personal) and experience. Learning and knowledge sharing within the BTSM degree and beyond needs to be deliberately cultivated and sustained to generate a professional learning community and increase academic engagement and performance. This session provides an open forum for participants to exchange experiences or expertise in the evolution and development of professional knowledge and educational programmes. The purpose is to identify meaningful ways to develop attitudes, skills, knowledge and communities (students, teachers, alumni, industry) to foster an ethos of scholarship within an emerging discipline.

 

Career Aspirations of First Year Bachelors Degree Massage Therapy Students

Author: Smith, J. (2006)

Publication: Journal article - New Zealand Journal of Applied Health Education and Practice, 4 (1).

The aim of this study was to determine the career aspirations and perceptions of a career in massage for first year massage therapy students in the Bachelor of Therapeutic and Sports Massage programme at the Southern Institute of Technology, Invercargill.

 

A Reflection on the Nature of Knowledge in the Discipline of Massage Therapy and its Influence on Contemporary Massage Education and Practice

Author: Smith, D. (2006)

Publication: Journal article - New Zealand Journal of Applied Health Education and Practice, 4 (1).

 

A portrait of leadership in education

Author: Smith, J. (2006)

Publication: Journal article - New Zealand Journal of Adult Learning, 34 (1), 69-129.

As an emergent leader in educational practices in the field of massage therapy it has been my grandfather’s leadership role modelling that I look to. His influence has been infused into my many roles as a learner, teacher, innovator, programme developer and implementer in the tertiary education sector. It is his influence, support and sound leadership practices that impel me forward to write about my grandfather’s qualities in leadership. I play a leadership role in my class, my department, my profession, my environment, and to myself. But how do I lead? What is important in leadership? What is my own model of leadership? And what can we learn by viewing the biography of a leader?

This paper portrays part of my journey towards answering these questions. By studying Eric Clark - a real life leader, a pioneer in adult education, and a leader that I know well and admire - a portrait of leadership is painted. Aspects of his leadership style are relevant to adult education today, and form the foundation for a model of leadership that illuminates leadership within relationships, the function of fluidity and the vitality of context.

 

Putting massage back into massage therapy research

Authors: Sullivan, SJ., & Smith, J. (2007)

Presentation: National Conference Platform Presentation - MNZ conference (Wellington, NZ)

 

Showcasing undergraduate degree staff-student research at Southern Institute of Technology

Author: Smith, J. (2012)

View editorial

Massage Therapy Utilisation and Practice Patterns

New Zealand Elite Rugby Union Players Utilisation of Massage Therapy

Authors: Carter, S. & Smith, D. (2015)

The use of massage therapy (MT) within the New Zealand sporting environment has increased extensively in the past decade and now plays an important role within the countries national sport of rugby union particularly for elite level players. While MT is utilised by professional rugby players little is known about how their utilisation and their perceptions of MT and massage therapists.

View Poster

 

You Can Do It Too! Practices of Elite Sports Massage Therapists

Authors: Young, N. & Smith, D. (2015)

Are you an aspiring sports massage therapist? In a largely sporting culture such as NZ, is it your aim to work with the All Blacks or at an Olympic Games? Massage therapy (MT) has been used as a recovery modality for athletes since the days of Hippocrates. Published studies on sports massage discuss the use of massage therapy to treat a range of conditions. They provide insight into MT and delayed onset of muscle soreness and the effects of “pre and post event MT”.

View Poster

 

The Future Role of Chair Massage–therapeutic or relaxation, or both?

Authors: Spelman, S. & Smith, J. (2015)

Purpose: To investigate the CM experiences of Diploma or BTSM qualified massage therapists, and examine their perception whether CM is appropriate for some pathologies.

View Poster

 

Massage Therapy Clients’ Willingness to Participate in a Clinical Health Assessment: The Therapists’ Perspectives

Authors: Matuschke-Fisher, K. & Smith, J. (2015)

With an ever-increasing number of people seeking massage therapy treatment as an alternative or adjunct to general health care, client willingness to participate in a clinical health assessment is an issue massage therapists may encounter.

View Poster

 

Invercargill Based General Practitioners’ Perceptions of Massage Therapy

Authors: Whitaker, R. & Smith, J. (2014)

The purpose of this study was to investigate GP perceptions of massage therapy, the attitudes and barriers to referral, and the role of communication between massage therapists and GPs.

 

Public awareness of massage therapy: knowledge and perceptions

Authors: Bormann, B., McDowell, A. & Smith, J. (2012)

Establish the knowledge and beliefs of the general public about massage therapy.

View report

 

Behavioural indicators of professionalism: massage therapy students’ perceptions

Authors: Senior, T., Yanouzas, G., Jury, N. & Smith, D. (2012)

The aim of this study was to explore Bachelor of Therapeutic and Sports Massage (BTSM) students' perceptions of professional behaviours and the values they hold in relation to professionalism in a massage therapy setting.

View report

 

The Drive for Legitimation of Massage Therapy in New Zealand

Authors: Smith, D., Smith, J., Baxter, G., & Spronken-Smith, R. (2012)

Research into body work based complementary and alternative therapies, such as osteopathy and chiropractic has highlighted barriers and benefits of professionalization for these professions. There has been no examination of the road massage therapy has taken towards legitimation and professionalization. This review article examines the drive by massage therapists for legitimation as health professionals within New Zealand. Massage therapy has an extensive and complex history. Within this history, massage therapy has gone from being part of orthodox medicine and acceptable, to being complementary and marginalized as an industry. In an effort to overcome this position, the massage therapy industry has attempted to gain legitimation by establishing professional associations, defining scopes of practice, lobbying government, and raising education standards. This article also discusses the historical journey of massage therapy, the evolution of massage therapy education in New Zealand, higher education as a means to occupational recognition and control, and the elements of professionalization that may support legitimation and occupational boundary protection for massage therapists.

View publication (International Journal of Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork)

 

Southland based private practice physiotherapists’ perceptions of massage therapy

Authors: Young, C. & Smith, D. (2012)

In Southland it is uncommon for physiotherapists to have an on-site massage therapist. The researchers would like to understand the reasons behind this and learn the degree to which physiotherapists do or do not collaborate with massage therapists.

View poster (2304 KB)

 

Analysis of massage therapy business names: what image do we portray?

Authors: Crosswell, E., Parkes, L., Smith, J. & Smith, D. (2012)

A prior study documented specific characteristics of the business names of massage practices listed in the 2006 NZ Yellow Pages. This study replicates the 2006 study using the 2011 Yellow Pages. Phase two involves finding out from massage therapy business owners what image they think they portray to the public about what services they are offering to the public. Phase three is discovering what perceptions the public have of the business names that were reviewed in phase two.

View poster (634 KB)

 

Massage therapy and Physiotherapy: perceived roles and responsibilities within a sport setting by sports participants

Author: Riley, L. (2012)

The purpose of this research is to discover athlete’s views on the roles and responsibilities of massage therapy and physiotherapy within the sport setting of competitive netball and rugby in the Southland region.

View poster (2179 KB)

 

Career aspirations of 1st and 3rd year BTSM students in 2012

Author: Todd, S. & Smith, J. (2012)

The aim of this study is to investigate the motivations for a career in massage therapy for students in their first and third year in a degree based course.

View poster (1038 KB)

 

What massage treatments are being used by male rugby players in Southland?

Authors: Tapp-Young, N. & Kelly, L. (2012)

Aim: To identify what massage treatments are being used by male rugby players in Southland.

View poster (941 KB)

 

The Traditional Maori Health Practice of Mirimiri. How is it practiced today?

Authors: Blackburn, S. & Smith, J. (2011)

This research project looks at the traditional Maori health practice of Mirimiri. The purpose is find out where mirimiri is practiced, who practices it and how they practice it. The project will investigate the history of Mirimiri as well as contemporary practice in Otago/Southland given that massage therapy is becoming a more popular health care choice by consumers. 

View poster (390 KB)

 

The prevalence and barriers for netball players in Invercargill receiving massage

Authors: Hetherington, J. & Smith, J. (2011)

The purpose of this project is to find out how many netballers in the Invercargill netball club competition receive massage regularly and their reasons for why they choose to or choose not to receive massage regularly.

View poster (1330 KB)

 

A descriptive study of the practice patterns of Massage New Zealand massage therapists

Authors: Smith, J., Sullivan, SJ., & Baxter, GD. (2011)

Publication: Journal article: International Journal of Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork, 4(1): 18–27.

Massage therapy has grown in popularity, yet little is known globally or in New Zealand about massage therapists and their practices. The aims of this study were to describe the practice patterns of trained Massage New Zealand massage therapists in New Zealand private practice, with regard to therapist characteristics; practice modes and settings, and therapy characteristics; referral patterns; and massage therapy as an occupation. A survey questionnaire was mailed to 66 trained massage therapist members of Massage New Zealand who were recruiting massage clients for a concurrent study of massage therapy culture. Most massage therapists were women (83%), NZ European (76%), and holders of a massage diploma qualification (89%). Massage therapy was both a full- (58%) and part-time (42%) occupation, with the practice of massage therapy being the only source of employment for 70% of therapists. Nearly all therapists (94%) practiced massage for more than 40 weeks in the year, providing a median of 16 – 20 hours of direct client care per week. Most massage therapists worked in a “solo practice” (58%) and used a wide and active referral network. Almost all therapists treated musculoskeletal symptoms: the most common client issues or conditions treated were back pain/problem (99%), neck/shoulder pain/problem (99%), headache or migraine (99%), relaxation and stress reduction (96%), and regular recovery or maintenance massage (89%). The most frequent client fee per treatment was NZ$60 per hour in a clinic and NZ$1 per minute at a sports event or in the workplace. Therapeutic massage, relaxation massage, sports massage, and trigger-point therapy were the most common styles of massage therapy offered. Nearly all massage therapists (99%) undertook client assessment; 95% typically provided self-care recommendations; and 32% combined other complementary and alternative medicine therapies with their massage consultations.  This study provides new information about the practice of massage therapy by trained massage therapists. It will help to inform the massage industry and other health care providers, potential funders, and policymakers about the provision of massage therapy in the NZ health care system.

View publication (on National Center for Biotechnology Information website)

 

A survey of massage clients in New Zealand: characteristics of repeat users and visits.

Authors: Smith, J., Sullivan, SJ. & Baxter, GD. (2010)

Publication: International conference poster presentation - Highlighting Massage Therapy in Complementary and Integrative Medicine Research (Seattle, USA)

While the reasons why consumers may choose complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) therapies is well documented, little is known about why clients continue to use massage therapy, often at considerable personal financial cost. The objective of this study was to describe the characteristics of visits and patterns of use by repeat users (clients) of massage therapy services in New Zealand.

View poster (3643 KB)

 

A survey of New Zealand massage therapists: utilisation and practice patterns.

Authors: Smith, J., Sullivan, SJ. & Baxter, GD. (2010)

Publication: International conference poster presentation - Highlighting Massage Therapy in Complementary and Integrative Medicine Research (Seattle, USA)

Within New Zealand, massage therapy has developed as a specific CAM health service, distinct from physiotherapy, and is one of the fastest growing areas of this sector of the health industry. The practice of massage therapy is unregulated; however, Massage New Zealand (MNZ) is a voluntary professional body that requires evidence of a formal massage therapy qualification for membership, represents 250 qualified massage therapists at either a certified (relaxation) or remedial massage therapist level. Despite this growth in the popularity of massage, little is known about the therapists and their practices (operation and approaches).

View poster (2877 KB)

 

The culture of massage therapy: Valued elements and the role of comfort, contact, connection and caring

Authors: Smith, J., Sullivan, SJ., & Baxter, GD. (2009)

Publication: Journal article - Complementary Therapies in Medicine, 17 (4), 181-189.

Objective: To explore the attributes of the therapy encounter valued by repeat users of health-related massage therapy.

 

Massage therapy services for health care: a telephone focus group study of drivers for clients' continued use of services

Authors: Smith, J. M., Sullivan, S. J., & Baxter, G. D. (2009)

Publication: Journal article - Complementary Therapies in Medicine, 17, 281-291.

Objective: To explore opinions of why clients use, value and continue to seek massage therapy as a healthcare option.

 

A snapshot of the practice of massage therapy by MNZ practitioners

Authors: Smith, J., Sullivan, SJ., & Baxter, GD. (2009)

Presentation: National Conference Platform Presentation - MNZ conference (Invercargill, NZ)

This presentation reports on the practice patterns of a selection of MNZ practitioners surveyed in 2008. Professional issues and practice characteristics such as types of massage provided, common modes of practice, referral patterns, and types of client conditions addressed will be outlined.

 

“What do clients value most in our Massage Therapy Services?”

Authors: Smith, J., Sullivan, SJ., & Baxter, GD. (2009)

Presentation: National Conference Platform Presentation - MNZ Conference (Invercargill, NZ)

This session presents views on the valued attributes of our massage therapy services using data collected from MNZ therapists and their clients. Understanding such factors provides insight into the skills, attitudes and practices required of a Massage Therapist in New Zealand.

 

Towards an understanding of the practice of massage therapy in New Zealand

Authors: Smith, J., Sullivan, SJ., & Baxter, GD. (2009)

Publication: Journal article - Journal of the Australian Association of Massage Therapists,7 (3), 26.

Within New Zealand, consumers are now choosing a range of complementary and alternative therapeutic approaches to satisfy their primary healthcare needs1, and massage therapy is a popular treatment choice. During a 12-month period in 2002/3, 9.1 percent of adult New Zealanders reported having visited a massage therapist. So, what is driving the increase in use of massage therapy? What motivates clients to use and return to massage therapy? What is the “caring experience” of the massage therapy client? Is massage therapy just a temporary feel good factor or do results matter? These questions were the foundation for this programme of research. The primary aim of this series of research studies was to investigate why clients use, value, and continue to seek massage therapy as a health care option.

 

Massage therapy services for health needs: drivers, utilisation, culture of care, and practice patterns of massage therapy in New Zealand

Author: Smith, J.M. (2009)

Publication: PhD thesis, University of Otago, NZ. 

The use of massage therapy, a complementary and alternative medicine modality, is widespread and growing.  However, little is known about why consumers choose and continue to use massage therapy, in most cases at their own expense.  In addition, the characteristics of the therapeutic encounter and outcomes that provide satisfaction to the client, and encourage them to return for further treatment are unknown. The purpose of this thesis was to determine why repeat users of massage therapy use and choose massage therapy, and investigate what they value in the therapeutic interaction and outcomes to return to massage therapy.  The primary aim was to investigate: (1) the elements of the therapeutic encounter that are valued by clients and therapists; the importance and influence of comfort, contact, connection, and caring within a massage therapy session; and the importance of health outcomes for massage therapy clients; and (2) explore the drivers for why people continue to seek or reinitiate massage therapy.  As a precursor to this, the utilisation and practice patterns of massage therapy in New Zealand by qualified massage therapists were investigated. 

 

A snapshot: A day in the life of a Massage Therapist at the Olympics

Authors: Young, JW., Cockroft, S. & Smith, J. (2009)

A qualitative small scale research project to investigate the experiences of New Zealand massage therapists who provided massage services at one or more of the last two Olympic Games.

View poster (111 KB)

 

Perceptions of Non-Users of Massage Therapy in Southland

Authors: Dickinson, M., Giles, K. & Smith, D. (2009)

The aim of the project is to investigate the perceptions of non-users of massage therapy within Southland. Their views on massage therapy will be sought on topics such as: why they don’t use massage therapy as a treatment choice, what other health modality instead of massage therapy (if any), and what circumstances may lead them to use massage therapy.

View poster (88 KB)

 

Insight into Massage Therapy Research : Putting Research into Clinical Practice

Author: Smith, J. (2007)

Presentation: National Conference Platform Presentation - MNZ conference (Wellington, NZ)

 

Massage in the Workplace

Authors: Smith, J. & Smith, D. (2006)

Presentation: National Conference Platform Presentation - Funeral Directors National Conference (Invercargill, NZ)

 

Massage Therapy – evidence, approaches and practice trends

Authors: Sullivan, SJ., Smith, J. & Leader, J. (2006)

Presentation: National Conference Platform Presentation - National Conference for NZ Pain Society/Palliative Care (Dunedin, NZ)

 

Contributing factors to client comfort

Authors: Smith, J. & Smith, D. (2006)

The aim of this study was to establish whether a sense of comfort was important to the massage client, and determine the factors that contributed to client comfort within a clinic-based massage therapy session. Participants who were clients of the 2005 Southern Institute of Technology (SIT) Student Massage Clinic completed a 13-item questionnaire. Collectively the exploratory data provided a range of factors that contributed to client comfort within the clinic setting.

View poster (711 KB)

Massage Therapy Professional Issues

Work-related Injury in New Zealand MNZ Massage Therapists

Authors: Chan, T. & Smith, J. (2015)

Studies on work-related injuries to massage therapists are quite limited. However, as far back as 2001, West and Gardner
identified work related musculoskeletal disorders (WRMDs) in the health industry as a key area of concern.

View Poster

 

Is it Time for a Change? Evaluating the Need for Degree Qualified Massage Therapists to be able to Differentiate Themselves in the Market

Authors: Firth, T. & Smith, J. (2015)

Massage therapy is not regulated by the government in NZ, & therefore anyone can ‘set-up-shop’ without any legalised qualifications.1 Although the education for massage therapists can be seen to be evolving,2 a lack of standardised education exists, contributing to a lack of recognition as a legitimate health profession by both the wider health community & the general public. Steps have been taken by the massage industry that signify an aspiration for professional status, such as the development of a professional body & some
standardisation of the qualifications available.

View Poster

 

A conceptual model: stepping towards legitimation for New Zealand massage therapists involved in therapeutic/ clinical rehabilitation massage therapy practice

 

How to build a stronger collective for MNZ: views of members and non-members

 

Invercargill Based General Practitioners’ Perceptions of Massage Therapy

Authors: Whitaker, R. & Smith, J. (2014)

The purpose of this pilot study was to investigate GP perceptions of massage therapy, the attitudes and barriers to referral, and the role of communication between massage therapists and GPs.

 

How is assessment used by massage therapists?

Authors: Tatonga, N. & Smith, J. (2014)

The aim of this pilot study was to determine how assessment was used by massage therapists in clinical practice.

 

Do males have advantages or disadvantages in the massage therapy industry? – Southland male practitioners’ perspectives.

Authors: O’Kane, P. & Smith, J. (2014)

The aim of this pilot study was to examine perceptions of possible gender disparity for males within the massage therapy industry and to gain insight into individual strategies to negotiate such gender related issues.

 

How to build a stronger collective for Massage New Zealand: views of members.

Authors: Toombs, S. & Smith, J. (2014)

The aim of this pilot study was to learn about different strategies for growth of MNZ and to understand what members want from MNZ.

 

How to build a stronger collective for Massage New Zealand: views of non-members.

Authors: Hinch, C. & Smith, J. (2014)

The aim of this pilot study was to explore non-members needs and wants from a professional body and to gain an understanding of why there is a noticeable disinterest in massage therapists to joining the professional association.

 

Massage therapists’ perspectives on the role, benefits and barriers to Massage New Zealand membership.

Authors: Thomson, H. & Smith, J. (2014)

The aim of this pilot study was to describe the perceived role of MNZ, the benefits and barriers to membership, and strategies for going forward by qualified massage therapists who are currently practicing but who are not currently members of MNZ.

 

Complementary and alternative medicine: contemporary trends and issues

Authors: Smith, J., Sullivan, SJ., & Baxter, GD. (2011)

Publication: Journal article - Physical Therapy Reviews, 16 (2), 91-95.

Objectives: To describe the contemporary trends, and outline some of the issues and challenges for the use and development of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM).

 

Behavioral indicators of professionalism: massage therapy students perceptions

Authors: Senior, T., Yanouzas, G., Jury, N. & Smith, D. (2010)

Professionalism is of paramount importance within a health care setting; in massage therapy it may be an important contributing factor to client care. But before professionalism can be measured, professional attitudes and behaviours need to be defined and described. The purpose of this study is to describe BTSM students' perceptions of professional behaviours for a massage therapy setting.

View poster (1034 KB)

 

Public awareness of massage, its modalities and the effectiveness for the treatment of various conditions

Authors: Bormann, B., McDowell, A. & Smith, J. (2010)

The knowledge of the general public about massage seems to be limited.  The aim of this project is to survey the general public to determine their knowledge of massage, the range of massage styles, and the conditions for which massage is used as a treatment option.

View poster (4743 KB)

 

Massage therapy: more than a modality

Authors: Smith, J., Sullivan, SJ., & Baxter, GD. (2010)

Publication: Journal article: New Zealand Journal of Physiotherapy, 38(2), 44-51.

Whilst massage therapy techniques are still used within physiotherapy, massage therapy has developed as a specific complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) health service, distinct from physiotherapy, and is one of the fastest growing areas of this sector of the health industry in the United States.  New Zealand consumers are also choosing a range of complementary and alternative therapeutic approaches, including massage therapy, to satisfy their primary healthcare needs.  This paper discusses the development of massage therapy in New Zealand; explores the approaches and characteristics of massage therapy as a CAM practice; outlines the evidence for massage therapy; and identifies information relevant to the physiotherapist wishing to engage in interprofessional collaboration with a massage therapist.

 

Insight into the massage therapy encounter: a developing model

Authors: Smith, J., Sullivan, SJ., & Baxter, GD. (2010)

Presentation: International Conference Platform Presentation - Highlighting Massage Therapy in Complementary and Integrative Medicine Research. (Seattle, USA)

Massage therapy can be considered as a modality or discipline within the domain of Complementary and Integrative medicine (CIM), and involves the manipulation of soft tissues for therapeutic benefit.  Whilst massage therapy research is still in its infancy, some promising findings on the effectiveness of massage therapy are emerging.  However, little is known internationally about the nature of the massage therapy encounter, or the reasons why the use of massage therapy by the general public is increasing.  The objective of this study was to describe the valued characteristics of the therapeutic encounter and outcomes that encourage repeat users (clients) to return for further treatment.

Massage Therapy Clinical Studies and Outcome Measurement

You’re Breathing…right? The Effectiveness of a MT Protocol for Treating Individuals with Breathing Pattern Disorders

Authors: Philip, J. & Smith, J. (2011)

The purpose of this research will be to evaluate whether a massage therapy treatment protocol is an effective way of treating individuals with breathing pattern disorders. Breathing pattern disorders have a number of follow on effects to a persons’ overall state of wellbeing. The relationship between breathing pattern disorders and musculoskeletal conditions has a huge impact on how our body functions on a day to day basis. Common long term effects of breathing pattern disorders include muscle tension, spasm, and fatigue, burning in the shoulders, neck and back, lower back pain, numbness and pins and needles in the hands, and cold hands and feet. These conditions are commonly seen in individuals who frequent a massage clinic. This project adopts a case series approach to the research question.

View poster (1576 KB)

 

The effect of massage on flexibility, comfort, efficiency, and aerodynamic performance in time trial cycling: a single case study

Authors: Tan, D & Smith, J. (2009)

Publication: Journal article - SIT Journal of Applied Research

The purpose of this study was to investigate the effect of a six week massage intervention on an athlete’s flexibility, comfort and performance in time trial cycling. A single case study design was used. Pre-intervention and post-intervention measures were obtained in a high and low time trial riding position over a 3000 meter distance. Flexibility was measured with a sit and reach test. The athlete was massaged twice a week using a hamstring and calf protocol over a period of six weeks. The athlete did not engage in hamstring, calf or low back stretching and trained in a normal road riding position for the duration of the intervention. Quicker times were reported in the post massage intervention time trial tests of both high and low riding positions. The lower position with its improved aerodynamics was the fastest position in both pre and post massage intervention. The sit and reach testing showed an overall increase in reach of 77 mm. Massage intervention improved flexibility and this allowed the athlete to be both comfortable and efficient in the lower time trial position and improved cycling performance with no post exercise muscle soreness.

View article

 

Adherence to homecare recommendations: a study of four CAM clinics

Authors: Hough, J., Carey, C. & Smith, J. (2009)

The aim of this research is to determine the level of patient adherence to homecare exercises /recommendations in four practices of different complementary health modalities and to determine whether health care practitioners can do more to encourage adherence to the home care programmes they set for clients.

View poster (231 KB)

 

Outcomes assessment and treatment justification

Author: Smith, J. (2008)

Presentation: Conference Platform Presentation - Soft Tissue Therapies Conference (Wollongong, Australia)

The terms “outcome, or result, ending, product, conclusion or effect” are used to demonstrate accountability, appropriateness and productivity in a range of settings including health care. Massage therapy practitioners, as do all health care service providers, need to demonstrate the effectiveness of their interventions, particularly if they are seeking reimbursement from third parties. This session will introduce core concepts underpinning the selection and use of outcome measures in massage therapy, and will explore which outcomes may be more relevant for massage therapy. In addition, this session will provide a forum for the development of a recognized set of outcomes which will characterize our profession in the future.

 

The effect of massage on flexibility, comfort, efficiency and aerodynamic performance in time trial cycling: a case study

Authors: Tan, D. & Smith, J. (2008)

The purpose of this study was to investigate the effect of a six week massage intervention on an athlete’s flexibility, comfort and performance in time trial cycling.

View poster (6324 KB)

 

Perceived optimal time for pre-event massage for competitive short-distance swimmers

Authors: BTSM 2008 student project

Evidence is lacking regarding the optimal timing for pre-event massage for competitive swimmers. To address this lack of evidence, an experiment involving six professional was undertaken. A nine minute pre-event massage was given to each swimmer on three separate occasions at three different times prior to their race (30, 45 and 60 minutes). A pre-event massage 45 minute prior to the event was clearly the preferred timeframe for these swimmers.

 

Massage Therapy and Depression: Client perceptions of effectiveness

Authors: BTSM 2008 student project

The purpose of this study was to see if massage therapy can be effectively used as a complementary therapy in the treatment for people suffering from depression. A qualitative approach was used. Four participants were interviewed using a semi-structured, open-ended interview process. Participants perceived that massage therapy had a positive effect on their depression, either directly or indirectly. Massage therapy benefited these participants though positive touch (e.g., "...Being massaged brings me back into my body" and"...It's saying I am good enough"), stress relief (e.g., "...It improves you mentally, physically and emotionally... helps relief stress" and "... just gives you a pick me up"), and relaxation.

 

Outcome measurement tools in massage therapy research

Authors: Shine, T. & Smith, J. (2012)

The purpose of this study is to identify and analyse the outcome measures used in published massage therapy case reports.

View poster (863 KB)

 

How can we demonstrate that massage therapy interventions are valuable and of use? : A challenge for our profession

Authors: Smith, J. & Smith, D. (2007)

Presentation: National Conference Platform Presentation - MNZ conference (Wellington, NZ)

The terms “outcome, or result, ending, product, conclusion or effect” are used to demonstrate accountability, appropriateness and productivity in a range of settings including health care. Massage therapy practitioners, as health care service providers, need to demonstrate effective measurement of their interventions, not only as a prerequisite to providing appropriate interventions to the clients that we serve, but also for demonstration of quality services, accountability, reimbursement for services, and continual performance improvement. But how do we define massage therapy “outcomes” and how should we measure them? Within an interactive session, we will explore:

  • What outcomes are relevant for massage therapy?
  • What outcomes carry the greatest importance to massage therapy clients?
  • What outcomes do we measure?

Finally, we ask what outcomes should we report in order for others to be able to better evaluate the effectiveness of massage therapy as a health care option? This session will provide Therapists with an overview of the challenges of outcome measurement and begin the process of developing a recognised set of measures which will characterise our profession in the future

General

Swedish Massage for the Equine Athlete

Authors: McNaughton, S. & Smith, J. (2011)

Aim: To test a treatment protocol that uses Swedish Massage techniques to address restricted range of motion in a horse hindquarters.

View poster (496 KB)

 

Telephone focus groups in physiotherapy research: potential uses and recommendations

Authors: Smith, J. M., Sullivan, S. J., & Baxter, G. D. (2009)

Publication: Journal article - Physiotherapy Theory and Practice, 25(4), 241-256.

The use of telephone focus groups as a research approach within health-related qualitative studies is emerging as a method of choice for some researchers. A variety of research applications of the telephone focus group method have been used within health settings over the last 10 years and have typically investigated specific health conditions, training needs, and resource development, as well as health practices and knowledge; these are all issues and contexts applicable to physiotherapy and rehabilitation research. The aim of this review is to explore the use of the telephone focus group methodology, update knowledge on its use in disciplines relevant to physiotherapy, and provide potential users with key information to conduct a telephone focus group. We advocate incorporating recent advances in telephone technology into focus group methodology for physiotherapy and rehabilitation studies, which may benefit from wider geographical representation, increased participation rates, and discussion of sensitive issues. We suggest that the telephone focus group could become a practical and valuable methodology for physiotherapy and rehabilitation researchers.

 

Letter to the Editor

Authors: Jo Smith and Donna Smith (2009)

Publication: Journal - letter to the editor - International Journal of Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork, 2(3), p.31.

View journal

 

What happened in Atlanta?

Authors: Smith, J. & Smith, D. (2006)

Presentation: National Conference Platform Presentation - Massage Symposium (Invercargill, NZ)

pose of this study was to investigate the effect of a six week massage intervention on an athlete’s flexibility, comfort and performance in time trial cycling. A single case study design was used. Pre-intervention and post-intervention measures were obtained in a high and low time trial riding position over a 3000 meter distance. Flexibility was measured with a sit and reach test. The athlete was massaged twice a week using a hamstring and calf protocol over a period of six weeks. The athlete did not engage in hamstring, calf or low back stretching and trained in a normal road riding position for the duration of the intervention. Quicker times were reported in the post massage intervention time trial tests of both high and low riding positions. The lower position with its improved aerodynamics was the fastest position in both pre and post massage intervention. The sit and reach testing showed an overall increase in reach of 77 mm. Massage intervention improved flexibility and this allowed the athlete to be both comfortable and efficient in the lower time trial position and improved cycling performance with no post exercise muscle soreness.

View article

Resources and Related Links

Staff Profile: Dr Jo Smith

Jo is the Programme Manager for Years 2 & 3 of the Bachelor of Therapeutic and Sports Massage (BTSM) and co-leads the New Zealand Massage Therapy Research Centre. Having developed the first Bachelor’s degree in massage therapy in the Southern hemisphere, she is now focusing on developing a culture of research within the BTSM and the New Zealand massage industry.

Her PhD research focused on the culture of care and practice patterns within New Zealand and she has also carried out research into outcomes, professionalization and educational issues pertinent to massage therapy. Prior to becoming a massage educator and researcher, Jo worked as a massage therapist and physiotherapist.

Contact: 
Phone: +64 3 211 2699 ext 8803 
Email: jo.smith@sit.ac.nz

Staff Profile: Dr Donna Smith

Donna is the Programme manager for Year 1 of the Bachelor of Therapeutic and Sports Massage (BTSM), the Certificate in Massage Therapy and co-leads the New Zealand Massage Therapy Research Centre. Donna also teaches on the Bachelor of Therapeutic and Sports Massage programme.

Having completed a Bachelor of Therapeutic and Sports Massage and a Post Graduate Diploma in Tertiary Teaching, her recent research interests have focused on professionalism and perceptions of and barriers to degree-based massage therapy education.

Donna is currently undertaking her PhD at Otago University.

Contact Details: 
Phone: +64 3 2112699 ext 8832
Email: donna.smith@sit.ac.nz

NZMTRC News

14
Jan
Dr. Jo Smith has been announced as a keynote speaker at the International Massage Therapy Research Conference (IMTRC) in Seattle, May 12-15, 2016.

Partners

The Centre is interested in exploring mutually beneficial partnerships in massage therapy research and research informed education and clinical practice. Please contact us if you are interested in being involved.

2013: Celebrating 10 years of BTSM

In 2002, the first Bachelor’s degree for massage therapists in the Southern Hemisphere was launched at the Southern Institute of Technology. At the time the goals were to offer a course of study that would develop professional and competent soft tissue/massage therapists, who were reflective, research literate, independent learners and credible health professionals. A ten year anniversary offers an ideal opportunity to reflect on the achievements and significant events over that time. This SITJAR special edition recognises and celebrates the graduates of the BTSM. Snapshots (graduate profiles) and stories feature alongside an analysis of the opportunities and outcomes that higher education has offered BTSM graduates.

View SITJAR Special Massage Edition