Evidence Informed Practice is the practice of massage using the best available research combined with the art of clinical experience.
Evidence-based medicine was defined by Sackett et al. as the following: “Evidence based medicine is the conscientious, explicit, and judicious use of current best evidence in making decisions about the care of individual patients. The practice of evidence based medicine means integrating individual clinical expertise with the best avail-able external clinical evidence from systematic research. By individual clinical expertise we mean the proficiency and judgment that individual clinicians acquire through clinical experience and clinical practice.
Since we have little solid evidence, the best we have in the massage profession is evidence informed practice. The terms evidence based and evidence informed are often used interchangeably when they are actually two different things.
Copyright 2013, Northwestern Health Sciences University. Created for the CAM Research Education Partnership Project through funding from the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (grant number R-25AT003582)
What do we mean by “Evidence Informed Practice”?
There are many terms that are synonymous with evidence informed practice, including evidence based medicine, evidence based practice, and evidence informed decision making. Through focus groups with students, faculty, administrators, and alumni of Northwestern,the term “evidence informed practice”was selected for most closely reflecting our philosophy at Northwestern:
Evidence: high quality research is the most reliable, least biased way of “knowing”
Informed: clinical decisions are rarely dictated by evidence; rather, evidence is a tool that can guide a clinician to better decision making
Practice: the art of clinical care is the skilled judgment of a clinician to consider a variety of factors when determining a patients’ course of care Evidence informed practice is foundational to sound judgment in clinical decision making.
The Massage Therapy Foundation claims that we do have enough good research to call it evidence based massage.
Until recently, this leg of our evidence-informed stool has been spindly at best; the research available about massage therapy was not extensive. But that has changed, and it is now possible to find peer-reviewed case reports, preliminary studies, and even clinical trials and systematic reviews about massage therapy in many contexts, from cancer to chronic pain to scar tissue from burns.
The Evidence in Question
Many things have been taught in massage school that were mainly based on tradition and/or lack of research/evidence. We now have more evidence (research) but there is still clinical practice that shows you the results.
Are toxins released during massage?
Does massage increase circulation?
Does massage increase cortisol?
Is massage in the first trimester of pregnancy OK?
Is triggerpoint therapy a valid method?
Can we really stretch or release fascia?
Is reflexology a legitimate practice?
Is Reiki a sound practice?
Is there enough evidence that shows how and why massage works?
Is cupping an evidence based method?
Evidence We Have
Massage therapy for Headaches
Massage therapy for Pain. Foot Pain, Heel Pain, Hip Back, Back Pain, Neck Pain, Shoulder Pain, hand pain, knee pain etc
Massage therapy for Injury rehabilitation
Massage for Stress, anxiety and depression
Massage therapy for Cancer Patients
Massage for Fibromyalgia
Massage for Arthritis