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MTF Volunteer Recently Published Research on Mindful Awareness in Body-oriented Therapy

MTF volunteer, Cynthia Price, PhD MA LMT, recently published two research articles on the promising study results of an adjunctive somatic therapy for women’s substance use disorder treatment.  Dr. Price’s research is focused on the study of Mindful Awareness in Body-oriented Therapy (MABT), a touch-based protocol that she developed to facilitate embodiment and somatically-based tools for self-care. The first article addresses the implementation of MABT in community treatment and acceptability to participants and clinic staff (see Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, articles in press).  The second article presents the change in health outcomes compared to the control comparison of usual care (see Journal of Substance Use Disorder Treatment, articles  in press).

Other interests of Dr. Price include conceptual and scale development in the area of body and interoceptive awareness. She is also committed to community-based research to examine intervention implementation within the context of real-life situations. For example, she is currently funded to examine the massage experience and characteristics of Somali women immigrants attending a community massage program.  In the past, she  received an MTF Community Service Grant to enhance the education and outreach to massage therapists working with homeless and unemployed Seattle residents.

Dr. Price was in private practice as a massage and body-oriented therapist for 20 years before becoming a bodywork researcher. She is the Chair of the MTF’s Research Grant Review Committee, is on the MTF’s Research Conference Planning Committee, and she will be speaking at the 2013 International Massage Therapy Research Conference (IMTRC) about the underlying mechanisms of massage (i.e., factors that influence how massage works).


Introducing the MTF Education Toolbar: Free Resources at Your Fingertips

Toolbar DiagramThis message goes out to all the teachers, mentors, collaborators, and information-purveyors in the world of massage and bodywork. We are pleased to unveil a powerful new tool that we hope will support your work on a daily basis -- the MTF Education Toolbar (beta)!

It's a streamlined compendium of all the most useful resources across the web, including search engines, study tools, image libraries, research info, and much more. The Education Toolbar installs easily on most web browsers, updates automatically, and -- most excitingly -- it's completely free. Learn more and download it now.

You can use the Toolbar to enrich your lesson plans with great visuals and real-time literature searches. You can help your students excel with review tools and mobile apps, or your can brush up on your own research literacy. Whether you're teaching in a massage licensing curriculum, or offering professional workshops, or just supporting your clients with high-quality information, the Education Toolbar was made for you.

The Massage Therapy Foundation is not just about securing a better future for the massage profession. We believe that we can support you directly in those situations where fast information is most scarce -- the classroom and the treatment room. With the Education Toolbar installed, you can access exactly what you need without bouncing aimlessly around the web.

Installing the toolbar

To Install the MTF Education Toolbar, click here and follow the instructions, or click the image below.

We will continue to update the Toolbar as new resources become available, and we hope that you'll let us know if you find something cool that belongs in there! In the meantime, check this thing out, share it with your colleagues, and remember: the MTF has your back!

Learn More about the Education Toolbar

Participate in a free webinar for more in-depth information on how the MTF Education Toolbar can work for you. On May 10, 2012, the American Massage Therapy Association is hosting a free webinar, presented by MTF Trustee Michael Hamm. Register for “The Education Toolbar: A Classroom and Clinic Survival Guide (Webinar with the Massage Therapy Foundation)" through this link:

Whether or not you make the webinar on May 10, we also have two brief instructional videos on the Toolbar. Watch “Installing the MTF Education Toolbar” to see how easy it is to install on your web browser:

Next, watch “Using the MTF Education Toolbar” for a short explanation on the different tools available once the Toolbar is installed.

Wall Street Journal Covers the Benefits of Massage Research

massageThe Wall Street Journal recently published an article about research and the medical benefits of massage therapy. The article also mentions the Massage Therapy Foundation's research grants. Read the full article here.

Image courtesy of Tracy Walton


Announcing the Winners of the MTF's 2011 Practitioner Case Report Contest

We are pleased to announce the winners of the 2011 Practitioner Case Report Contest. This year’s Grand Prize Gold Award has been awarded to Meghan Thomason of Menomonie,Wisconsin. Her winning case report was titled “Massage Therapy for Lyme Disease.” As the first place winner, Thomason will receive a $2,500 cash award contingent upon undergoing the peer review process with a scientific publication, an invitation to present her paper and a poster at the 2012 AMTA National Convention, and a $1,000 stipend to be used toward travel to the Convention.

Of the MTF’s Case Report Contest, Thomason said, "Research is a strong passion of mine, and I was so excited to see it being promoted among practitioners. That is why I conducted a case study to be a part of this contest. Research is so important, for it answers the questions that we all have about our own practices… I didn't know if massage would help my client with Lyme disease, but I was excited to find out the answer." Thomason’s conclusion was that massage therapy is a promising treatment for the symptoms of pain, fatigue, and impaired concentration in patients with Lyme disease, and that further research is needed to validate these efforts.

The Second Place Silver Award goes to Robin Streit of Camden, New Jersey, for her case report titled “Massage Treatment Improves NTOS Symptoms and Mobility: A Case Study on Neurogenic Thoracic Outlet Syndrome.” The Third Place Bronze Award was awarded to Glenda Keller of Ontario, Canadafor her case report titled “The Effects of Massage Therapy after Decompression and Fusion Surgery of the Lumbar Spine: A Case Study.” Full abstracts for all three winning case reports can be read here.

The Foundation has offered the Case Report Contests since 2006 as a way to encourage the writing of case reports, and to provide an opportunity for massage and bodywork practitioners and students to develop research skills, and to enhance their ability to provide evidence informed massage to the public. Information about all previous Case Report Contest winners, as well as details regarding how to enter the upcoming contests, can be found on the MTF website. The deadline for participation in the 2012 Practitioner Case Report Contest is October 1, 2012.

Case Reports: Where’s your first draft?

Here at the Foundation we’re very excited about case reports, and empowering folks to write and submit them. They are the number-one way (along with donating to the MTF!) for regular therapists to transform the research landscape of massage therapy.

What is a case report, anyway? It’s simple: a case report is a story from your clinical practice, translated into a common format (Intro/Methods/Results/Discussion), and then shared with your colleagues out in the world. The reasons to write a case report are many, but the biggest reason is this: it’s what you should do when you have something to share. It’s part of our responsibility as clinicians to occasionally open a window into our practice, so that others may benefit.

When I say clinician, I’m talking about you. The person reading these words. Someone who gets paid to help people feel better, function more fully, and awaken more fully into themselves. What happens in your practice? What do you wish could be seen by physicians or researchers? What is common but undocumented? What is vexing or mysterious? I want to know.

I can tell you one mystery that has thoroughly disappeared: “How does one even get started with a case report?" If you’ve done the work of becoming licensed in massage therapy, you have the necessary skills to begin. Getting done is a bigger challenge, but we’ve got your back there, too:

Want to know how case reports are put together? Check out the Massage Therapy Foundation’s case report contests for step-by-step guidelines, outside resources, and examples from past contest winners. Do you feel rusty with finding or understanding research articles? Enroll in our excellent new online course -- Basics of Research Literacy. Are you looking for inspiration or indignation? Just type the words “massage therapy case report” into and click on the first thing that looks interesting.

The most important thing is begin the story. Everything else is grounded in that act.  Your first draft doesn’t need to be fancy -- just write as if you were speaking to a colleague.

Here, I’ll start:

Case Report. A 30 year-old male patient hands me a self-typed letter that carefully conveys his medical history: a rare form of leukemia that took him down fast but somehow decided not to kill him.

He was eighteen when the cancer announced itself and confined him for years to a hospital bed. It was surreal for him to be suddenly so infirm, but by that time he had already accrued a lifetime of random calamity: A freak car accident at age two. A wicked bike fall at twelve. Broken bones and open wounds. Avascular necroses in his hips and knees. Thyroid and pancreatic swings. His eyes meet me briefly and then return to some distant horizon. He speaks quietly, as if sharing a secret, not entirely believing his own presence in the room.

His reason for visiting me is symptoms relating to the most recent diagnosis: Graft-versus host disease (GVHD). It’s an auto-immune reaction instigated by some donated bone marrow. His immune system, stimulated by an intermittent sense of invasion, had proliferated its inflammations and fibroses in a variety of ways. GVHD is a trickster disease, able to mimic a number of other autoimmune disorders and then morph into new modes. In recent years, the condition had manifested like a patchy, regional scleroderma. The skin on his left ribcage, left shoulder, left neck and left arm contains a number of quarter-sized skin adhesions, where the superficial fascia had spontaneously scarred and grabbed hold of the overlying epidermis. Each adhesion is colored a little pale, depleted of its melanin, and his normally mobile skin is like stiff leather under my fingertips.

He says his left shoulder felt glued down, stuck, tight and sore. The drape of his t-shirt and the taut meat below conveys a sense that his left upper trapezius has been suffering under heavy downward opposition. His knees and shoulder sockets ache “occaisionally” but he said they feel “OK” today. His low back ached more or less all the time, and he described his neck as “stiff but not usually painful”. I asked about headaches, and he said “Not usually. Not for long, anyway.”

He says that he wants freedom in the left shoulder, some reduction in back pain, and maybe some better sleep. I have him remove the t-shirt, and I notice that several of his adhesions lie along the path of cutaneous nerve roots (C6 through T4 dorsal rami on the left side) and the radial and axillary nerves of the arm. The overall effect is one of strapping the scapula close to the upper ribs, and the trapezius, serratus anteriorlevator scapulae, and rhomboid muscles all seem to struggle mightily during scapulo-humeral abduction. The arm feels to me like it wears a tight stocking, and every motion seems oppressed by this constrictive garmet. He works as a carpenter-contractor, is two years married, and had recently recovered enough to finish his GED.

I figure that some careful fascial release might be able to improve his shoulder mobility, and to the degree that cutaneous nerves were entrapped, it would be worth trying to free them. However, I’m concerned about inflaming the tissue, especially with a mysterious autoimmune process going on. I will have to cover ground slowly, and ask for communication as we do the work. And what about his pain perception, given the gnarly history of accidents and hospital care?

“I... don’t have a normal relationship to pain”, he says.

“In what way?”

“If a pain is really bad, I feel it for a second, and then I kind of turn it off.”

His leukemia treatment ten years prior had involved a thick stream of pain medications, but he didn’t like the mental haze or the digestive side effects. “I hated the painkillers, so I started not taking them. I just learned how to change what I’m feeling.” The doctors were dumbstruck, he says.

I could respond in any number of ways, but our intake time is already lengthy. “Can you feel this pressure?” I ask, pressing my thumb with medium force into his forearm.

“Ow, yes” he replies.

“That’s what I don’t want to exceed in our work. So let me know, ok?”


Fast forward three months. So far we’ve had 8 hour-long sessions. Our results have been mixed: In terms of shoulder mobility, we’ve had some good success. The first 3 sessions, especially, saw him go from severe limitation to only mild restriction (e.g. He went from a labored 70 degrees scapulo-humeral abduction to a comfortable 120.) “I’ve never gotten that kind of relief with massage” he reports with a sigh. The cutaneous adhesions have also reduced in size and number, although the skin remains discolored in the previously adhered spots.

His back pain has been fluctuant, but overall I don’t think it’s improved. There is still generalized ROM limitation, point tendernes, and muscular hypertonicity throughout his thoracic and lumbar spine. It has admittedly been a secondary focus. It’s also possible that a reduction in exercise is to blame: He’s been sitting in college classrooms recently, and running less.

His sleep disturbance had some early improvement, but then did not seem correlated with receiving massage. He tells me halfway through that his thyroid medication is “messed up” again, and that he’s waiting to adjust it with the doc. Two sessions later he says the sleep has normalized since reducing his thyroid medication.

Our current plan is to re-focus on the back pain, and leave the shoulder complex as a secondary focus. He seems quite grateful for the work, and seems less focused on his symptoms and more on the day-to-day frustrations of a carpenter and a 30-year-old college student. I take this as a good sign: perhaps he his comfortable enough most of the time to indulge in more pedestrian complaints.

I have to admit that as the sessions progressed, I became less focused on the tissue-level pathology, and more aware that his definition of “health” was expanding along with his range of motion. As I gained familiarity with his body, my clinical intent shifted to include not just fascial release, but kindness and embodiment.

My early tendencies as a massage therapist were to become so enthralled with dramatic conditions that they made opaque the person suffering in front of me. My role, I thought, was to understand, and in the absence of understanding, I could not really treat. My tools were few, but my curiosity was relentless, and this mostly worked well. The trigger points were found and muscles made loose. Scars were frictioned and ranges of motion increased. Except that this constant striving made me unable to arrive. Their healing would be a victory in my mind, their stasis a defeat, and I would sacrifice their sense of independence for my sense of accomplishment.

I wonder now if my early patients left feeling well-examined but never truly heard. It’s a constant balancing act when you’re asked to deploy a compassionate art within the constraints of a complex medical condition. The best sessions -- from my perspective -- seem to be those where love for the work and love for the patient seem to be one and the same.

I’m curious how other massage therapists have dealt with similar situations, and I’m looking forward to the day when we have better evidence around the efficacy and contraindications of massage for autoimmune conditions like GVHD.

The Massage Therapy Foundation offers two Case Report Contests each year: one contest is for Practitioners (submission deadline is October 1 annually), and another contest for Students (submission deadline is March 1 annually). Learn more by visiting the Case Report Contest section of our website.

Mike Hamm teaches anatomy, technique, and research literacy at Cortiva Institute Seattle, and maintains a full time bodywork practice focused on orthopedic injury and trauma recovery. He was the winner of the Massage Therapy Foundation’s 2005 Student Case Report Contest, and presently serves as a reviewer for the Foundation’s Professional Case Report Contest. He has published articles in various research journals and trade magazines on subjects including nerve entrapment and research literacy education. When not teaching or doing bodywork, Mike plays music in a Seattle band.

From a Grantee's Perspective - How an MTF Community Service Grant served over 200 homeless Portland residents

Outside In logoIn 2010, Heidi Pannke, a massage therapist and Alternative Medicine Coordinator at Outside In in Portland, Oregon, was awarded an MTF Community Service grant for $5,000. Through the MTF grant, 200 homeless and severely mentally disabled Portland residents were provided with massage over the course of the year. The grant provided funding in the first year of this program, and allowed the program to continue to grow in subsequent years. We asked Heidi to discuss what led her to apply for an MTF Community Service grant and how receiving the grant impacted Outside I. Below is her story.

It had always been my dream to have more massage at the Outside In Clinic. We’d had acupuncture students coming in, as well as a volunteer chiropractor, but there was hardly ever any massage therapy. I thought, “if only we could have massage therapy here more often, great things could happen.”

Heidi Pannke administering a massage to a client at Outside In

The Outside In Clinic primarily serves homeless youth, (although other marginalized people are included as well) addressing their various needs, through case management, housing, education, employment, and medical services. Many of the youth that Outside In serves had never had a massage before I worked on them. I would always wonder if any of them had ever received any positive healing touch at all in their lives.

In early 2009, the clinic staff was at a retreat and we did an exercise where we all wrote down what our dreams were – I wrote down that my dream would be to someday offer massage at Outside In. I began working at Outside In before I got into massage school. I was hired because of my Spanish speaking abilities, and worked in the medical clinic as an interpreter. It was from working with these clients that I began to feel that I would like to do something more to help out, and after receiving a lot of massage myself one summer, I felt called to enroll in massage school.

I started my massage classes, all the while still working part time interpreting at the clinic. Once I graduated and became a licensed massage therapist, I worked part time at a chiropractor’s office, but this wasn’t fulfilling to me. I wanted to do something more with my massage license; I wanted to be able to offer massage to our clients at Outside In.

John Duke, the director of the clinic, came to me after that retreat, and let me know if I could find a massage grant, he would help write it. I did find a grant, the Community Service Grant from the Massage Therapy Foundation. The grant was written, and a few months later, we were informed that we got it.

It was a bit of a slow start as we were figuring out how best to incorporate massage therapy into our clinic services, but once we got going, it became one of the most popular services for our clients. Some of the feedback I got from our clients was amazing. One young man who had been in and out of mental institutions his whole life, told me if he could get a massage every week, he wouldn’t need to take so many of his medications, and that for once in his life, he felt good and didn’t feel so depressed anymore. Another young lady who was struggling to get off heroin told me that the massage helped her body feel relaxed during the detoxification process. I consistently heard so much gratitude from our clients, with them telling me it was the highlight of their day, their week, their month, their year.

The grant ended in August of 2011, and since then, we have consistently had massage at the clinic four times a week. We are going to be renovating the CAM space soon, and there will be a spot for four massage tables. We are in talks with a local massage therapy training program about the possibility of bringing their students to our clinic for their clinical rotations. None of this would have been possible without the MTF grant.For about 6 months of the grant, I would take my massage table out every week to one of the clinic’s outreach sites, a social service agency that helped older homeless folks find housing. Some of these clients had not seen any sort of medical providers for sometimes upward of 20 years. But once they heard a massage therapist was there, they were eager to sign up. Sometimes clients would reveal very serious things about their medical history, and I would encourage them to follow up with one of our doctor’s. Several of my clients did, and are now receiving primary care through our clinic. One client told me he didn’t think anybody cared about him before the massage, and he was so appreciative that I came out to do this.

Heidi Pannke

Massage Therapist / Alternative Medicine Coordinator / Records Fairy

Outside In -

About Outside In

The mission of Outside In is to assist homeless youth and other low-income and marginalized people move toward improved health and self-sufficiency. Outside In, established in 1968, has continually revised services to respond to changing client needs. Current programs include a Clinic and Homeless Youth Department. The clinic is a cutting-edge blend of western and alternative medicine. It is a teaching site for Oregon Health Sciences University, and the National College of Naturopathic Medicine, providing western medicine, naturopathic, acupuncture, Chinese herbal, chiropractic, massage and dental care. The clinic provides over 17,000 visits annually for homeless youth and homeless and low income adults. In addition to the on-site clinic, our mobile medical outreach program uses a 38-foot medical van with 3 exam rooms, a lab and electronic medical records to take medical care to isolated populations who lack access to care. You can learn more about Outside In by visiting their website at

To read about all of the Community Service grants that were awarded by the MTF in 2010, read our annual report:

Announcing the 2011 Massage Therapy Foundation Research and Community Service Grants

We are pleased to announce the funding of five Community Service Grants and one Research Grant for the MTF’s 2011 granting cycle.

Community Service Grants

Tina Allen of Liddle Kidz Foundation in Vancouver, WA, was awarded $5,000 for “Massage Therapy for Orphans in Japan.” This grant was sponsored in part by a gift from the Massachusetts Chapter of the American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA). Liddle Kidz Foundation has been working for over a decade to bring healing touch to needy infants and children within the United States, Thailand and Vietnam. Allen, the founder of Liddle Kidz, will use the MTF grant to educate 16 pediatric massage therapists who will work on children in orphanages in the greater Tokyo area to reduce the effects of post-traumatic stress disorder. The massage therapists will also educate the caregivers of the children so treatments can continue when the therapists aren’t present.

Tieasha James of Bee Busy Wellness Center (BBWC) in Houston, Texas, was awarded $5,000 for “Touching Lives.” This grant is funded in part by a gift from Biotone. The BBWC provides health services for the medically underserved, including women at high risk of drug use/abuse, hypertension, and sexually transmitted infections. The MTF grant will provide funding to add massage to the offerings of the BBWC with an objective of lowering client’s stress levels while increasing self-awareness and taking initiative for the clients own health.

Fermin Flores of Exodus Transitional Community in Brooklyn, New York, was awarded $5,000 for “Free Fulfillment,” a grant that was sponsored in part by a gift from the Arizona Chapter of AMTA (AMTA-AZ). With this MTF Community Service Grant, Exodus will provide massage therapy services for formerly incarcerated men and women. The goal of the project is to help reeducate these individuals and empower their physical and mental readaptation to touch so they can experience quality of life.

Dale Healey, DC, of Northwestern Health Sciences University (NWHSU) in Bloomington, MN, was awarded $4,800 for “Integrating Massage with La Clinica de la Mariposa.” This grant is sponsored in part by a gift from Biotone. NWHSU has a Clinic in Costa Rica that serve clients with limited income, many of whom are indigent. This grant will provide therapeutic massage to a needy population as well as educate chiropractors and massage therapists about the benefits of integrating their disciplines in the treatment of patients.

Ellisa Lee of SAGE Eldercare’s HomeCare Massage Therapy in Summit, NJ, was awarded $5,000 for “Soothing our Senior Clients.” Since 1954, SAGE Eldercare has been dedicated to the independence, well-being, and quality of life for older adults and their caregivers. This grant will allow SAGE to expand the benefits of its HomeCare home health aide services to include complementary massage therapy for its clients. Providing massage will aim to the anxiety, chronic pain, depression, and insomnia resulting from the many challenges HomeCare clients experience.

Research Grant

For the 2011 Research Grant, the MTF awarded $29,998 to Katharina Wiest, PhD, MSPH, of CODA, Inc. in Portland, OR, for her study “Massage Impact on Chronic Pain in Opioid Dependent Patients. Chronic pain is common among opioid dependant patients beginning substance use treatment. This study will asses the efficacy of Swedish massage techniques on chronic pain in opioid dependent adult patients receiving methadone treatment. Primarily, the researchers will measure the effect of massage on the level of pain intensity. Massage may offer a non-pharmacologic option as part of the treatment arsenal for opioid dependence.

The Massage Therapy Foundation awards Research Grants of up to $30,000, and Community Service Grants of up to $5,000. The deadline to apply for a Research Grant is March 1, 2012, and the Community Service Grant deadline is April 1, 2012. For the full grant synopses, or to apply for a grant, visit

Basics of Research Literacy: The Future is Here

The Future is Here: Are You Ready?

Glenath Moyle, president of the American Massage Therapy Association recently declared in her remarks at the National Convention, "Research is our future, and the future is here!"

I agree with her, but I have a concern.  I would declare, "The future is here--and some of us aren’t ready!"

What about you?

Can you discern a good study from a bad one? What do you do to identify how bias might alter a study's outcomes? How do you feel about navigating Pubmed Central? And are you confident that you can explain the findings of a typical study to your clients?

Research Literacy is a Job Requirement

Following what happens in massage therapy research is part of every massage therapist's job, whether he or she is working out of a room at home, in a franchise, at a spa, or in an interdisciplinary health care clinic. The reasons for this are many and varied, but here is a short list:

    • Research allows us to build on the experiences of others so we don't have to reinvent the wheel with every client.
    • Clients are doing their own background reading; we'd better be able to keep up.
    • As a new health care system evolves, massage therapy could have an important place--but without good research, we will be shut out of that opportunity.
    • It is vital that massage therapists be able to communicate with researchers, so that studies examine massage as it is truly practiced. Otherwise findings may be useless, or worse, misleading.
    • Poorly executed research gets published; we need to be able to identify it and be clear about why we disagree with it.
    • Research, along with client values and practitioner skill, is the basis of evidence-informed practice. It is up to us to find research that is relevant and applicable.
But here’s the problem: many schools don’t teach classes in how to access, evaluate and apply new research. Most massage therapists probably wouldn’t claim that they are confident being self-taught in those skills.

So what do we do?

Wouldn’t it be great if…

Wouldn’t it be great if there were an online course that a person could take in his or her own time?  A course that is more than, “read this—take this test”? A course that helps to build skills in identifying good-quality research articles, accessing them, making sense of them, and applying findings to practice?

Basics of Research Literacy (BRL) is a joint project between the Massage Therapy Foundation and Education Training Solutions. Designed by Whitney Lowe and Jan Schwartz, it is a 6-hour continuing education course about—you guessed it—research literacy. It is self-paced, and anything but passive: you will learn what research is, how to do a literature search, and how to evaluate findings. You will hone your online search skills, including the use of relevant data bases so you can find studies that apply to you and your clients. This is an interactive, skill-building course with no time limit for completion.

Basics of Research Literacy is appropriate for anyone: practitioners, students, educators, and others involved in the massage therapy profession.

Basics of Research Literacy is available now, for an introductory price of $75 for individuals, $65 each for groups of five or more. This is a permanent fundraiser for the Massage Therapy Foundation, offered through Education and Training Solutions.

Basics of Research Literacy is your ticket to the future. Be ready. Check it out.

"Why I Give to the Massage Therapy Foundation"

As you may know, Andrew Biel, LMT, president and owner of Books of Discovery, was recently awarded the Massage Therapy Foundation / Performance Health Humanitarian award. You can read more about him receiving the award here. In honor of National Philanthropy Day, we asked Mr. Biel why he chooses to support the Massage Therapy Foundation year after year. His response is below.

People ask why Books of Discovery donates to the Massage Therapy Foundation. Well, let me tell you a story. When I was a kid I recall my mother writing a donation check for the local Fire and Rescue Teams. Since my parents were having financial spats, I asked her why she had donated.

She said, "When times are good, we give. And when times are bad, we give." I didn't quite understand, so she elaborated. "Right now, times are tough. So we're not giving as much as before. But we're still giving."

"But we've never had an accident or a fire. So why should we give at all?" (I was young.)

"Well, knock on wood, I hope we never do need their help. But our neighbors might. Being in a community means helping and supporting each other however possible, whether that be with money, time or expertise. In good times and bad."

Years later, when MTF board member Diana Thompson called to explain the Foundation's mission and projects, I suspect that my mother's words were being dusted off in my mind. When Diana asked if Books of Discovery would consider donating, it was like karma and fate and common sense all wrapped up into one big no-brainer burrito. "Of course, we'll donate."

And we've continued. Every month we write a check to the Foundation. In good times and bad. But the MTF needs more than just money. Sure, money helps, but time, expertise and a number of other things are equally important.

My mother didn't know how to shoot a fire hose or defibrillate a patient. So she gave money and let other people volunteer for those tasks. We've all got something to give, and I would encourage you to consider what you could bring to the Foundation.

Previous MTF/PHI Humanitarian Award winners include Angie Patrick (2010) and Robert and Kathie King (2009).

Watch the presentation of the Humanitarian Award to Andrew Biel by Marshall Dahneke:


Andrew Biel Receives the Massage Therapy Foundation/Performance Health 2011 Humanitarian Award

Andrew Biel, award recipientAkron, Ohio – Mr. Andrew Biel, LMT, was presented the Massage Therapy Foundation / Performance Health 2011 Humanitarian Award at this year's American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA) convention held in Portland,Oregon.

Performance Health, manufacturer and marketer of Biofreeze®, Prossage® and Thera-Band® health and wellness products, sponsors the award. Mr. Biel was selected by the Massage Therapy Foundation for his dedication to advancing the massage profession.

Since becoming a Licensed Massage Practitioner in 1992, Mr. Biel has served on the faculties of Boulder College of Massage Therapy and Seattle Massage School, and taught Cadaver Studies for Bodyworkers at Bastyr Naturopathic University. In 1997, he wrote and published the acclaimed Trail Guide to the Body, which is being used in more than 1,700 bodywork schools in 38 countries. Mr. Biel is president and owner of Books of Discovery, a publisher of educational tools for the bodywork fields. The company supports several non-profit organizations including the Massage Therapy Foundation, the Nature Conservancy and the Alliance for Massage Therapy Education.

Mr. Biel was honored for his efforts in influencing the development of evidenced-based research showcasing massage, disseminating the research to shape and lift the profession, and applying the research to the neediest in communities around the world.

"A humanitarian is someone who gives from the heart. This motivation, this good intention manifests itself in many ways and ultimately determines the life we live and who we become," stated Marshall Dahneke, President and CEO of Performance Health. "Drew's ability to give passionately and freely from the heart motivates him to make things happen that benefit others. He believes that if it doesn’t make someone's life better, it's just not worth doing. I’m grateful for the opportunity to honor Drew and to thank him for his contributions."

In addition to providing Mr. Biel with an exquisite award plaque, Performance Health donated $2,500 to the Massage Therapy Foundation in his name.

Ruth Werner, President of the Massage Therapy Foundation stated, "Drew fully embraces the mission of the Massage Therapy Foundation. He is one the earliest, most consistent and most generous supporters, donating time, energy and leadership. All of this in addition to significant funding, having surpassed $150,000 in donation. These dollars are used in research, education and community service to allow the healing power of massage to touch more people and strengthen more communities."

About The Massage Therapy Foundation

The Massage Therapy Foundation is a 501(c)3 public charity, with a mission to advance the knowledge and practice of massage by supporting scientific research, education and community service.

About Performance Health

Featuring leading brands like Thera-Band®, Biofreeze® and the new Pedigenix Foot Care System, Performance Health offers a broad portfolio of products for the therapy, rehabilitation and wellness markets. In addition to market-leading products, Performance Health provides evidence-based protocols, education and pain management solutions.

About Books of Discovery

Books of Discovery is the publisher of the acclaimed Trail Guide to the Body. The company specializes in user-friendly, reasonably-priced musculoskeletal and palpation educational tools for the bodywork fields.

Lynda Solien-Wolfe, Director of Education at Performance Health; Andrew Biel, Award Recipient; MTF President Ruth Werner; Marshall Dahnke, President and CEO of Performance Health


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