The Massage Therapy Foundation (MTF) has announced the funding of two research grants in the field of massage therapy for the 2012 granting cycle. Since 1993, the Massage Therapy Foundation has sought to fund important research in the field of massage therapy to advance the profession.

The first $30,000 MTF research grant has been awarded to Joan E. Cunningham, Ph.D., at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston, South Carolina, for her study “Use of Therapeutic Massage to Treat Chemotherapy-Induced Peripheral Neuropathy (CIPN).” This condition is a common debilitating side effect of many standard chemotherapy drugs used in cancer treatment. CIPN’s symptoms include pain and numbness in the extremities, muscle weakness, stiffness, cramps and/or twitching. The current research for CIPN is lacking, and the underlying causes are poorly understood. This study aims to lay the groundwork for clinical trials focused on the physiological processes involved in CIPN, and hopes to establish the feasibility of using massage as a viable treatment for symptoms.

The second $30,000 MTF research grant has been awarded to Mark Blegen, Ph.D., F.A.C.S.M., at St. Catherine University in St. Paul, Minnesota. His study, “The Effects of Massage Therapy in Conjunction with Exercise Training on Weight” will study whether using massage therapy as a reward for regular exercise could promote weight management. The research team will not only measure body weight and body fat percentage, but also the status of emotional eating, and physical and psychological measures of stress, anxiety, and mood to determine the effect of massage within a weight management program.

MTF President Ruth Werner said these studies “reflect two emerging fields for massage: the feasibility of integrating massage into medical treatments for complex conditions in Cunningham’s study on CIPN, and massage’s application as an aspect of general public health and wellness in Blegen’s study on massage and weight loss. The Massage Therapy Foundation is pleased to be able to support studies that have such clear clinical relevance for massage therapists.”

About MTF Research Grants

The Massage Therapy Foundation offers research grants for up to $30,000 to those conducting studies that seek to advance our understanding of specific therapeutic applications of massage, public perceptions of and attitudes toward massage therapy, and the role of massage therapy in health care delivery. Applications are now being accepted for the 2013 MTF Research Grants. The submission deadline is March 1, 2013. Learn more and apply online at

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. For more information, visit