ncbrmbBurr Ridge, Ill. / Santa Monica, Calif. (October 30, 2017) — The National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork (NCBTMB) announced today a partnership with The Heart Touch Project (THTP) to introduce the profession’s first Pain and Palliative Care Specialty Certificate Program.

Under the new partnership, candidates become eligible for the credential upon completion of the Heart Touch Pain and Palliative Care Massage Therapy Training Program or upon completion of the NCBTMB Portfolio Review process, both of which culminate with the NCBTMB Specialty Exam.  With the credential, therapists can provide these critical services to individuals in hospital and hospice settings.

Spots for the Heart Touch Pain and Palliative Care Massage Therapy Training Program are open for applying immediately, as spots are limited. Spots for the NCBTMB Pain and Palliative Care Specialty Exam and Portfolio Review Application are available beginning January 8, 2018. More information and applications can be found at http://www.hearttouch.org/pain-and-palliative-curriculum and www.ncbtmb.org.

Massage therapy is increasingly embraced as an important alternative and/or complement to drug therapy in palliative care. A 2011 study published in ISRN Nursing noted that, “massage therapy is to be considered a cost-efficient, noninvasive intervention positively influencing and contributing to the reduction of pain, anxiety, and depression in seriously ill cancer patients.”

“Although THTP began by training massage, bodywork, and health care professionals to work with the hospice community, the professionalism of its volunteers and the strength and medical orientation of its training programs quickly catapulted Heart Touch into the hospital environment,” said Shawnee Isaac Smith, founder, The Heart Touch Project. “Because of the growing demand for complementary therapies, THTP developed a comprehensive training program that would integrate the massage and bodywork professional seamlessly into the hospital and integrative medical settings. We are pleased to be endorsed by and partnered with NCBTMB to bring The Heart Touch Curriculum and now a specialty credential to the massage and bodywork community.”

The Heart Touch Pain and Palliative Care Massage Therapy Training Program includes coursework in oncology massage, mind body integration, massage for pediatric patients, and other courses in addition to internship and grand rounds requirements. For details, visit http://www.hearttouch.org/pain-and-palliative-curriculum.

“We are thrilled to partner with The Heart Touch Project to introduce the profession’s first nationally-recognized credential in this important area of work,” said Donna Sarvello, vice president, educational support, NCBTMB. “This comes at a crucial time as massage therapists and bodyworkers work with hospitals to provide safe, effective massage to patients interested in alternative, non-drug treatment options for pain. THTP’s training program is an essential foundation to understand the role of massage in pain and palliative care, effects of medications on massage therapy, working as part of an integrative pain and palliative team in a hospital and hospice setting, and much more.”

Steve Kirin, chief executive officer, NCBTMB, explains the reasoning for NCBTMB’s new Portfolio Review option: “For several months, we have heard from experienced practitioners around the country who have already received rigorous training in certain specialty areas. We are pleased to offer an additional pathway via our Portfolio Review process so that experienced practitioners can qualify for specialty certificates in their field of expertise—starting with Pain and Palliative Care.”

Candidates become eligible to obtain a Specialty Certificate by either completing the Heart Touch Pain and Palliative Care Massage Therapy Training Program and passing the NCBTMB Specialty Exam, or completing the NCBTMB Portfolio Review Process and passing the NCBTMB Specialty Exam (available January 2018). Upon completion of one of those pathways and passing the exam candidates will earn an official NCBTMB Specialty Certificate in Pain and Palliative Care.

For more information on the Heart Touch Pain and Palliative Care Massage Therapy Training Program, visit http://www.hearttouch.org/pain-and-palliative-curriculum.

For more information on the NCBTMB Specialty Exam and Portfolio Review opportunities, visit exam.ncbtmb.org.

About NCBTMB

The National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork (NCBTMB) is an independent, private, nonprofit organization founded in 1992. The mission of NCBTMB is to define and advance the highest standards in the massage therapy and bodywork profession. In support of this mission, NCBTMB serves the profession through Board Certification, Specialty Certificates, an Approved Provider Program, and an Assigned School Program. For more information, visit ncbtmb.org.

About The Heart Touch Project

The Heart Touch Project is a non-profit organization that has been at the forefront of providing compassionate and therapeutic touch to men, women and children since 1995. As an educational and service based organization we have trained over 3,500 health care professionals. The mission of The Heart Touch Project is to be the leader in training and delivery of compassionate therapeutic touch for those in chronic pain, patients that are medically fragile and terminally ill, ultimately improving the lives for them, their families and their caregivers.

The Heart Touch Project trains physicians, nurses, health aids, massage and physical therapists and chaplains on how to use an empathetic touch called the Heart Touch Method. The Heart Touch Method creates a loving, mindful presence with hospitalized and homebound men, women and children. For more information about volunteer programs or the Pain and Palliative Care Massage Therapy Specialty Certificate Program, visit hearttouch.org or contact .

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