From the MASSAGE Magazine article, “Massage Under the Microscope: Research Puts Touch on the Medical Map,” in the December issue. Article summary: Research into the effects of massage has been largely behind the increased use of massage and its incorporation into medical environments. Here, experts in the field of massage research discuss the importance of research literacy on the part of massage practitioners, how research advances massage in the medical arena, the purpose of mechanism studies, how massage research has grown over the last decade—and what needs to be done to further research in years to come.

The advancement of the massage profession relies to a large extent on available publishing venues for colleagues to share with others the outcomes of their efforts. Scientifically based articles of a research, educational and practice-oriented nature provide a context for enhancing both research literacy and research capacity. In the former case, one can function as an informed and critical consumer of research-based documents generated by others. In the latter instance, one is capable of participating in the actual conduct of original research.

In response to increased attention to massage research over the past several years, the Massage Therapy Foundation1 launched the International Journal of Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork (IJTMB) in August of this year. This publication is a broad-based, peer-reviewed, open access journal accessible at Its principal scope of coverage spans topics related to research, education, and practice.

The Research Section is open to original studies representing the complete range of quantitative, qualitative, and integrative (synthesis) studies.

The Education Section provides a forum in which massage educators might share their experiences, research, and resulting insights on topics including curriculum development, instructional design and delivery, instructional technology, distance learning, and testing/evaluative procedures in both classroom and clinical settings.

The Practice Section provides an opportunity for practitioners and clinicians to remain current regarding the diverse issues that present themselves as the science and practice of massage continues to advance and clients become more informed and demanding regarding the services they receive.

Author guidelines consistent with the Uniform Requirements for Manuscripts Submitted to Biomedical Journals provide the criteria on which the journal’s referees base their objective, double-blind, peer-reviewed evaluation of each submitted manuscript2. The open access approach to scholarly publishing represented by the journal is in the interest of disseminating the scientific findings of researchers, educators, and practitioners in as far-reaching and cost-effective a manner as possible3,4. Accordingly, the journal is subscription-free and devoid of per page processing costs for contributing authors.

Furthermore, articles published in the IJTMB are protected under the CreativeCommons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 License, thereby ensuring copyright retention by contributing authors, with first publication rights obviously granted to the journal5. Beginning in 2009, the IJTMB will publish articles (a) collectively on a quarterly basis and (b) individually as they become available for immediate release.

The quarterly issues will appear in March, June, September and December. The immediately released-upon-availability articles will appear in a designated “In Press” issue to be published in the interim period between the most recent and the next scheduled quarterly issues.

Researchers, educators and practitioners in the massage profession and related areas are encouraged to explore this new online journal and perhaps join the conversation. Ultimately, the test of its success and contribution to the profession will be gauged by its impact on improving the health and well-being of those we serve.

Glenn M. Hymel, Ed.D, L.M.T., is executive editor of the IJTMB, and professor and chair of the department of psychology at Loyola University in New Orleans, Louisiana. He graduated from the Blue Cliff School of Therapeutic Massage in Metairie, Louisiana, and maintains a practice in New Orleans. Glenn authored the textbook Research Methods for Massage & Holistic Therapies (Elsevier, 2006), and currently serves as the executive editor of the International Journal of Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork.


1. Massage Therapy Foundation. Mission and History. Massage Therapy Foundation Web site. Updated n.d. Accessed May 22, 2008.

2. International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE). Uniform Requirements for Manuscripts Submitted to Biomedical Journals: Writing and Editing for Biomedical Publication. ICMJE Web site. Updated October 2007. Accessed May 22, 2008.

3. Public Knowledge Project. OJS in an Hour: An Introduction to Open Journal Systems. Version Vancouver, BC: University of British Columbia; 2008. Updated July 15, 2008. Accessed July 16, 2008.

4. Public Knowledge Project (PKP). Home page. PKP Web site. Updated n.d. Accessed May 22, 2008.

5. Creative Commons. Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 Unported. Creative Commons Web site. Updated n.d. Accessed May 22, 2008.