OVCMT students conduct award-winning research
At OVCMT, we believe that correctly understanding and applying established massage therapy research is an important part of providing the most effective treatment possible for our patients. While the specific benefits of massage therapy can be more difficult to demonstrate than other scientific techniques, the college and the profession is promoting greater evidence based treatment as a foundation for establishing successful careers as a Registered Massage Therapist. We use the term “evidence based practice” to refer to massage therapy techniques that are supported by research and shown to be effective in addressing patient conditions and well being.
This year we’re pleased to announce that OVCMT graduate Michelle Ostafew has won a prestigious massage therapy research award: the Award for Excellence in Research and Interpretive Studies. Presented by the Canadian Council of Massage Therapy Schools (CCMTS), the interpretive studies award is designed to encourage student engagement with new research in massage therapy.
Students like Michelle develop research literacy through class work that teaches the concepts behind scientific research and the process of finding, studying, interpreting and critiquing articles in journals, professional publications and presentations. This class prepares students to approach scientific literature with a critical eye, introduces statistical analysis of research data, and demonstrates how to present their own research in the standard case study report format.
In addition to the research course in the program, each student conducts a research case study as part of their clinical practicum requirement. After conducting a literature review, the student works with a patient in order to apply and observe the research information and document the results in a report. The case study demonstrates how our graduates, using their research literacy, can apply research findings in their practice in an evidenced based manner. This contributes to their knowledge, benefits the patient through evidence based practice and, if published, adds to the body of evidence available to others.
The Award for Excellence in Research and Interpretive Studies is presented annually to a massage therapy student from a Canadian MT college. Each year, students from across the country submit their papers to the CCMTS, which then publishes the winning paper on their website.
The winning student also receives a commemorative plaque as well as an honorarium. The winning paper engages with and interprets existing research in massage therapy, and demonstrates the student’s expert knowledge and ability to critically evaluate therapy research. Michelle’s paper CranioSacral Therapy: Recognition through Research was the winner for 2015.
Not only does this award recognize student excellence, but it also – on a broader scale – promotes research in massage therapy, which is one of the many objectives of the CCMTS.
Founded in 1998, the CCMTS is a national organization of massage therapy schools both public and private. The council acts as a non-profit advocator for massage therapy education, and promotes the advancement of “the art, science, education and practice of massage therapy.”
To achieve that mission, the council promotes – among many objectives – continued high caliber research in the field of massage therapy. OVCMT is a founding member of the CCMTS and believes its unique perspective supports excellence in the profession for the good of our patients and the health of our communities.
Research into massage therapy has led to new breakthroughs in using therapy as a complementary treatment for a variety of conditions, including Post-Traumatic-Stress-Disorder, Parkinson’s, and even cancer. That new research means that patients can benefit from the combination of diverse healthcare options that together encourage better health.
But massage research doesn’t just benefit patients - massage colleges and students completing their massage therapist training also gain extensively from its findings. Emerging research provides fresh insight into patient care, and advances the general field of massage therapy.
Since receiving the research competition award, Michelle has moved to Australia and has found work with triathletes from around the world participating in the Noosa Triathlon.
What new research in massage therapy would you like to study during your massage therapy training?