Massage Therapy Foundation announces research grant to address pain and opioid use in veterans

The Massage Therapy Foundation (MTF) has awarded $210,000 for a research grant to the Defense and Veterans Center for Integrative Pain Management (DVCIPM), Rockville, Md. Dr. Krista Highland, Deputy Director of Science, DVCIPM, is the Primary Investigator of the two-year study, "Massage Service Integration in a Military Primary Care Clinic: Implementation and Impact Study."

Acute and chronic pain carry grave economic, operational, and personal consequences within the Department of Defense (DoD) and Veterans Administration (VA). Both the DoD and VA populations have significantly higher prevalence of chronic pain compared to civilian populations. As a result, the opioid epidemic witnessed in the civilian population is mirrored in the DoD and VA populations. The study researches massage therapy's promising evidence-based approach to reducing the burden of chronic pain within the DoD and VA.

Opioid misuse, addiction, and overdose have reached historic proportions. This is a health emergency and it is essential that the massage therapy profession responds. The DoD agencies are struggling with the opioid crisis and DVCIPM is addressing how evidence-based research can be turned into actionable, sustainable recommendations to mitigate pain and improve care. This study is uniquely positioned to be impactful for veterans, as well as the general public, and to advance research and improve the lives of those affected by this debilitating epidemic. This study addresses how alternative/non-pharmacological therapies complement other interventions for pain and opioid abuse and addiction-related diseases."

Douglas Nelson, President, Massage Therapy Foundation

The study is funded with generous financial support from the American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA). "This is a significant example of AMTA's leadership in supporting MTF in its mission of advancing evidence-informed massage therapy practice," said Christopher Deery, President, AMTA. "This study further expands the growing body of data on massage therapy efficacy for chronic pain among those currently serving and those whom previously served in the military."

The project investigates how the benefits of massage therapy affect the opioid crisis and addresses options for mitigating the pain and opioid emergency in the United States.

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