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Hospital Based Massage Therapy – Dale Healey
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  1. Hospital Based Massage Therapy – Dale Healey

  2. Dale Healey DC • Canadian • Chiropractor • Massage Therapy Educator • University of Minnesota PhD student • Dean, School of Massage Therapy at Northwestern Health Sciences University • Serve on Best Practices Committee of the MTF • Serve as COMTA site team evaluator

  3. Northwestern Health Sciences University • Located in Bloomington, Minnesota • Began as Chiropractic College in 1941 • School of Massage Therapy and Minnesota College of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine added in 2000 • Strong focus on integration of CAM services within CAM as well as with the allopathic community. • Mission: The mission of Northwestern Health Sciences University is to advance and promote natural approaches to health through education, research, clinical services and community involvement.

  4. The Vision of Northwestern Health Sciences University Our vision is to be the University of Choice for natural and integrative health care. We promote conservative health care approaches that focus on the whole person. We provide leadership to develop collaborative and integrative health care models, support clinical research, prepare students for successful careers, encourage lifelong learning and service to our community.

  5. Objectives for this session • Define HBMT – understanding what it is and what it is not • Articulate trends surrounding MT in the hospital environment • Discuss benefits of massage therapy to the hospital patient • List steps toward becoming a hospital based massage therapist. • Identify challenges involved in becoming a hospital based massage therapist. • Develop strategies to overcome those challenges.

  6. What is Hospital-Based Massage Therapy? • Hospital-Based Massage Therapy is Massage Therapy that is based in a hospital setting • Put another way: Massage Therapy that takes place in a hospital setting • Massage Therapy that happens in a hospital. • HBMT is defined ONLY by its location (simple definition). • Focus of Hospital-Based Massage Class is on competencies associated with working in the hospital environment.

  7. These are not your typical massage therapy practice clients • Hospital • Patients • Often very sick and perhaps dying • Contraindications are common Massage Therapy Clinic • Clients • Relatively Healthy • Contra-indications are rare

  8. These is not your typical massage therapy practice setting • Hospital • Bright lighting – may or may be controllable • Hospital Bed • Interruptions common • Schedule random and even chaotic Massage therapy clinic setting • Dim or at least controllable lighting • Massage table • Private, controlled environment • Scheduling: regular, predicable

  9. Hospital Based Massage Therapy Practice is NOT for everyone! • Unpredictable and sometimes volatile environment • Strong interpersonal skills essential • Personal sense of resilience required • In many ways the environment is opposite to the environments many therapists seek.

  10. What Hospital-Based Massage Therapy is Not • Not something your “Pathology” class prepared you for • Not “Medical Massage” • A massage “technique” • Hospital is a highly clinical environment but there is not a strong clinical focus required of massage therapists in the hospital. • At least for now, the emphasis in most hospital settings is on massage therapy affecting the areas we are best known for and for which there is the most evidence (i.e. reduction in stress, anxiety, general pain and depressive symptoms).

  11. Historical Considerations • Dr. Johann Mezger – 1839-1909 • A physician credited with bringing massage to the scientific community. • Presented massage to fellow physicians as a form of medical treatment and physical rehabilitation. • Popularity in the medical community grew and early research bolstered support for the emerging field.

  12. Nursing and Massage Therapy • Massage was part of the curriculum for nurses since the mid 1800’s • Physical therapists used massage therapy as treatment for certain medical conditions • Nurses used it mostly for comfort. • Were perhaps unaware of the physiological benefits

  13. American Journal of Nursing Helen Bartlett was an Instructor in Massage at Johns Hopkins Hospital Training School for Nurses. “Mechano-therapy, in exact definition massage and medical gymnastics, is a method of healing existent in some form during all history. In approximately the last decade it has undergone radical revision, and through a perhaps exceptionally slow evolution has reached a definite status. It is, in brief, a department of the science of medicine, circumscribed, indeed, but of distinct and acknowledged value. The practice of mechano-therapy, no longer, as in earlier struggles for recognition, performed of necessity by the physician himself, is controlled now by him, but assigned to an assistant.” Bartlett, Helen Conkling, The Teaching of Massage to Pupils in Hospital Training-Schools, The American Journal of Nursing, Vol. 1, No. 10 (Jul., 1901), pp. 718-721

  14. American Journal of Nursing “There continues, of course, much general ignorance and distrust of a therapeutic measure for long almost given over to quackery, and the present work, certainly in America, of both teachers and practitioners, is in many ways still that of a pioneer” 3 qualifications for massage specialists: • “A good touch in massage” • “Sufficient theoretical knowledge to detect abnormal conditions and to distinguish between serious and less serious symptoms.” • “An infinite fund of resources which can only be the result of individual experiences; essential alike for normal changes and the emergencies of practice.” Bartlett, Helen Conkling, The Teaching of Massage to Pupils in Hospital Training-Schools, The American Journal of Nursing, Vol. 1, No. 10 (Jul., 1901), pp. 718-721

  15. American Journal of Nursing Helene Biermann, RN was an instructor of massage therapy at the Graduate Training School at the German Hospital, New York “Massage should never be given except on a physician’s orders. When employed as a treatment after injuries and diseases, it should be in the hands of a person who not only possesses the necessary technical skill acquired by painstaking toil in massage, but who has also a thorough knowledge of the movement cure, and understands the nature and course of the disease as well.” Biermann, Helene; Notes on Massage, The American Journal of Nursing, Vol. 7, No. 7 (Apr., 1907), pp. 534-538

  16. American Journal of Nursing “The result [of massage] is usually delightful, sedative and tonic. During massage treatment most patients are in a state of repose. Generally those who relax to their treatment enjoy it and feel gloriously indifferent, and needless apprehensions are dispelled. But without the sympathetic touch the [massage therapist] may fail to cause these desirable results and produce, instead, quite opposite effects. The sympathetic touch is inborn and cannot be taught nor explained. It can be improved, but it cannot be acquired if it is not there. It is a mystery.” Churchill, Anna Quincy, Massage, Its Physiological Effects The American Journal of Nursing, Vol. 15, No. 8 (May, 1915), pp. 635-640

  17. What Happened??? 4 main factors to blame • Increase in patient load due to nursing shortages • The requirement for additional documentation by governmental regulators • New methods of billing demanded by insurance carriers • The growth of medical technology and drugs over hands-on methods of care. MacDonald, Gayle (2005), Massage for the Hospital Patient and Medically Frail Client. Baltimore: Lippincott Williams and Wilkins

  18. But the pendulum is swinging back • There is a recognition of the high-tech, specialized, fragmented nature of care in the hospital and that hands-on human touch can provide a sense of wholeness. • Skyrocketing healthcare costs, including pharmaceuticals and hospitalization have folks scrambling and more open to looking to CAM as a part of the solution. • Awareness of CAM and openness to it growing – NCCAM, NARCCIM, CAHCIM • CAM education included in medical school training

  19. General Employment and Economic Trends in Health Care and the Hospital Environment

  20. Total Prescription Drug Spending, 1980 – 2007(1) Source: Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, Office of the Actuary. Data released January 6, 2009. (1) CMS completed a benchmark revision in 2006, introducing changes in methods, definitions and source data that are applied to the entire time series (back to 1960). For more information on this revision, see (2) Expressed in 1980 dollars; adjusted using the overall Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers.

  21. National Health Expenditures(1),1980 – 2018(2) Source: Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, Office of the Actuary. Data released February 23, 2009. (1) Years 2008 – 2018 are projections. (2) CMS completed a benchmark revision in 2006, introducing changes in methods, definitions and source data that are applied to the entire time series (back to 1960). For more information on this revision, see

  22. National Supply and Demand Projections for RNs,2000 – 2020 Shortage of over 1,000,000 nurses in 2020 Source: National Center For Health Workforce Analysis, Bureau of Health Professions, Health Resources and Services Administration. (2004). What Is Behind HRSA’s Projected Supply, Demand, and Shortage of Registered Nurses? Link:

  23. Number of Hospital Employees, 1993 – 2007 Source: Avalere Health analysis of American Hospital Association Annual Survey data, 2007, for community hospitals.

  24. Hospital Employment vs. Employment in Other Industries, 2008(1) Source: Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Current Employment Statistics (CES) Survey, customized tables. Data released 2009. Link: (1) 2008 figures reflect annual projections.

  25. Average Weekly Earnings of Workers, Hospitals(1) vs. All Service-providing Industries, 1990 – 2007 Source: Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Current Employment Statistics (CES) Survey, customized tables. Data released 2009. Link: (1) Includes physicians employed by hospitals.

  26. Percent Change in Employment Hospital vs. All Industries, 06 – 08 2006 2007 2008 Source: Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics. Link:

  27. American Hospital Asssociation President and CEO – Rich Umbdenstock: “Complementary and alternative medicine has shown great promise in supporting and stimulating healing," said.  "It's one of the many tools hospitals look to as they continue to create optimal healing environments for the patients they serve."

  28. Trends Related to Massage Therapists in Health Care and Hospital Environments

  29. Current Trends - “What” Sept. 2008 report in Health Forum – An affiliate of the American Hospital Association found: A growing proportion of hospitals are responding to patient demand and integrating complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) services with conventional services In 2007, more than 37% of hospitals offered one or more CAM therapies, up from 7.7% in 1998 The survey found that massage therapy is the top CAM service provided on an outpatient basis and is the second most popular service behind pet therapy in an inpatient setting.

  30. Current Trends – “Why” When asked primary rationale: Patient demand 84% Clinical effectiveness 67% Reflects organizational mission 57% Attract new patients 40% Physician’s request 40%

  31. Reasons Hospitals want to add MT • Patients are demanding it • Competition for patients. • Clinical outcomes • Ultimate goal of reducing costs – pharmaceuticals and length of stay. • It’s OK to be viewed as a “perk” at first – just need to get in the door.

  32. Current Trends – “Why” Reasons for massage in an hospital environment: Pain management 66% Massage for cancer patients 57% Pregnancy massage 55% Part of physical therapy 53% For mobility/movement training 45% Palliative care 41%

  33. “Effects of Massage in Acute and Critical Care” • Discussion of a systematic review of 22 articles examining the effect of massage on relaxation, comfort, and sleep. • Most consistent effect: reduction in anxiety. • 8/10 studies reported that massage significantly decreased anxiety or perception of tension. • 7/10 studies found that massage produced physiologic relaxation, as indicated by significant changes in the expected direction in one or more physiologic indicators. • In the 3 studies in which the effect of massage on discomfort was investigated, it was found to be effective in reducing pain. Richards, Kathy Culpepper RN, PhD et al, AACN Clinical Issues: Advanced Practice in Acute & Critical Care: February 2000 - Volume 11 - Issue 1 - pp 77-96

  34. Current Trends – “Who” Support for initiating CAM programs: Administration 53% Nursing 23% Physicians 22% Board 3%

  35. Relationship with Medical Staff • Critical to long term success of the program • Need “champions” • Referrals can be an indication of the quality of the relationships

  36. Current Trends – “How” Criteria Hospitals Used to Select CAM Therapies: Patient Demand 79% Evidence Based 72% Practitioner Availability 62% Market Research 27% Other 15%

  37. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics…. • “Employment for massage therapists is expected to increase 20 percent from 2006 to 2016, faster than average for all occupations.” • “Massage therapy’s growing acceptance as a medical tool, particularly by the medical provider and insurance industries, will have the greatest impact on new job growth for massage therapists.” • Fastest growing employment opportunity is in health care settings

  38. According to the AMTA 2009 industry report, the number of massage therapists reporting practicing in a health care setting increased from 10% in 2005 to 25% in 2009.

  39. The Baby Boomer Effect According to a study by the American Hospital Association “When I’m 64 – How Boomers Will Change Health Care”: “The wave of aging Baby Boomers will reshape the health care system forever. There will be more people enjoying their later years, but they’ll be managing more chronic conditions and therefore utilizing more health care services. By 2030: The over 65 population will nearly double as a result of the aging Boomers. More than six of every 10 Boomers will be managing more than one chronic condition.” “When I’m 64: How Boomers Will Change Health Care”, American Hospital Association Report, Washington, DC, May 2007

  40. The Baby Boomer Effect The convergence of four key factors drives how Boomers will impact U.S. health care: • There are significantly more of them and, as they age, they will require more health care services than any other generation of Americans. • The prevalence of chronic diseases is increasing among Boomers. • They have different needs and expectations than past generations. • More medical services and technologies are available to them than ever before. “When I’m 64: How Boomers Will Change Health Care”, American Hospital Association Report, Washington, DC, May 2007

  41. By 2030 Hospital Admissions of Boomers will more than double…