Ep 355 – A Practice-Based Research Network with Dr. Niki Munk and Sami Zabel

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MassageNet.org is a practice-based research network (PBRN) that focuses on massage therapy research. In this episode of The ABMP Podcast, Darren and Kristin are joined by Dr. Niki Munk and Sami Zabel to discuss how MassageNet provides resources to clinicians, researchers, and other massage therapy stakeholders to combine efforts to grow research in massage therapy, what involvement in MassageNet looks like, and some of the current research happening now.


Website: https://www.massagenet.org/

Author Images: 
Author Bio: 

Dr. Niki Munk is Chair and Associate Professor of Health Sciences at the Indiana University School of Health and Human Sciences, a nonpracticing licensed massage therapist in Kentucky, and a steering committee member for the Indiana Consortium for Integrative Medicine and Health. Dr. Munk earned her doctorate in gerontology from the University of Kentucky in 2011, and her research explores real-world massage therapy for chronic pain and associated factors, including emotional well-being, trigger point self-care, and accessibility challenges to massage. Before her academic career, she had a clinical massage practice focused on older adults and was the program director and instructor at the Lexington Healing Arts Academy. Dr. Munk has been a longtime volunteer with the Massage Therapy Foundation (MTF) and has served on their Board of Trustees since 2018. In her capacity as Research Committee Chair, she has led and overseen the revitalization and relaunch of MassageNet, the MTF-supported practice-based research network.

Sami Zabel is a doctoral candidate at Indiana University and a trained massage therapist. During her massage training, she realized that the scientific literature about massage is still very limited, so she decided the best way for her to serve the massage profession would be to become a massage researcher. She enrolled in Indiana University’s Health and Rehabilitation Science PhD program under Dr. Niki Munk to become a researcher. During her studies, Sami became involved in the revival of MassageNet. She helped develop a new enrollment survey, administrative documents, and procedures to ensure MassageNet runs smoothly and creates a nurturing environment for massage therapists to learn about and become involved in research. Sami is using MassageNet as part of her dissertation study, investigating what massage therapists know and understand about mental health and how that translates to clients’ experiences. She hopes to continue working with MassageNet and the Massage Therapy Foundation throughout her career.


Darren Buford is senior director of communications and editor-in-chief for ABMP. He is editor of Massage & Bodywork magazine and has worked for ABMP for 22 years, and been involved in journalism at the association, trade, and consumer levels for 24 years. He has served as board member and president of the Western Publishing Association, as well as board member for Association Media & Publishing. Contact him at editor@abmp.com.

Kristin Coverly, LMT is a massage therapist, educator, and the director of professional education at ABMP. She loves creating continuing education courses, events, and resources to support massage therapists and bodyworkers as they enhance their lives and practices. Contact her at ce@abmp.com.



Anatomy Trains: www.anatomytrains.com


PurePro: www.purepro.com


Touch America: www.touchamerica.com


Anatomy Trains is a global leader in online anatomy education and also provides in-classroom certification programs for structural integration in the US, Canada, Australia, Europe, Japan, and China, as well as fresh-tissue cadaver dissection labs and weekend courses. The work of Anatomy Trains originated with founder Tom Myers, who mapped the human body into 13 myofascial meridians in his original book, currently in its fourth edition and translated into 12 languages. The principles of Anatomy Trains are used by osteopaths, physical therapists, bodyworkers, massage therapists, personal trainers, yoga, Pilates, Gyrotonics, and other body-minded manual therapists and movement professionals. Anatomy Trains inspires these practitioners to work with holistic anatomy in treating system-wide patterns to provide improved client outcomes in terms of structure and function.                    

Website: anatomytrains.com    

Email: info@anatomytrains.com          

Facebook: facebook.com/AnatomyTrains                     

Instagram: www.instagram.com/anatomytrainsofficial

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC2g6TOEFrX4b-CigknssKHA  


Pure Pro Massage Products

From the start in 1992, Pure Pro has distinguished itself by adhering to its values of quality, purity, efficacy, and education.

Pure Pro knows that discerning massage therapists deserve high-quality products that perfectly support and enhance healing work. Pure Pro Massage Products are created by massage therapists for massage therapists and bodyworkers who care deeply about the quality of their massage products.

Pure Pro products are nut-free, gluten-free, cruelty-free, and made with natural ingredients in the USA. Pure Pro’s full line of oils, creams, and Arnica lotion has everything you need for your favorite modality and will always leave your clients’ skin feeling clean and fresh after each treatment.

Listeners can receive $10 off their next order of $59 or more at PurePro.com by using promo code ABMPPOD.

Website: http://www.purepro.com

Email: info@purepro.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/purepromassageproducts

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/purepromassageproducts/

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCncpFzRVwZA_V_SnylkHyMw


TouchAmerica is a leading manufacturer of professional grade wellness furniture, bodywork tables, halotherapy suites, hydrotherapy equipment, sound bathing loungers, and other related products. At TouchAmerica, we believe in a future where good health and vitality are common in all aspects of living. Promoting the positive power of conscious touch is at the core of our vision. We hope our products help add a touch of functional elegance to your massage & spa work environment. ABMP members receive 20% off all standard products. Discounts do not apply to salt or special-order SKUs.

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New Massage Board Created in Alabama

On May 15, 2024, Governor Kay Ivey signed into law Senate Bill 137, terminating the Alabama Board of Massage Therapy and its functions to create the new Alabama Massage Therapy Licensing Board. Learn key takeaways from the bill and how its passage may affect you.

Tennessee Regulatory Update

Tennessee massage therapy education requirements increased from 500 hours to 650. ABMP would like to share an update to explain how that change came about and give some overdue credit to those who made it happen.

Alabama Board in Jeopardy of Dissolution

Without your support, the Alabama massage therapy profession is in danger of losing its regulatory board, which could result in inconsistent regulation or none at all. Call Governor Kay Ivey to encourage the passage of Senate Bill 137 to protect massage regulation.



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