Abstract ID: 2253

Primary Topic: Manual medicine/body work (including chiropractic and massage)
Secondary Topic: Patient-Centered Outcomes Research
Tertiary Topic: Clinical skills-building

Massage Perceptions and Experiences for Individuals with Amputations
Niki Munk, PhD, LMT; Sarah Shue, MS, Indiana University School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, Indianapolis, IN, United States; Nick Rattay, PhD, Indiana University School of Liberal Arts, Indianapolis, IN, United States

Late Breaker: No


Massage therapy (MT) is self-reported by those with amputation as effective, but little MT research related to amputation exists. We sought to understand how people with amputations perceive MT in terms of expected outcomes and utilization.

Methods/Session Format

We conducted a mixed methods study using a two group modified convergent parallel design differing in massage exposure. This study continues prior work conducted among MT practitioners experienced in working with clients with amputation.


N=131 (n=74 MT Experienced) adults with amputation completed the study’s quantitative portion. N=26 (n=14 MT Experienced) interviews were conducted. Qualitative analysis of transcribed interviews resulted in several primary themes. First, how clients perceive individual therapists impacts their perspectives on treatment. Second, clients have concerns with how MT is delivered, reflected in perceptions of value and potential utilization. Third, participants identified both general and amputation-specific barriers, and reported a range of positive and negative outcomes. MT Experienced participants expressed desire to give back to the limb loss community specifically in relation to massage.

Although massage perception and experience for those with amputation likely overlaps other populations, several amputation specific findings are notable. Apprehension existed regarding the extent to which MT practitioners can address amputation related complexity and presentation uniqueness. Confident and appropriate communication was identified as necessary traits for effective MT practitioners for clients with amputation.


Study results combined with earlier MT practitioner population work and critical consideration of current MT education and practice may provide informative guidance to the field on how to best meet the limb loss community’s needs.