Integrating the International Classification of Functioning, Disability, and Health Model into Massage Therapy Research, Education, and Practice

Gerontology Department, College of Public Health and.
International Journal of Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork Research Education & Practice 12/2010; 3(4):29-36. DOI: 10.3822/ijtmb.v3i4.109
Source: PubMed


Without an increase in clearly defined and clinically significant outcomes research in massage therapy (MT), the practice is in jeopardy of remaining on the fringes of accepted and utilized therapeutic care. This reality will slow the integration of MT into routine preventive, rehabilitative, curative, and supportive care. The International Classification of Functioning, Disability, and Health (ICF) developed by the World Health Organization is a comprehensive model of functioning and disability that provides a universal taxonomy of human functioning that is recognized globally. Integration of the ICF model into MT research, education, and practice would provide a foundation for a common language, particularly in regard to examining outcomes of MT.Here, we review the dynamic and respected ICF model as it applies to massage research, outcomes dissemination, education, and practice, with these specific objectives:
To describe the specific domains of the ICF modelTo apply the described ICF domains to current massage practice and researchTo discuss how integration of the ICF model enhances communication and translation among those within and to those outside the MT fieldThe ICF model is ideal for application to MT interests because it works outside the typical focus on pathology or a specific organ system. Instead, the ICF focuses on impairment or limitations in functioning associated with health conditions. The ICF also highlights and incorporates the complex interactions of environment and personal factors and the impact that those factors exert on the domains of body structure, activity, and participation. This interaction has unique implications for MT practitioners, researchers, and clients/patients. Furthermore, the ICF model provides a framework for classifying outcomes, which is a critical aspect of clinical research.

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