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This article is part of the supplement: Scientific Abstracts Presented at the International Research Congress on Integrative Medicine and Health 2012

Open Access Poster presentation

P05.31. Development of a manualized protocol of massage therapy for clinical trials in osteoarthritis

A Ali1*, J Kahn2, L Rosenberger3 and A Perlman4

  • * Corresponding author: A Ali

Author Affiliations

1 Yale University School of Medicine, Derby, USA

2 University of Vermont, Burlington, USA

3 Yale-Griffin Prevention Research Center, Derby, USA

4 Duke University, Durham, USA

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BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine 2012, 12(Suppl 1):P391  doi:10.1186/1472-6882-12-S1-P391

The electronic version of this article is the complete one and can be found online at:

Published:12 June 2012

© 2012 Ali et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Manualization is considered to be an integral methodologic component for rigorous research on complementary and alternative therapies. Clinical trial design of manual therapies may be especially challenging since techniques are often individualized and practitioner-dependent.


Here we describe our methodology in creating a standardized and reproducible massage intervention tailored to subjects with osteoarthritis of the knee while respectful of the individualized nature of massage therapy.


The manualized protocol specifies the body regions to be addressed, with distinct 30 and 60-minute protocols, as well as the standard Swedish strokes to be used (effleurage, petrissage, tapotement, vibration, friction, and skin rolling).


The resulting massage protocol was made reproducible, using standard massage techniques, as well as being flexible for individual subject variability. Aside from being reproducible this manualized Swedish massage protocol has successfully been used in a dual-site dose-finding clinical trial.