Research: VERHOEF and PAGE,

Listed in Issue 35


VERHOEF and PAGE, Department of Community Health Sciences, Faculty of Medicine, University of Calgary. investigated the knowledge, opinions and referral behaviour of family physicians regarding massage therapy.



The authors conducted a random, cross-sectional mailed survey of Alberta family practice physicians (n = 300). The survey was composed of questions regarding sociodemographic and practice characteristics, perceived knowledge of massage therapy, opinions regarding its usefulness, government regulations of massage therapy and referral behaviour.


161 physicians (54%) completed the questionnaire. 68% of respondents stated they had minimal or no knowledge of massage therapy ; however, despite this low level of knowledge, 83% believed that massage therapy was a useful adjunct to their own practice. In fact, 71% had referred patients to massage therapists and 72% perceived an increasing demand from their patients for massage therapy. About ½ of the physicians surveyed supported government regulation of massage therapy.


Physicians showed a discrepancy between their knowledge of massage therapy and their opinions of, and referrals to, massage therapists. Those physicians who referred patients to massage therapists generally held more positive opinions and had greater knowledge of the discipline.


Verhoef MJ and Page SA. Physicians perspectives on massage therapy, Can Fam Physician 44: 1018-20. May 1998 .

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