To investigate the impact of a unique curriculum combining learning of surface anatomy and massage therapy for medical and physician assistant students.
The authors conducted a randomized controlled trial in 2014 at University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine with 20 first-year students who viewed 4 hours of educational videos and participated in 11 hours of hands-on massage practice and 20 first-year students who only viewed the educational videos. Participants completed pre- and postcourse assessments of knowledge, attitudes, and personal wellness and completed a validated assessment of four dimensions of personal wellness.
Hands-on group participants outscored the online-only group in postcourse knowledge assessments of surface anatomy and massage therapy principles (P < .05). Students in the hands-on group reported higher agreement with statements about perceived knowledge and beliefs about referrals and advising patients regarding massage therapy (P < .05). Students also frequently reported greater comfort administering physical examinations. Hands-on group participants had statistically significant improvements in psychological wellness during the study (P = .03), whereas online-only participants had a slight decrease (P = .09). Physical wellness was also slightly improved in the hands-on group (P = .06).
Findings show that integrating surface anatomy and massage therapy in an experiential course resulted in significant gains in knowledge of anatomy, understanding about interprofessional health care roles, increased confidence in clinical practice, and improved wellness. Accordingly, further development of learning experiences that incorporate basic science, interprofessional education, and techniques that promote student wellness should be encouraged.
D.S. Hoffmann is assistant professor, Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology, University of Iowa Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine, Iowa City, Iowa.
D. Dancing is director and faculty, Dancing Prairie Massage Therapy College and Pain Relief Center, and adjunct faculty, Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology, University of Iowa Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine, Iowa City, Iowa.
M. Rosenbaum is professor, Department of Family Medicine, University of Iowa Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine, Iowa City, Iowa.
Funding/Support: This work was supported financially by a grant to the authors from the University of Iowa Council on Teaching.
Other disclosures: None reported.
Ethical approval: This study has been approved by the University of Iowa Institutional Review Board for human subjects research (2014, no. 201403757).
Previous presentations: This research has been presented in a poster at the International Association of Medical Science Educators Annual Conference, June 13, 2015, San Diego, California; and a poster at the Association of American Medical Colleges Central Group on Educational Affairs Conference, March 29, 2017, in Chicago, Illinois.
Supplemental digital content for this article is available at http://links.lww.com/ACADMED/A636.
Correspondence should be addressed to Darren S. Hoffmann, 51 Newton Rd., Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology, 1-402 BSB, Iowa City, IA 52242; telephone: (319) 335-7704; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.