Massage & Bodywork

SEPTEMBER | OCTOBER 2018

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TIFFANY FIELD ~ By Karrie Osborn Touch Therapy Researcher Massage therapy research, and the acceptance of massage in general, might not be where it is today if not for the landmark work of Tiffany Field, PhD. GIVING US VOICE (AND LEGITIMACY) Field will quickly remind you she was not alone in her research endeavors, and was not without support along the way. But if not for Field's work detailing the benefi ts of touch on premature infants in the 1980s, the media might not have been as interested in massage as early as it was (there is no better feel-good story), large corporations might not have sponsored millions of dollars of massage research when they did ( Johnson & Johnson's brand was eager to attach to touch studies), and a public gun-shy with unrealized new-age promises might have taken much longer to show widespread public acceptance for therapeutic massage. Through the work of Field and her research colleagues, the world saw massage in a new, tangible, science-based light. As a professor in the departments of pediatrics, psychology, and psychiatry at the University of Miami School of Medicine and director of the Touch Research Institute (TRI), you'll fi nd Field's name appears in most textbooks about massage theory and massage research, and is synonymous in many ways with pediatric massage—not for technique, but for validating the science behind it. And she believes as strongly today in the therapeutic value of massage as she did 30 years ago. As she wrote in The Guardian in 2014, "Like diet and exercise, everyone needs a daily dose of touch." 1 From the New York Times, to Life magazine, to the New Yorker, Field and her colleagues are the ones sought after for comment and quotes about the benefi ts of massage, largely because of her published works and her place at the head of the massage research table. Hers has become the founding standard for massage research, and she remains an icon to many in the massage research community today. CREATING A RESEARCHER Research was not necessarily the path Field was originally headed. With degrees in psychology and occupational therapy (and a bit of dinner theater) under her belt, Field and a fellow actor set off for a two-year sailing journey around the world in 1972. The two adventurers made a 31-foot Golden s science

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