About MTRF


The Massage Therapy Research Fund (MTRF) was established in 2004, with initial contributions from the Registered Massage Therapists Association of Ontario, the Massage Therapy Association of British Columbia, individual Massage Therapists and the public. The CMTO has been the primary contributor the ensuring the sustainability of the fund since 2006.


The primary purpose of the MTRF is to fund high-quality and rigorous research in Massage Therapy in order to generate knowledge about Massage Therapy that is useful to both, the public in making healthcare decisions, and Registered Massage Therapists in the delivery of care. Its research priorities are as follows:

  • Massage Therapy effectiveness, efficacy and safety;
  • Access to and delivery of Massage Therapy services;
  • Professionalization of Massage Therapy;
  • Massage Therapy competencies and competency assessment;
  • Evaluation of Massage Therapy practices.


Administration of the MTRF is based on a guarantee that the funds allocated to the MTRF by the College were safeguarded and managed appropriately. In addition, the Council is adamant that the research funded through the MTRF is of high scientific quality and appropriate ethical standards.

MTRF Administrators

  • 2004-2011 – Holistic Health Research Foundation of Canada (HHRFC)
  • 2011-2016 – IN-CAM Research Network
  • 2016-2018 – Centre for Integrative Medicine (CIM), University of Toronto

Given IN-CAM’s transition to become a chapter of the International Society for Complementary Medicine Research, IN-CAM will not be continuing in the role as MTRF administrator past the current contract end date.

In October 2015, the College issued a public Request for Proposals, inviting organizations in Ontario interested in taking over the role of MTRF administrator. On December 16, 2015, After a rigorous selection process and careful consideration, the Council of the CMTO has announced that the Centre for Integrative Medicine (CIM) at the University of Toronto, under the leadership of Dr. Lynda Balneaves, is now responsible for the Massage Therapy Research Fund (MTRF) and managing the funding competition.

For more information about the CIM and Dr. Balneaves, go here.

Annual funding competition

The MTRF research funding competition is a national  competition, run on an annual basis. It is announced once a year, at which time the MTRF Guidelines and MTRF Application Form are released. The submission deadline is set at the time of the competition announcement. Applications received undergo a rigorous two-phase review process, which takes between three and four months. Grant recipients are announced approximately five months after the competition is closed.

The total funding amount allocated per funding cycle will be determined on an annual basis by CMTO.  The amount allowed per grant shall not exceed $50,000. However, only one grant for $50,000 will be considered per funding cycle. A maximum of five grants per funding cycle can be awarded, provided the total amount of funds allocated for that year does not exceed $100,000.

Who can apply?

To ensure that MTRF-funded studies are conducted in a rigorous manner, the following are considered eligible to apply for a MTRF grant:

Established Canadian researchers – Individuals with research credentials (MSc or PhD), who hold faculty positions at a recognized research institution in Canada.

Research trainees in an MSc, PhD or post-doctoral program in Canada.

  • Confirmed supervisor (e.g. teaching or research faculty) appointed at a recognized Canadian research institution.
  • The supervisor must be indicated on the application.

Students (undergraduate, graduate) enrolled in a Canadian academic institution or in a Massage Therapy training program.

  • Confirmed supervisor (e.g. teaching or research faculty) appointed at a recognized research institution.
    The supervisor must be indicated on the application.

Massage Therapists who are collaborating with an established researcher or a research trainee at a recognized Canadian research institution for the purposes of conducting research.
Please note the following:

  • Grants cannot be held by an individual. They must be held at a research institution in Canada that administers research grants (university, teaching hospital, college). At least one of the researchers on the application must be based in such an institution.
  • Individuals holding a MTRF grant are not eligible to apply for a subsequent grant until the first has been finalized and closed. This is confirmed by receipt of the MTRF Completion Report and a Final Financial Report from the institution where the grant is held.

Current and upcoming MTRF competitions

Massage Therapy Research Fund: 2016 Funding Competition Now Closed.