Adaptation of the CARE Guidelines for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork Publications: Efforts To Improve the Impact of Case Reports

Int J Ther Massage Bodywork. 2014 Sep 3;7(3):32-40. doi: 10.3822/ijtmb.v7i3.251. eCollection 2014 Sep.


Case reports provide the foundation of practice-based evidence for therapeutic massage and bodywork (TMB), as well as many other health-related fields. To improve the consistency of information contained in case reports, the CARE (CAse REport) Group developed and published a set of guidelines for the medical community to facilitate systematic data collection ( Because of the differences between the practice of medicine and TMB, modifying some sections of the CARE guidelines is necessary to make them compatible with TMB case reports. Accordingly, the objectives of this article are to present the CARE guidelines, apply each section of the guidelines to TMB practice and reporting with suggested adaptations, and highlight concerns, new ideas, and other resources for potential authors of TMB case reports. The primary sections of the CARE guidelines adapted for TMB case reports are diagnostic assessment, follow-up and outcomes, and therapeutic intervention. Specifically, because diagnosis falls outside of the scope of most TMB practitioners, suggestions are made as to how diagnoses made by other health care providers should be included in the context of a TMB case report. Additionally, two new aspects of the case presentation section are recommended: a) assessment measures, which outline and describe the outcome measures on which the case report will focus, and b) a description of the TMB provider (i.e., scope of practice, practice environment, experience level, training, credentialing, and/or expertise) as part of the intervention description. This article culminates with practical resources for TMB practitioners writing case reports, including a TMB Case Report Template-a single document that TMB practitioners can use to guide his or her process of writing a case report. Once the template is adopted by authors of TMB case reports, future efforts can explore the impact on the quality and quantity of case reports and how they impact TMB practice, research, education and, ultimately, the clients.

Keywords: case study; evidenced-based practice; manual therapy; massage therapy.