Dancing Prairie is a new Center for massage therapy treatment, education and research serving Iowa City, Eastern Iowa and the world with innovative programs that are already having a positive impact on health care practices
Massage is the study of anatomy in braille -- Jack Meagher
Honoring health with practices that support healthy humans for generations to come
Massage and Medicine, Anatomy and Pain Relief:
Integrating hands-on massage therapy and anatomy education improves learning outcomes and personal wellness for medical students
Darren Hoffmann, PhD1, Dede Dancing, LMT, CPT1 Marcy Rosenbaum, PhD2
The University of Iowa Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine, Iowa City, IA 52242
1Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology
2Department of Family Medicine.
Dancing Prairie is dedicated to helping our students enjoy the experiences and education they need to take their place in the health professional team, if that's a direction they'd like to explore with their career in Massage Therapy.
Interprofessional education (IPE) for health professionals facilitates collaboration and communication across boundaries often perceived by those professionals and their patients as barriers. Patients often keep their health care explorations to themselves for fear of offending, or facing negative judgment from, their care providers. Health professionals often experience a form of tunnel vision within their specialty. IPE helps us cooperate respectfully as we work with patients towards health and comfort.
Excerpt from the University of Iowa website:
Interprofessional education (IPE) is leading the way that health professions students are learning together to work together in order to best meet the needs of patients in our evolving health care practice environments.
A Proposed IPE Strategic Plan for the UI Health Science Colleges
Mission: To promote excellence in educational preparation and practice in prevention, wellness, and healthcare through team-based, interprofessional collaborative learning experiences.
Vision: Interprofessional education at The University of Iowa will promote an institutional culture, learning environment, and infrastructure that produce graduates recognized for their ability to effectively engage as collaborative team members in healthcare settings. See more about this in Research
Dancing Prairie students have already experienced some of the benefits of this sort of education with collaborative anatomy classes for massage therapists and medical students. Massage Therapy and Medicine is a course Dr. Darren Hoffmann (an Anatomist at UI Carver College of Medicine) and I (Dede Dancing) developed and taught first as a research project in medical education. See more about this in Research.
We found participating in the course enhanced the students' own wellness, increased their understanding of both anatomy and massage, and helped them feel more comfortable and confident as they perform physical exams. Massage therapy students assisted the medical students during the class and also reported excellent learning outcomes, including more comfort in conversations with physicians.
To apply for acceptance to Dancing Prairie Massage Therapy College, contact Dede:
Register Online (coming soon)
We are looking for excellent teachers who have been/are successful massage therapists. Please contact Dede Dancing at 319-471-7543 or Dede@DancingPrairie.com to apply for these positions.
Dede Dancing, AA—Human Services, LMT, CPT, BCTMB
Dancing Prairie Founder/Dreamer/Teacher
Adjunct lecturer Dept. of Anatomy and Cell Biology
University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine
While enjoying more than 15 years of successful private practice, I have focused on developing skills that help clients establish and maintain health and comfort. I am a passionate proponent of massage therapy as an important aspect of health care, embracing both the science and the wonder of this excellent profession.
My therapeutic techniques/strategies integrate foundations in human services and Swedish/Western massage with continuing studies and practice in:
I have been honored to teach in a variety of environments including the trucking industry, human services, and most recently, five years with East-West school of Integrative Healing Arts.
At Dancing Prairie, I collaborate with others to develop and deliver an enjoyable educational curriculum which prepares students well for the licensing exam and to have fun with a successful, rewarding career.
Darren Hoffmann, PhD, Assistant Professor
Dept. of Anatomy and Cell Biology
UI Carver College of Medicine
Adjunct Faculty at Dancing Prairie
Dr. Darren Hoffmann received his PhD in Anatomy and Cell Biology from The University of Iowa in 2006. Since then he has been faculty at The University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine and College of Dentistry, teaching gross anatomy in multiple health professions programs. His educational research is focused on how students learn best outside of the classroom. He was part of the Iowa City team that developed Cyber-Anatomy, a 3D virtual cadaver program, now used by students at The University of Iowa and around the world. Four years ago, Darren and Dede started collaborating around their shared interest in anatomy, massage and self-care. Since then, they have taught multiple massage and anatomy courses together, working with students from Medical and Massage Therapy programs to create a novel learning community, and enhance the education of future doctors with advanced skills in palpation, massage for pain relief, and self-care.
At Dancing Prairie, Darren will teach Gross Anatomy. He'll also collaborate in developing educational programs and educational outcomes research. He hopes to help bodyworkers and other medical health care providers find a common language in the complex relationships of the human bodys systems, and inform the work of all health care providers by providing experiences in touching with therapeutic intent and taking care of their own bodies.
Marcy Rosenbaum, PhD,
Professor of Family Medicine
UI Carver College of Medicine
Adjunct Faculty at Dancing Prairie
Dr. Rosenbaum introduced Dede and Darren to one another in 2011, and originally inspired their development of the Massage and Medicine course.
Her roles in Dancing Prairie will include teaching Professional Communications Workshops, and collaborating/consulting in the evaluation of our educational programs.
Lauren Hanna, MD
Mercy Family Medicine
Adjunct faculty for Dancing Prairie
Dr. Hanna received her medical education from University of Iowa, completed her residency at University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, and is certified by the American Board of Family Medicine.
At Dancing Prairie, Lauren will provide medical consultation and oversight in addition to teaching a course in Pathology.
We love to help people recover and maintain comfortable lives.
I study and practice effective treatment modalities for injury rehabilitation and pain conditions — including tendonitis, plantar fasciaitis, and nerve entrapment syndromes like carpel tunnel. Clients/patients and I work to re-establish comfortable range-of-motion in damaged or dysfunctional joints. We are getting excellent results in relief from chronic as well as acute low-back, neck and shoulder pain.
People recovering from surgery work with me to minimize adhesions and scarring. Increasing the flow of blood, lymph, and energy through the site eases discomfort and speeds their return to health.
My internship with Cancer Care of Iowa City (Mercy) prior to graduation led me to research and practice therapeutic tools for work with lymph edema, immune system enhancement, and comfort during chemotherapy. I still work often with people living through cancer.
Re-establish a healthy mind-body connection
When we suffer trauma — emotional or physical, injury or disease — as we all do in this life, it is sometimes easier to bear if we disconnect, to some extent, from our bodies.
Often people feel their bodies have failed or betrayed them. Fears and anxiety put us off balance, making it difficult to relax. These natural responses to trauma can interfere with our ability to fully engage our whole selves in the process of healing.
Massage can help re-establish a positive connection between your mind and body--for some, it will be a whole new way of feeling that connection.
Our bodies function and feel best when fluids flow freely, and our soft tissues are actually soft.
Injury, illness, stress, and hard times can begin a cycle of tension, pain, inactivity, hardening, and constriction in our bodies that feels bad, and is self-perpetuating.
Massage can help break this cycle by separating adhesions between tissues, and manually "pumping" fluids and oxygen through our systems. This can be especially important in areas with scarring.
As we feel better, it becomes easier to move around and enjoy our lives, leading us to cycle toward health.
Enjoy an active life
Whether you work a job that is physically challenging, or participate in sports — as an amateur, professional, or weekend warrior — your body will occasionally let you know you have over-extended.
Massage therapy increases the circulation of blood and lymph fluid through your muscles, bringing oxygen and nutrients to, and flushing metabolic wastes (perhaps the cause of Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness) from those muscle tissues.
Massage thus reduces the likelihood of injury, and increases the longevity of your enjoyment in your activities.
To book an appointment contact Dede Dancing at 319-471-7543 or Dede@DancingPrairie.com.
Online booking coming in the Fall of 2017.
Darren and I intend to continue to collaborate on research projects through Dancing Prairie. We will also offer Dancing Prairie facilities and support for other projects. Applications for Dancing Prairie support of your project will be available in the summer of 2017.
Current interests include but are not limited to:
Massage and Medicine; An IPE approach for learning musculoskeletal surface anatomy
Darren S. Hoffmann, PhD1, Dede Dancing, LMT1,3, Marcy Rosenbaum, PhD2
The University of Iowa Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine
1Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology
2Department of Family Medicine
3East-West School of Integrated Healing Arts and Massage Therapy College
This work was supported by the above organizations and a grant from the University of Iowa Council on Teaching.
The University of Iowa Institutional Review Board for human subjects research approved this research.
Purpose: A key part of medical training is socializing students to the whole healthcare team including Physical Therapy, Nursing, Pharmacy, Dentistry, and Complementary and Alternative Medicine. There are many calls to increase these opportunities for medical students1,2,3 and common recommendations include elective, experiential courses4,5. Surface anatomy (SA) is often not taught directly in medical anatomy courses, and this is a common language for physicians and other members of the healthcare team. We hypothesized SA instruction, integrated with instruction about massage therapy (MT) for pain relief and hands-on practice would provide several beneficial outcomes: deeper knowledge of musculoskeletal SA, enhanced personal wellness, greater comfort with physical exam skills and increased understanding of MT and its role in healthcare.
Methods: Forty first-year medical (MD) and Physician Assistant (PA) students were randomized to (A) view online videos/readings on MT and SA, or (B) view the same online materials and complete 9 hours of integrated hands-on training in MT. Students completed pre/post assessments of SA knowledge, personal wellness, principles of MT and attitudes about MT. Following the course, students completed evaluations and participated in focus groups.
Results: Both groups showed evidence of learning in MT and SA, and changes in attitudes. Hands-on students showed higher overall SA scores than online students (73.5% vs. 67.4%, p<0.05), particularly in the back/neck region (71.6% vs. 62.5%, p<0.05). The hands-on group showed significant improvements in physical and psychological wellness (Physical: Hands-on 5.75%3.47 vs. Online 0.00%1.80; Psychological: Hands-on 4.90%2.54 vs. Online -1.25%0.88; p<0.05). Hands-on students appreciated opportunities to learn and apply anatomy knowledge on living structures. Hands-on students reported increased comfort in touching patients during physical exams.
Conclusions: Learning about SA in the context of MT had multiple benefits that went beyond the direct learning objectives of the course. IPE programs centered around common scientific languages should be encouraged.
1. Howell, W. (2012) More medical schools offer instruction in complementary and alternative therapies. AAMC Reporter. (retrieved from www.aamc.org/newsroom/reporter)
2. Frye A, Sierpina V, Boisaubin E, Bulik R. (2006) Measuring what medical students think about complementary and alternative medicine (CAM): A pilot study of the complementary and alternative medicine survey. Advances in Health Sciences Education 11:19-32.
3. Abbott R, Hui KK, Hays RD, Mandel J, Goldstein M, Winegarden B, Glaser D, Brunton L. (2011) Medical student attitudes toward complementary, alternative and integrative medicine. Evidence Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine. 2011: 985243.
4. Wetzel M, Eisenberg D, Kaptchuk T. (1998) Courses involving complementary and alternative medicine at US medical schools. JAMA 280(9):784-787.
5. Wetzel M, Kaptchuk T, Haramati A, Eisenberg D. (2003) Complementary and alternative medical therapies: Implications for medical education. Annals of Internal Medicine 138: 191-196.
Dancing Prairie Needs a Home
Our first order of business will be to buy or rent the perfect facility in which to begin. We have found a home we are preparing to purchase. It inhabits nearly two acres of land on which we will plant food and herb gardens...and, of course some prairie :) An awesome place to learn, teach, and practice manual therapies and bodywork.
In addition to a large classroom space, there are several rooms that will be perfect for providing therapy. Contact us if you would like to rent one of those and become a Dancing Prairie Therapist.
Download an application to work with us -- Coming Soon!
Support our research -- Coming Soon!
Sponsor a student -- Coming Soon!
Dede's Commitment: I am committed to bringing the Dancing Prairie Center into reality and nurturing its potential for greatness.
I am excited about where we are now and have been enjoying our Massage and Medicine classes with our brand new EarthLite Spirits massage tables. It will be great to move them just one more time—to our new home!
I am beginning my search for just the right person/people with whom to share this Dancing Prairie dream, who will carry on when my time is done. Until then, I intend to enthusiastically provide both massage therapy and education through Dancing Prairie for many years.
In gratitude to those who have helped me forge most of the tools I use, I will always do my best to give credit where due. This is a partial list: