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Faculty180 – Vita and Individual Profile Data Sheet

Niki Munk, PhD, LMT

Fall 1980 - Fall 2120

SCU Health - Clinical and Health Services Research


Current Position

  • Position: Associated Faculty


Dr. Niki Munk is Chair and Associate Professor of Health Sciences in Indiana University’s School of Health & Human Sciences in Indianapolis, a non-practicing Kentucky licensed massage therapist, founding steering committee member for the Indiana Consortium for Integrative Medicine and Health, and one of 13 international Fellows in ARCCIM’s International Complementary Medicine Research Leadership Program. Niki worked as Program Director and instructor for the Lexington Healing Arts Academy (Kentucky) from 2002-2006. Discouraged by accessibility barriers to massage therapy faced by much of the population, she chose research and academia to help bridge the accessibility gap reasoning that stronger evidence for the field will lead to increased routine 3rd party coverage for massage treatment. After completing her doctorate in gerontology from the University of Kentucky in 2011, Niki has developed a robust research career focused on real-world massage therapy for chronic pain and associated factors including emotional well-being, trigger point self-care, and accessibility challenges to massage. Niki’s expertise and interests span several stakeholder domains including that of non-pharmacological treatment clinicians, care provider, and researcher. Niki’s is a Massage Therapy Foundation Trustee since 2018 and focuses her service on massage clinician research engagement and developing the massage field into a sustainable and viable career while improving treatment accessibility and utilization for all people.



Ph.D., Gerontology, University of Kentucky, Lexington, Kentucky, United States


B.A., Theatre, University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, Alabama, United StatesDissertation:

Scholarly Contributions and Creative Productions

Journal Article


Munk, N.; Cates, C.; Jorden, K.; Farrand, R.; Kennedy, A. .; Groninger, H. Massage Therapy in Palliative Care Populations: A Narrative Review of Literature from 2012 to 2022. Annals of Palliative Medicine 2023, 96375–96975.
Munk, N.; Heavner, S.; Stuenkel, M.; Sellers, R.; McCallus, R.; Dean, K.; Wilson, C.; Shuffler, M.; Britt, T.; Taylor, S.; Benedum, M.; Mayo, R.; Cartmell, K.; Griffin, S.; KenBritnedy, A. “I Don’t Want to Go to Work”: A Mixed-Methods Analysis of Healthcare Worker Experiences from the Front- and Side-Lines of Covid 19. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 2023, 5953.
Munk, N.; Rosenow, M. Perpetuating Victimization with Efforts to Reduce Human Trafficking: A Call to Action for Massage Therapist Protection                      . IJTMB 2023, 44–53.
Munk, N.; Groninger, H.; Nemati, D.; Cates, C.; Jorden, K.; Kelemen, A. . Massage Therapy for Hospitalized Patients Receiving Palliative Care: A Randomized Clinical Trial. Journal of Pain and Symptom Management 2023, 428–441.
Munk, N.; Daggy, J.; Evans, E.; Kline, M.; Slaven, J.; Laws, B.; McCalley, S.; Foote, T.; Matthias, M.; Bair, M. Therapist Delivered vs. Care Ally-Assisted Massage for Veterans with Chronic Neck Pain: TOMCATT Study Methods and Modified Design of a Randomized Control Trial. JMIR Research Protocols 2022, e38950.
Munk, N.; Hall, H.; Lauche, R.; Fogarty, S.; Kloester, J.; Carr, B. Partner Delivered Relaxation Massage to Support Mild Antenatal Anxiety: Views of Participants                      . Midwifery 2022, 105.
Munk, N.; Shue, S.; Matthias, M. .; Watson, D. .; Miller, K. . The Career Transition Experiences of Military Veterans: A Qualitative Study. Military Psychology 2021, 33, 359–371.
Munk, N.; Almojaibel, A.; Goodfellow, L. .; Fisher, T. .; Miller, K. .; Comer, A. .; Bakas, T.; Justiss, M. . Determinants of Telerehabilitation Acceptance among Patients Attending Pulmonary Rehabilitation Programs in the United States. Saudi Journal of Medicine & Medical Sciences 2021, 230.
Munk, N.; Oliver, A.; Stanton-Nichols, K. Applying Theory to Overcome Internal Barriers for Healthy Behavior Change in Adults with Intellectual Disabilities. Journal of Intellectual Disabilities. Journal of Intellectual Disabilities 2021.
Munk, N.; Zhang, Y.; Lauche, R.; Cramer, H.; Dennis, J. . Increasing Trend of Yoga Practice among US Adults from 2002 to 2017. Journal for Alternative and Complementary Medicine 2021, 27, 778–785.
Munk, N.; Rosenow, M. Massage for Combat Injuries in Veteran with Undisclosed PTSD: A Retrospective Case Report. International Journal of Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork 2021, 4–11.
Munk, N.; Nemati, D.; Benjamin, E.; Davies, A.; Shue, S.; Bair, M. . Trigger-Point Self-Care for Chronic Neck Pain: Pilot and Feasibility. Advances in Integrative Medicine 2021, 8, 9–16.
Munk, N.; Hall, H.; Carr, B.; Fogarty, S.; Cant, R.; Weller, C.; Lauche, R.; Holton, S.; Weller, C.; Lauche, R. Maternal Mental Health and Partner Delivered Massage; a Pilot Study. Women and Birth 2021, e237–e247.
Munk, N.; Sefton, J.; Dexheimer, J.; Miccio, R.; Kennedy, A. .; Cambron, J.; MacDonald, G.; Hemsworth, R. A Research Agenda for the Massage Therapy Profession: A Report from the Massage Therapy Foundation. International Journal of Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork 2020, 42–46.
Munk, N.; Hall, H. .; Cant, R.; Carr, B.; Tremayne, A.; Weller, C.; Fogarty, S.; Lauche, R. The Effectiveness of Massage for Reducing Pregnant Women’s Anxiety and Depression; Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Midwifery 2020, 90.
Munk, N.; Zabel, S. Practice-Based Research Networks and Massage Therapy: A Scoping Review. International Journal of Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork 2020, 25–34.
Munk, N.; Church, A.; Nemati, D.; Zabel, S.; Comer, A. Massage Perceptions and Attitudes of Undergraduate Pre-Professional Health Sciences Students: A Cross-Sectional Survey. BMC Complementary Medicine and Therapies 2020, 1–8.
Munk, N.; Almojaibel, A.; Goodfellow, L. .; Fisher, T. .; Miller, K. .; Comer, A. .; Justiss, M. .; Bakas, T. Health Care Practitioners’ Determinants of Telerehabilitation Acceptance. International Journal of Telerehabilitation 2020, 43–50.
Munk, N.; Kim, C.; Stebbing, S.; Sundberg, T.; Lauche, R.; Ward, L. Complementary Medicine for the Management of Knee and Hip osteoarthritis–A Patient Perspective. Musculoskeletal Care 2019.
Munk, N.; Steel, A.; Wardle, J.; Lauche, R.; Adams, J.; Sibbritt, D. Generational Differences in Complementary Medicine Use in Young Australian Women: Repeated Cross-Sectional Dataset Analysis from the Australian Longitudinal Study on Women’s Health. Complementary Therapies in Medicine 2019, 43, 66–72.

In Press

Munk, N.; Zabel, S. Use of Practice-Based Research Networks in Massage Therapy Research  . IJTMB 2024.
Munk, N.; Nabity, P.; Farrokhi, S.; Finnell, J.; McGeary, D. Considerations for Psychologically Informed Therapeutic Massage for Headache. JICM.
Munk, N.; Nemati, D.; Hinrichs, R.; Johnson, A.; Lauche, R. Massage Therapy as a Self Management Strategy for Musculoskeletal Pain and Chronic Conditions: A Systematic Review of Feasibility and Scope. Journal of Integrative & Complementary Medicine.

Hear from the Students Who’ve Been in Your Shoes

Our Value: Integrative Health, Inclusivity

I chose SCU when looking for a PA program because of their Integrative Medicine approach. I am from Michigan, and not many programs focus on this Integrative, Holistic approach when it comes to patient care in the Midwest, and I felt that was very important for me to learn as a future provider. My transition to semi-virtual learning has been very smooth and quite enjoyable. My favorite part about attending SCU is how tight-knit and diverse the community is. Coming from a large undergrad university and moving so far, it was very important for me to have a PA program that made me feel valued and invested in my success. At SCU, they do a great job of making you feel that.


Brianna Hadley

MSPA Class of 2022

Our Value: Integrative Health

One of the great things about SCU is we do have a campus layout, so all your classes aren't in a single room. We have our cadaver lab. We have different specialty rooms for physical assessment classes vs. acupuncture classes. All our acupuncture-specific classes have all the herbs in the room. You can pull out the herbs and look at them, whether in class or in between classes to get that extra studying in.

My favorite part of SCU is the collaboration from our beginning terms. We were working alongside chiropractor students, PA students, and ayurvedic students. It's a unique community where we get to learn about these different fields and sit in classrooms with them and work with them in the clinic. It allows you to get an understanding of all the different fields and how they can work together, and what is unique about your field. I think that is a wonderful aspect that I didn't think was going to be as prominent as it is here; even now, in my upper term classes and I am not in class with chiropractic students, I can still reach out to them about a certain aspect I may not understand or if I am working on a case. I want another perspective I know I have them to reach out to, so that has been a great networking community to have resources for.

Dr. Jamie Kuljis

Graduate, Doctor of Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine

Our Value: Integrative Health, Inclusivity

"There are a lot of things that I love about the program at SCU. The first one is that the faculty come from a long line of Ayurvedic knowledge deeply rooted in ancient classical text. They studied Ayurveda, but they also lived it. When you learn from people who embody this wisdom, it's much easier to grasp this knowledge. The second thing I love is the camaraderie within the cohort. The combination of the training, supportive faculty, and the support of my peers and classmates has given me the confidence I need to start my own practice."

Portia Harris

Student, Ayurveda Program

Our Value: Evidence-Based Practice

Some of my favorite courses at SCU have to be the chiropractic procedure classes; those are the classes you get to hone in on your chiro skills, your palpation skills and ultimately work on the adjustments that make you a chiropractor. Those are the classes I feel enhance my knowledge the most and are some of the reasons I chose to become a chiropractor here are SCU.

On top of chiropractic procedures classes, my favorite is the cadaver lab experience. The cadaver classes opened up my perception of what the human body is made up of. It allowed me to get an in-person perspective of how the body works and looks on the inside. I am genuinely thankful for those experiences because they opened and broadened my horizons to the human body and anatomy in general.

Jordan Vega

Student, Doctor of Chiropractic

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