ISPA Foundation Awards Grant for PTSD Research

October 14, 2014

The International SPA Association (ISPA) Foundation announced the second recipient of the Dr. Howard Murad Research Grant at the 24th annual ISPA Conference & Expo, held Oct. 13-15 in Las Vegas, Nev.

The grant was awarded to Dr. Rashmi Mullur of Los Angeles, Calif. Dr. Mullur’s project aims to determine the effects of a comprehensive lifestyle intervention on markers of stress and aging in veterans with a history of posttraumatic stress disorder. Dr. Mullur will receive $45,000USD toward her research.

“The ISPA Foundation is honored to support this research, as it provides great value to the veteran population and our industry,” said ISPA Foundation Chairman, Jeff Kohl.

Named in honor of one of the country’s foremost authorities on the science of skin health, the Dr. Howard Murad Research Grant offers financial assistance to those conducting research that addresses cultural stress, its effects and ways to manage it.

“Earlier this year, we completed an IRB approved genetic research study to measure the effects a whole body approach to healthy living might have on a person’s genetic expression,” said Dr. Murad. “This pilot study resulted in significant positive gene expression results, and also taught us that the most detrimental factor impeding a healthy lifestyle is the stress of modern living, or what I call Cultural Stress. I reached out to the physicians at UCLA and VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System because for veterans already struggling with PTSD, this day-to-day Cultural Stress is likely aggravating their condition. I’m very excited to be working on this new study with ISPA, Dr. Mullur and her team as we attempt, through an Inclusive Health approach, to introduce new ways to enhance the quality of life for our veterans suffering from PTSD.”

Mullur, a graduate of the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, now serves as staff endocrinologist with the VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System and assistant professor of medicine at University of California, Los Angeles. She has previously conducted research in complementary and alternative medicine in addition to diabetes and metabolism. Most recently Mullur has completed a study of a ten minute yoga-based relaxation project in the management of diabetes.

“I am very excited to bring Dr. Murad’s Inclusive Health program to our veterans,” said Dr. Mullur. “We know that chronic stress damages health over time — resulting in long-term illnesses such as chronic pain, obesity, cardiovascular disease and/or psychiatric disease. Our veterans face tremendous hurdles once they return from serving our country, and spa-style interventions, like massage therapy, are not often utilized by this population because they are often viewed as a luxury rather than a part of health maintenance. By providing a comprehensive approach to care that focuses on wellbeing of the whole individual, this program aims to provide a strategy to alleviate the burdens of post-traumatic stress. We hope to show that spa-style interventions can improve overall health and well-being and provide a viable tool to reduce stress and prevent chronic disease.”


About the ISPA Foundation:

Created in 1999 to serve the educational and research needs of the spa industry through endowments, curriculum development and scholarships, the ISPA Foundation is the nonprofit 501(c)3 arm of ISPA. The ISPA Foundation’s mission is to improve and enhance the value of the spa experience while supporting its vision of sustainable health and well-being through the advancement of spa culture. For more information on the ISPA Foundation and opportunities for involvement, visit

Scroll to Top