What is massage?

Massage is a general term for pressing, rubbing and manipulating your skin, muscles, tendons and ligaments. Massage therapists typically use their hands and fingers for massage but may also use their forearms, elbows and even feet. Massage may range from light stroking to deep pressure techniques.

There are many different types of massage, including these common types:

  • Swedish massage. This is a gentle form of massage that uses long strokes, kneading, deep circular movements, vibration and tapping to help relax and energize you.
  • Deep-tissue massage. This massage technique uses slower, more forceful strokes to target the deeper layers of muscle and connective tissue, commonly to help with muscle damage from injuries.
  • Sports massage. This is similar to Swedish massage but is geared toward people involved in sport activities to help prevent or treat injuries.
  • Trigger point massage. This massage focuses on trigger points, or sensitive areas of tight muscle fibers that can form in your muscles after injuries or overuse.

Benefits of massage

Massage is generally considered part of complementary and alternative medicine. It's increasingly being offered along with standard treatment for a wide range of medical conditions and situations.

In addition, studies have found massage helpful for:

  • Pain
  • Stiffness
  • Stress relief
  • Infant growth
  • Cancer treatment
  • Boosting immunity
  • Sports-related injuries
  • Blood pressure control
  • Managing anxiety and depression
  • Pain
  • Stiffness
  • Stress relief
  • Infant growth
  • Cancer treatment
  • Boosting immunity
  • Sports-related injuries
  • Blood pressure control
  • Managing anxiety and depression
  • 1