Massage therapy is used to help manage a health condition or enhance wellness. It involves manipulating the soft tissues of the body. Massage has been practiced in most cultures, both Eastern and Western, throughout human history, and was one of the earliest tools that people used to try to relieve pain.
The term “massage therapy” includes many techniques. The most common form of massage therapy in Western countries is called Swedish or classical massage; it is the core of most massage training programs. Other styles include sports massage, clinical massage to accomplish specific goals such as releasing muscle spasms, and massage traditions derived from Eastern cultures, such as Shiatsu and Tuina.
Massage therapy has been studied for several types of pain, including low-back pain, neck and shoulder pain, pain from osteoarthritis of the knee, and headaches.
There’s evidence that premature babies who are massaged may have improved weight gain. No benefits of massage for normal full-term infants have been clearly demonstrated.