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Massage Therapy

By

Denise Millstine

, MD, Mayo Clinic

Reviewed/Revised Dec 2023
VIEW PROFESSIONAL VERSION

In massage therapy (a manipulative and body-based practice Manipulative and Body-Based Practices Complementary or alternative medicine can be classified into five major categories of practice: Whole medical systems Mind-body techniques Biologically based practices Manipulative and body-based... read more ), body tissues are manipulated to reduce pain, relieve muscle tension, and reduce stress. Massage therapy involves a variety of light-touch and deep-touch techniques, from stroking and kneading (as used in Swedish massage) to applying pressure to specific points (as used in Shiatsu, acupressure, and neuromuscular massage).

Medicinal Uses of Massage Therapy

Massage therapists help the musculoskeletal and nervous systems of the body. Other healing effects of massage include the benefits of relaxation and human touch, basic needs that are unmet in the lives of many people. The therapeutic value of massage for many musculoskeletal symptoms is widely accepted. Massage has been shown to help or relieve symptoms in the following:

Possible Side Effects of Massage Therapy

Precautions for massage therapy and other therapies that involve manipulation of tissues include the following:

  • Minor discomfort or temporary worsening of symptoms

  • Massage can cause bruising and bleeding in people at risk.

  • Pressure should not be directly put on bones affected by osteoporosis or cancer that has spread to the bones (metastatic cancer).

More Information

The following English-language resource may be useful. Please note that THE MANUAL is not responsible for the content of this resource.

NOTE: This is the Consumer Version. DOCTORS: VIEW PROFESSIONAL VERSION
VIEW PROFESSIONAL VERSION
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