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Definition of Massage and Massage Therapy

Therapeutic massage involves the manipulation of the soft tissue structures of the body to prevent and alleviate pain, discomfort, muscle spasm, and stress; and, to promote health and wellness. AMTA defines Massage as, "a manual soft tissue manipulation that includes holding, causing movement, and/or applying pressure to the body."

Massage therapy is " a profession in which the practitioner applies manual techniques, and may apply adjunctive therapies, with the intention of positively affecting the health and well-being of the client." (AMTA)

Massage therapy improves functioning of the circulatory, lymphatic, muscular, skeletal, and nervous systems and may improve the rate at which the body recovers from injury and illness.  Massage involves holding, causing movement of soft tissue, and/or applying pressure to the body. 

Massage comes in many forms, including:
bulletSwedish a gentle, relaxing massage;
bulletPressure point therapy for certain conditions or injuries; and
bulletSports massage which focuses on muscle groups relevant to the particular sport.

Next Topic: History of Massage

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