In massage therapy, a trained, certified medical professional (massage therapist) manipulates the soft tissues of your body — muscle, connective tissue, tendons, ligaments and skin. The massage therapist uses varying degrees of pressure and movement.

Massage is generally considered part of integrative medicine. Medical centers are offering it more and more as a treatment along with standard treatment. It may be used for a wide range of medical conditions.

Studies of massage benefits have found massage can:

  • Help reduce stress
  • Lessen pain and muscle tension
  • Increase relaxation
  • Improve immune function

At Mayo Clinic, medical professionals may recommend massage therapy to help people cope with the pain and stress of various conditions, such as cancer, heart disease, stomach problems or fibromyalgia.

Massage Therapy at Mayo Clinic

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Explore Mayo Clinic studies of tests and procedures to help prevent, detect, treat or manage conditions.

Massage therapy care at Mayo Clinic

Feb. 12, 2021
  1. Massage therapy: What you need to know. National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. https://www.nccih.nih.gov/health/massage-therapy-what-you-need-to-know. Accessed Jan. 5, 2021.
  2. AskMayoExpert. Massage therapy. Mayo Clinic; 2019.
  3. Rodgers NJ, et al. A decade of building massage therapy services at an academic medical center as part of a healing enhancement program. Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice. 2015; doi:10.1016/j.ctcp.2015.07.004.
  4. Dion LJ, et al. Development of a hospital-based massage therapy course at an academic medical center. International Journal of Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork. 2015; doi:10.3822/ijtmb.v8i1.249.
  5. Clark SD, et al. Effect of integrative medicine services on pain for hospitalized patients at an academic health center. Explore. 2019; doi:10.1016/j.explore.2018.07.006.
  6. Zhihong L, et al. Benefits of hand massage on anxiety in preoperative outpatient: A quasi-experimental study with pre- and post-tests. Explore. 2020; doi:10.1016/j.explore.2020.08.016.
  7. Brown AY. Allscripts EPSi. Mayo Clinic. Jan. 6, 2021.