Massage therapy dates back thousands of years. References to massage have been found in ancient writings from many cultures, including those of Ancient Greece, Rome, Japan, China, Egypt, and the Indian subcontinent.
In the United States, massage therapy first became popular and was promoted for a variety of health purposes starting in the mid-1800s. In the 1930s and 1940s, however, massage fell out of favor, mostly because of scientific and technological advances in medical treatments. Interest in massage revived in the 1970s, especially among athletes.
Massage involves acting on and manipulating the body with pressure – structured, unstructured, stationary, or moving – tension, motion, or vibration, done manually or with mechanical aids. Target tissues may include muscles, tendons, ligaments, skin, joints, or other connective tissue, as well as lymphatic vessels, or organs of the gastrointestinal system.