MassageÂ is the manipulation of superficial and deeper layers of muscle and connective tissue using various techniques, to enhance function, aid in the healing process, decrease muscle reflex activity, inhibit motor-neuron excitability,Â promote relaxation and well-being,Â and as a recreational activity.
The word comes from theÂ FrenchÂ massageÂ “friction of kneading”, or fromÂ ArabicÂ massaÂ meaning “to touch, feel or handle” or fromÂ LatinÂ massaÂ meaning “mass, dough”,cf.Â GreekÂ verb Î¼Î¬ÏƒÏƒÏ‰ (massÅ) “to handle, touch, to work with the hands, to knead dough”.Â In distinction the ancientÂ GreekÂ word for massage wasÂ anatripsis,Â and the Latin wasÂ frictio.
Massage involves working and acting on the body with pressure â€“ structured, unstructured, stationary, or moving â€“ tension, motion, or vibration, done manually or with mechanical aids. Target tissues may includeÂ muscles,Â tendons,Â ligaments,Â fascia,Â skin,Â joints, or otherÂ connective tissue, as well aslymphaticÂ vessels, or organs of theÂ gastrointestinal system. Massage can be applied with theÂ hands,Â fingers,Â elbows,Â knees,Â forearm, orÂ feet.
In professional settings massage involves the client being treated while lying on a massage table, sitting in aÂ massage chair, or lying on a mat on the floor, while in amateur settings a general purpose surface like a bed or floor is more common. The massage subject may be fully or partially clothed or unclothed.