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Massage therapy means many things to many people. In fact, a recently published scholarly article identifies more than 80 different styles of massage, many of which have been developed in the past 30 years! But to start, let's simply define massage as the manual manipulation of soft body tissues (muscle, connective tissue, tendons, and ligaments) to enhance health and wellbeing.
This definition excludes some kinds of bodywork, such as craniosacral therapy, Traeger, and Feldenkrais. While they are sometimes called "massage," they don't use manipulation of soft tissue as the main therapy. This definition also excludes therapies that are primarily energy work, such as Healing Touch, Reiki, acupressure, and reflexology.
Massage is often used for specific reasons, such as relief from pain, stress reduction, or enhancement of athletic performance. But whether there is a specific goal or not, massage therapy tends to increase the general health and wellbeing of the recipient.