**From commentaries by the Alliance of Massage Therapists, Inc.
Dilates blood vessels, improving circulation and relieving congestion.
Increases the number of red blood cells, especially in anemia.
Relaxes muscle spasm and relieves tension.
Increases the blood supply and nutrition to muscles without adding to their load of toxic lactic acid produced through voluntary muscle contraction. Massage thus helps to overcome harmful “fatigue” products resulting from strenuous exercise or injury.
Improves muscle tone and helps prevent or delay muscular atrophy resulting from forced inactivity.
Improves the general circulation or nutrition of tissues. It is accompanied or followed by an increased interchange of substances between the blood and tissue cells, heightening tissue metabolism.
Stretches connective tissue, improves its circulation and nutrition and so breaks down or prevents the formation of adhesions and reduces the danger of fibrosis.
Improves the circulation and nutrition of joints and hastens the elimination of harmful particles. It helps lessen inflammation and swelling in joints and so alleviates pain.
Helps eliminate edema (or dropsy) of the extremities.
Acts as a “mechanical cleaner,” pushing along lymph and hastening the elimination of wastes and toxic debris.
Can compensate, at least in part, for lack of exercise and muscular contraction in persons who, because of injury or illness or age, are forced to remain inactive. In these cases, massage helps return venous blood to the heart and so eases the strain on this vital organ.
Increases the excretion (via the kidneys) of fluids and nitrogen, inorganic phosphorous and salt in healthy individuals.
Encourages the retention of nitrogen, organic phosphorous and sulfur necessary for tissue repair in persons convalescing from bone fractures.
May, according to some authorities, burst the fat capsule in the subcutaneous tissue so that the fat exudes and becomes absorbed. In this way massage, combined with a nutritious but calorie-deficient diet, can be an aid to reducing weight.
May have a sedative, stimulating or even exhausting effect on the nervous system, depending on the type and length of massage treatment given.