Massage is the manipulating of superficial and deeper layers of muscle and connective tissue using various techniques, to enhance function, aid in the healing process, and promote relaxation and well-being. The word comes from the French massage "friction of kneading", or from Arabic massa meaning "to touch, feel or handle" or from Latin massa meaning "mass, dough". cf. Greek verb μάσσω (massō) "to handle, touch, to work with the hands, to knead dough". In distinction the ancient Greek word for massage was anatripsis, and the Latin was frictio.
Massage involves working and acting on 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, fascia, skin, joints, or other connective tissue, as well as lymphatic vessels, or organs of the gastrointestinal system. Massage can be applied with the hands, fingers, elbows, knees, forearm, and feet. There are over eighty different recognized massage modalities. The most cited reasons for introducing massage as therapy have been client demand and perceived clinical effectiveness.
In professional settings massage involves the client being treated while lying on a massage table, sitting in a massage chair, or lying on a mat on the floor. The massage subject may be fully clothed or unclothed. In the case of the latter, the parts of the body that are not being massaged are usually covered with towels or sheets, but this can depend on the preference of the therapists and the type of work being performed. Almost all states in the US have licensing requirements for massage therapists.