According to Stedman's Medical Dictionary, Massage Therapy is "A method of manipulation of the body or part of the body by rubbing, pinching, kneading, or tapping."  (Source:  Stedman's Medical Dictionary. Copyright © 2006 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins)  These hands-on procedures are done to produce a variety of physiological responses and benefits.  According to the American Chiropractic Association:

"Massage has been shown to reduce aggression and hostility in violent adolescents, to improve mood and behavior in students with ADHD, and to lead to better sleep and behavior in children with autism.  Massage has other therapeutic properties, as well. Regular massage may reduce blood pressure in people with hypertension and may lead to less pain, depression, and anxiety and better sleep in patients with chronic low-back pain. Compared to relaxation, massage therapy also causes greater reduction in depression and anger, and more significant effects on the immune system in breast cancer patients.  (Source: American Chiropractic Association)

"It is the position of the American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA) that those who participate in exercise programs, as well as athletes in training, can benefit from massage therapy." (Source:  American Massage Therapy Association, Position Statement, "Massage Therapy for Those Who Exercise," Approved October 2011)