(məsäzh`), treatment of superficial parts of the body by systematic rubbing, stroking, kneading, or slapping. Massages can be administered manually or with mechanical devices. They are sought most often to relieve muscle stiffness, spasms, or cramps and to relieve anxiety and tension. Gentle massage has a soothing action on the sensory nerves. More vigorous massage quickens the circulation and aids the muscles in disposing of accumulated waste products. Some methods of massage cause the muscles to contract and thus exercise them when movement of the entire body is not possible or desirable, as in illness or paralysis. However, there is no evidence that massage can reduce or alter fat or adipose tissue. Men and women who are trained in the art of massage are known as masseurs and masseuses, respectively.
Many types of practices are associated with massage and include bodywork, manual therapy, energy medicine, neural mobilization and breathwork. Other names for massage and related practices include hands-on work, body/somatic therapy, and somatic movement education. Body-mind integration techniques stress self-awareness and movement over physical manipulations by a practitioner. Therapies related to movement awareness/education are closer to dance and movement therapies. Massage can also have connections with the New Age movement and alternative medicine as well as holistice philosophies of preventative medical care, as well as being used by mainstream medical practitioners.
The massages are geared towards athletes and their sports. For instance, working on a runner will require doing a lot of leg work, but the upper body work will be minimal. Moreover, massages will target those areas that tend to become injured. For example, a massage session with a tennis player will involve a forearm massage that is preventive in the development of tennis elbow. If necessary, a whole session could be spent only on important areas, and skip completely muscles that are not overused in a particular sport. 

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