The practice of massage therapy consists in intervening on the human body through manual approaches (excluding any equipment), with hands, feet, elbows and knees, in order to improve health and prevent disease.

Massage therapy is divided into three main approaches: biomechanical, psycho-physical, and energy work. This results in different massage techniques (Swedish, Thai, Shiatsu, Californian, Neo-Reichian, etc.).

On top of being relaxing, massage therapy has a therapeutic effect. This comple- mentary approach allows better management of individuals. It tends to be more and more recognized as a part of health care, especially within multidisciplinary teams, in private clinics and in the public network.

Massage therapy can help prevent disease and improve health. It is usually beneficial for:

  • Muscle tension
  • Joint mobility
  • Stress
  • Sleep
  • Depressive symptoms
  • Acute or chronic pain
  • Respiratory capacity
  • Digestion and constipation
  • Blood and lymph circulation
  • Immune system.


Treatment effects of massage therapy in depressed people: a meta-analysis, 2010. This analysis of 17 studies included 786 individuals. It shows that massage therapy is significantly associated with a reduction in depressive symptoms.

Martin Moisan, M.D.
Kanesatake Health Center
12, Joseph Swan
Kanesatake (Québec)

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