Relaxation, pain relief, lowered blood pressure, exercise recovery, improved mood, alleviated depression, stress reduction—the list of massage therapy’s benefits are too long to list. But beyond massage’s obvious positive effects, why do consumers seek out massage?

Researchers in New Zealand decided to find out.

Clients of either relaxation, remedial or sports-massage therapy participated in three telephone focus groups to share opinions on why they use, value and continue to seek massage therapy as a health care option, according to an abstract published on

According to the Southern Institute of Technology researchers, “Massage therapy is perceived and valued as a personalized, holistic and hands-on approach to health management, which focuses on enhancing relaxation in conjunction with effective touch, within a positive client-therapist relationship and a pleasant, non-rushed environment.”

The research is reported in Complementary Therapies in Medicine.