For centuries, medical practitioners have relied on their hands. The “laying on of hands” has been accepted by most cultures as a powerful healing tool. A massage can ease back or muscle tension. Or it can relieve stress that is known to make many health conditions worse. Massage therapy is the use of hands, arms, feet – or even hot rocks – to manipulate soft body tissue. It involves holding, moving and applying pressure to the body…

What to expect
A massage of the shoulders, neck and back can be done while you are sitting in a chair. Or you may lie on a padded massage table for a head-to-toe massage. Sessions can be 15 minutes for a chair massage or up to two hours for a table massage. The therapist may begin by asking about your health and stress level, and if any part of your body is especially sensitive…

Health benefits
Some doctors recommend massage as part of the treatment plan for a variety of conditions. These can range from arthritis to headaches to sports injuries. Some studies suggest that massage therapy:..

Ask your doctor for names of qualified massage therapists in your area. Or, contact The American Massage Therapy Association or the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork. Expect to pay about $50 to $100 an hour. Some health plans may cover massage therapy if a doctor prescribes it., Boise, Idaho, 2008