I often get emails asking for my opinion about bodywork. While I’m not necessarily one to easily dismiss any treatment conventional wisdom would devalue, I also approach this arena with some healthy skepticism. The question becomes what’s effective and what’s simply “woo-woo,” to use a somehow unmatchable term. I’ll leave much of that specific discussion to you all today, but I did want to examine one modality that has more research behind it than most, even if that body of studies is still somewhat patchy. Most people have had a massage sometime in their lives. We certainly have our own opinions about its impact. Unless we were truly unlucky, most of us likely came away with a pretty good impression. Many of us have gone back many times since with perhaps a sizable financial and personal investment in the therapy – maybe even with a specific therapist. (It’s funny how people guard the availability of their favorite massage provider even as they clearly want to extol their endless virtues.) Our personal anecdotes aside, what does existing science say about the benefits of massage? For what conditions/circumstances is it especially effective? Can it benefit healthy as well as ill people? Let’s take a look.