International Encyclopedia of Rehabilitation


Manipulation of soft tissues for therapeutic, hygienic or athletic purposes.

Translation to English from BLOUIN, Maurice et al., Dictionnaire de la réadaptation, tome 2 : termes d'intervention et d'aides techniques, Québec, Les Publications du Québec, 1997, 164 p., p. 48.

Brandt massage

Gynecologic massage. It is performed with one hand on the abdomen while the other, in the vaginal cavity, applies counterpressure. It is aimed at correcting a faulty position of the uterus, stretching adhesions, and resorption of exudates. Developed by the Swedish masseur Thure Brandt (1819 - 1895), who published the method in 1868

cardiac massage

A resuscitative technique, consisting in rhythmic compression of the heart by pressure applied to the thorax (closed-chest, external, or transthoracic cardiac massage) or by direct manipulation through an opening in the chest (open or open-chest cardiac massage).

connective tissue massage

Massage using the middle finger supported by the ring finger and consisting of slow and linear frictions (slide) of the conjunctive tissue.

diathermic massage

Electrotherapy by use of two autocondensation pads, one for the patient, the other for the therapist. The pad and the person form the plates of a condenser, the dielectric being formed by the insulating cover. Each person is charged by induction. When the therapist touches the patient, a current passes between them.

douche massage

Massage given to a subject sitting under a shower. Technique developed in the French spa Aix-les-Bains, hence also known as Aix massage.

high-frequency massage

Electrotherapy in which a high-frequency current passes between the therapist and the patient, both being charged by induction.


Massage by a whirlpool or other agitated water

Loka massage

A massage practiced at Loka, a spa in Sweden, with a local peat called "gytta."

nerve point massage

From the German "Nervenpunktmassage." Technique of massage consisting mostly in deep friction by one or two fingertips in selected regions of increased sensitivity, designated as nerve points. Developed in 1893 and published in 1909 by Berlin physician Alfons Cornelius (1865 - 1933).

plastic massage

A kind of petrissage of the skin and subcutaneous tissue, used in the treatment of dermatologic conditions. Developed in 1908 by Raoul Leroy, physician in Paris, France.

reflex massage

Massage of a region distant from or overlying the affected region, in which the effect is assumed to be due to a reflex.

Swedish massage

The traditional massage, as it is practiced today in nearly all countries. Originally taught, together with therapeutic exercise, at the Central Institute of Gymnastic in Stockholm, it kept its name to emphasize its medical nature and traditional origin.

syncardial massage

Rhythmic compression and decompression of the lower limbs, synchronous with the heartbeat, by means of an apparatus, the Syncardon.

Thiele massage

Intrarectal massage for coccygodynia. Advocated in 1936 by George H. Thiele (1896 - 1978), American proctologist.

transverse massage

Also called transverse friction, this is a maneuver of deep friction. It is executed with one or two digits in a direction at right angles to the fibers of a muscle, tendon, or ligament, primarily in order to loosen adhesions. Advocated by Lodon physiatrist James H. Cyriax.

tread massage

Massage executed with the feet bearing part or the total of the masseur's body weight. It is usually applied to the back, the patient lying prone on the floor. Ancient technique, probably of Asian origin, practiced in some countries including (since 1939) Germany.

underwater massage

Massage given to a subject sitting or lying on a canvas sling spread over a bathtub while being exposed to water from one or more shower heads.


A male therapist who administers massage.


A female therapist who administers a massage.


Treatment by massage.


Eisenberg MG. 1995. Dictionary of Rehabilitation. New York: Springer Publishing Company. 375 p. Used with permission.

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