Virtually every system of the body is affected by massage, either directly or indirectly. Here is a guide to how your body can benefit. The skeletal system: Bone is affected indirectly by massage. Improved circulation of blood brings oxygen and nutrients to the bones. Joint stiffness and pain can be reduced. As the muscles become more flexible, joint movement increases. The muscular system: Some massage movements relax and stretch muscles, reducing muscular tension and cramp. Massage also makes muscles more flexible by reducing muscle tone. Muscles tired by exercise are more quickly restored by massage than by rest. The nervous system: Soothing massage can provide relief from nervous irritability and stress-related conditions such as insomnia and tension headaches. When used energetically to stimulate, massage may relieve lethargy and fatigue.