Growing recognition of the importance of holistic nursing interventions is resulting in a revival in the use of therapeutic massage. Massage contributes to health and healing through enhancement of relaxation, and is a safe, caring, and inexpensive intervention. Therapeutic massage research using older populations is reviewed for identification of its theoretical framework, design, outcome variables, sample, procedures, instruments, analyses and results. To establish a scientific basis for therapeutic massage in the future, it is critical that nurses include the following key elements in their research studies: clear definitions: procedures for massage that include type(s) of massage performed, part of body massaged, and length of time of massage; and analyses that control for the pre-massage level of the variable of interest. Research variables need to focus on concepts that have major health consequences such as agitation, immune status, and pain.