Connective tissue massage deals with the skin and the subcutaneous tissue. It focuses on definite regions of the body, assigned in segmental order to inner organ systems and structures of the locomotor system (spinal cord, joints, muscles). In case of acute disease, oedematous swelling of a generally soft tissue consistency can be observed in circumscribed areas. Persisting symptoms may result in induration of such tissues, associated with reduced rheology and epicritic pain if manipulated mechanically. Eventually, chronic conditions may progress to atrophy. The name "connective tissue massage" is based on the concept that corresponding physiological events take place in connective tissue structures and the segmentally associated organ. With regard to the pathophysiology of such zones, mechanisms which are comparable to sympathetic reflex dystrophy are discussed at present. Analysis of such changes has contributed to general diagnosis. Connective tissue massage is considered to be an important element of physiotherapy. The clinical data on the efficacy of connective tissue massage are reviewed.