(1) The experience of illness and/or hospitalization often elicits a stress response which may manifest as sleep disturbances, increased heart rate, increased systolic and diastolic blood pressure, anxiety and general discomfort. The diagnosis and treatment of a person's response to illness or other event is key tenet of nursing. The well-established nursing intervention, back rub or back massage, has been utilized as a time-honored comfort measure. This research review summarizes the studies that have evaluated the effect of massage on psychophysiologic outcome measures. Research demonstrates that back massage has the ability to elicit a relaxation response in the majority of study subjects.