In a study 26 adults were give a chair massage by a massage therapist and 24 we put in a massage chair to relax. They all were given massage twice a week for 5 weeks.
The results showed for both groups enhanced alertness and increased alpha and beta brainwave activities but only the group that received physical massage therapy showed increased speed and accuracy on math computations.
Also at the end of the trial the depression scores were lower for both groups, but job stress score was lower only for the group that received massage from a real person.
There are many benefits of massage therapy and there is no substitute for a real massage.