Many of us who live alone can find we are rarely touched physically.  Observation of history shows that a lack of touch has a severe detrimental effect on our health.  In the extreme, babies that are not touched, as happened in  some orphanages in the 19th century have severely stunted growth or even actually die  when there is nothing else ailing them and elderly people who often lack touch have impaired health.  Massage gives that caring touch.

And for those who would like them the research references!
Infants: 
      J L Halliday, Psychosocial Medicine: A Study of the Sick Society (New York: Norton, 1948) pp 244 - 245
       H D Chapin, “A Plea for Accurate Statistics in Children’s Institutions,’ Transactions of the American Pediatric Society, 27 (1915) p 469
      J Brennemann, ‘The Infant Ward,’ American journal of Diseases of Children, 43(1932), p577

Elderly:
         Finch, Mary Ann. Care Through Touch, New York, NY: Continuum, 1999:16.   
Geriatric Nursing. 2000 Nov-Dec;21(6):303-8.
Providing tender touch massage to elderly nursing home residents: a demonstration project. Sansone P, Schmitt L.    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/sites/entrez?Db=pubmed&Cmd=Search&Term=%22Sansone%20P%22%5BAuthor%5D&itool=EntrezSystem2.PEntrez.Pubmed.Pubmed_ResultsPanel.Pubmed_DiscoveryPanel.Pubmed_RVAbstractPlushttp://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/sites/entrez?Db=pubmed&Cmd=Search&Term=%22Schmitt%20L%22%5BAuthor%5D&itool=EntrezSystem2.PEntrez.Pubmed.Pubmed_ResultsPanel.Pubmed_DiscoveryPanel.Pubmed_RVAbstractPlusshapeimage_1_link_0shapeimage_1_link_1