Does massage have any basis in scientific research?

Yes.

The Touch Research Institutes are dedicated to studying the effects of touch therapy. The TRIs have researched the effects of massage therapy at all stages of life, from newborns to senior citizens. In these studies theTRIs have shown that touch therapy has many positve effects.

Massage has been studied for its use with premature infants, adults who experienced recent heart attack or stroke, ability to increase athletic performance and shorten recuperation time, effects in psychotherapy for sexual abuse patients, grieving patients, and after loss of limbs when phantom pain is experienced.

Massage is currently being studied for its use in family relations and in dealing with the separation often felt when a child becomes a teenager.

http://www.miami.edu/touch-research/