History of Massage

Massage has been used medically and for beautifying. The origin of the word is Arabic, Mass = to press gently. In Greek massage means to knead. The use of fats and aromatic oils, for both to anoint and lubricating, dates back to the Egyptian times. Cave painting were found in some caves and tombs The Chinese practised the art of massage from 3000 B.C. There are ancient books recording massage techniques. The Chinese method of massaging was called amma which was used to restore health and relaxation. This was soon imported by the Japanese which added the pressure point technique called Tsubo – today Shiatsu.

Massage was also used in India as part of the Ayerveda medicine – a book so called was written in circa 1800 B.C. It was used for healing and prolonging life.Both the Egyptian and the Persians used massage mainly for cosmetic and therapeutic reasons. The Egyptians mixed fats, oil, resins and herbs to care for the skin. Pots and jars have been found in tombs.Massage came to Europe about 500 B.C. The ancient Greeks used it everyday for exercise and fitness. Gladiators were massaged before and after battle to aid recovery.

About 500 B.C. a Greek physician called Herodicus, used massage with oils and herbs to ease disease and various conditions. Herodicus had a pupil called Hipocrates (the father of medicine) he studied the effect of massage on his patients. The Romans practised massage for health and relaxation. Roman baths had an area dedicated to massage therapy. A physician called Galen wrote many books on the use of massage for health purpose.

From 500 A.D. to 1400 A.D., massage was considered akin to witchcraft. In 1500, a French surgeon, called Ambrose Pare (1570-90), introduce, developed and promoted the use of massage. He treated Mary Queen of Scotland. He graded massage in 3 different types, gentle, medium and vigorous.

We use today the Swedish style developed by Per Henrik Ling (1776-1839). His work was first recognised in Sweden in 1813 developing worldwide. In 1884, 8 women formed the Society of Trained Masseurs. They brought in exams, rules and regulations. This later became the Chartered Society of Physioterapy. During the Second World War, massage was used for nerve injuries and rehabilitation. Later, they started using mechanical methods (hands were only used in clinics and health farms). The first full time college course was in 1968.



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