A Brief History of Massage

Massage in its most basic form has been around since the beginning of the human race.

History of Massage

A Brief History of Massage:

It is instinctive. It is a natural response to rub our aches and pains, whether or not we are familiar with the medical knowledge behind those actions. We even do this to help with digestion, mother’s rub their babies backs to help them bring up wind so their food can digest and when people feel full or bloated from eating they rub their stomach in a circular clockwise motion (which follows the same path as an abdomen massage) which inevitably stimulates the digestive process.

The first written record of massage dates back as far as 1800BC in a Chinese text (Cong-Fu of the Toa-Tse). This text detailed massage technique as benefiting the recipient through therapeutic touch.

History of MassageHippocrates (460-370BC) recognised as the ‘Father of modern medicine’ wrote: “The physician must be experienced in many things but assuredly also in rubbing… … Hard rubbing binds; soft rubbing loosens; much rubbing causes parts to waste; moderate rubbing makes them grow.”

Galen a physician to the Roman Gladiator’s completed a series of massages for treating different diseases and injuries (and was believed to be the first form of sports massage). Due to mixed beliefs surrounding the practice of massage and its sexual implications, it soon became forgotten in Europe, until Pehr Heinrick Ling brought it back after learning the art of massage in China in the 19th century. It is Ling who is responsible for such techniques as effleurage, petrissage and tapotement. It was Dr Johann Georg Mezger that gave these movements their French name and was the first person to obtain professional recognition for the therapy (at the end of the 19th century).

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Written by Robyn Magilton – Robyn’s Holistics

Massage Therapy: Principles & Practice by Susan G. Salvo. LMT CL BA.
Integrative Touch and Bodywork – A Brief History of Massage – http://itandb.com/history.htm
Heart and Massage – History of Massage – http://www.heartlandmassage.net/history-of-massage.php