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History of Massage Therapy and How It Originated

It is obvious that most people do not know the back history and origin of massage, yet it is a regular practice. Massage therapy is an old trend that has been there for over 5000 years or even earlier than that. It was part of a traditional medical system and was done for its healing, and pain relief purposes. The history of massage dates back to 3000 BCE in India, where it was considered a divine and sacred practice.

The therapy was to be passed down through generations as a healing practice for injuries and curing illness. Hindus who used it referred to the Indian medical system as Ayurveda, which in English means “life health.” A narrative that diseases and illness are caused when people are out of harmony with the environment drove Ayurveda believers. The massage was done to restore the body’s natural physical balance.

woman getting face and head massage

Massage Therapy in China

As time went by, the healing therapy had traversed to South Asia and China. Most of the massage therapy in china developed because of a combination of Chinese traditional medicine practices and skills. They included martial arts and spiritual yoga, which was done by Buddhists and Taoists. Their practices were very similar to those of Indians, and they had the same belief that illness was caused by not being in harmony with the surrounding. News of the massage therapy then traveled to Egypt, where there were drawings of it in tombs. Egyptians discovered and added their knowledge of reflexology, which involved pressure being applied to a particular area on the body. For example, on the feet and the hands, which will then stimulate healing.

Massage Therapy in Japan and Greece

Much later, monks who were studying Buddhism in China took the massage therapy idea to Japan. Japanese gave a name to it, and it was referred to as shiatsu. Japanese designed this technique to balance and regulate organs by balancing energy levels through applying pressure on specific points using their thumbs, palms, and fingers to induce natural health and prevent illness. Between 800 BCE and 700 BCE, massage therapy had made its way into Greece. Athletes in Greece used massage therapy as a method in which they checked their bodies before the competitions. Massage practitioners of that time used a combination of herbs and oils together, with massage techniques to treat any medical issue.

With time, massage therapy’s popularity ended. Traditional forms of healing were no longer in practice. There was the development of modern medicine and new technology for treating diseases. It was until between the 16th and 18th century where doctors and scientists analyzed the advantages of massage. A Swedish doctor then came up with a method that was a cure to help relieve pain.

Massage Therapy in America

By the late 18th century, Americans had joined the movement of massage therapy. The names masseur and masseuse had become the most used. Women hired by surgeons to treat orthopedic patients used a manual of rubbing and applying pressure to the area. They were then considered massage physicians. In addition, massage therapy was used to treat patients with nerve injuries during World War 1.

Later on, in the 20th century, massage therapy went into a phase of rediscovery, and new techniques were introduced. People started practicing it as a luxury to enjoy themselves. The rich, who could only afford it, mainly did it. Massage parlors emerged, and it is then that the practice lost its meaning. The original intention of massage was misused and it was associated with sex trafficking. It was until the late 20th century where it revived. States intervened and regulated the practice by introducing licensing. One had to go to school to be a certified massage therapist. Through this, massage regained its popularity as a legal way of healing and treating medical problems.

In today’s world, massage is the new norm. It is done in parlors, hospitals, and even in the comfort of your house. Massage is now available to everyone and is affordable. The aim of every massage therapist is to inducing healing to the body and relieve any chronic pain. Most people consider it as a form of relaxation as it helps your muscles ease up. Massage is a crucial practice. Whether it is done for luxury or not, its benefits are felt very deep. It cannot be denied it is one of the best ways of strengthening the body.