A Brief History of Massage Therapy around the World

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The massage therapy has been around for more than 5.000 years. It has helped a lot of people get through many problems. Nowadays, it is a highly respected method of healing. People that lived in ancient times had their own techniques and customs that they used as healing methods. Through the practice of touch, they had helped many people get over their health issues. So, throughout the history, cultures from the West and East have evolved the massage therapy to help people relieve pain, heal injuries, prevent diseases and cure illnesses. The ancient civilizations also used the massage therapy to help them relax and reduce the stress. Learn more about the evolution and history of massage therapy.


History of Massage Therapy in India

A type of massage originated in India around 3000 years before the common era. The Indian form of massage has been passed down through generations. Ancient scientists brought up the massaged system, called Ayurveda, which is the most common form of massage in India. This system has been developed on the grounds of experiments, studies and meditations. According to the Ayurveda, each person that doesn’t live in harmony with the environment summons the diseases and illnesses. So, in order to overcome these issues and conditions, those people must get back in touch with nature.

By doing this, they will restore the physical and mental balance with the environment around them and they will begin to heal naturally. In order to restore the natural balance, Ayurveda proposes that each person should use the 5 senses. Each person should use the 5 senses differently, in accordance with the constitution, time of year and most importantly his/hers health issues. The whole system of massage therapy includes touch therapy, sound therapy, color therapy, aromatherapy and herbalism.


History of Massage Therapy in Egypt

People in Egypt developed their form of massage 2500 years before the common era. Proofs of the earliest massages therapies in the region of Egypt are the tomb paintings. The ancient Egyptians also take the credit of developing the method of reflexology. The system of reflexology is when the masseuse applies pressure to the reflex zones on the hands and feet.


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History of Massage Therapy in China

The ancient Chinese developed a form of massage therapy 2700 years before the common era. Doctors, Taoists, Buddhists and martial arts practitioners mostly developed the Chinese massage therapy. They combined their knowledge and methods to create this form of natural relaxation and healing force. These people considered the touch as a unique and essential power in the relaxation and healing process.

Many of the Chinese massage therapies come from the view that the imbalance and the lack of energy in meridians or specific pathways cause the illness and diseases. So, thanks to the massage therapy the energy will have a clear path to move through the body. As a result, this energy will help the body heal naturally. Some of the most popular Chinese massage therapies are acupressure, acupuncture, amno and Tui Na. In addition to the touch massage, many of the practitioners suggest that the patients also do exercises, take herbal remedies and follow a dietary therapy.


History of Massage Therapy in Japan

The Monks that were studying the Buddhism in China brought the massage therapy in Japan 1000 years before the common era. They experienced first-handed the benefits of the traditional Chinese massage. So, on the grounds of the Chinese massage therapy, they give their Japanese spin to it and created the Shiatsu massage therapy. This type of massage raises the energy and improves the organs functions. By improving the flow of the energy, the body increases the resistance to diseases and illnesses.

In order to balance out the energy in the patient’s body, the masseuses stimulate the pressure points. Unlike the Chinese traditional massage therapy, which consists of using instruments or needles, the massage practitioners in the Japanese massage therapy use only their palms, fingers and thumbs. With the help of this touch therapy, the patients relax their mind, body and restore the balance in their bodies.


History of Massage Therapy in Greece

The massage therapy in Greece was introduced 800 years before the common era by the philosophers and athletes. The knowledge and experience about this natural healing process came from the Eastern cultures and civilizations. In order for their bodies stay in shape before important competitions, the athletes started to use massage therapies. The Greek women knew all about the amazing benefits of the massage therapies. They combined the touch therapy with aromatic oils and created a beauty treatment for their entire bodies. The Greek doctors combined the massage techniques with different oils and herbs to help their patients overcome many health issues and illnesses.

Even, the Greek philosopher Hippocrates acknowledged the power of the massage therapy. He firmly believed that by adding pressure to the body, the body will heal the physical and psychological issues, as well. He also suggested that all people should make a combination of getting massage therapies, working out, breathing fresh air, resting, listening to relaxing music and eating proper diet. A mixture of all these life habits, will bring the body to a healthy and relaxed state.


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History of Massage Therapy in Rome

The massage therapy in Rome became popular 200 years before the common era. The philosopher Galen took the advice from Hippocrates about the benefits of the massage and introduced it to his patients. In order to achieve a mental and physical balance, Galen believed that each person should combine massage therapy, exercise, rest and proper diet. He believed that this combination would lead each human being to maintaining and restoring a healthy mind and body. So, patients would first bathe themselves in the public bath and then the doctors and trainers would give them a full body massage. The massage therapy would improve the circulation in the body and loosen up the muscles and joints. Also, the physicians used essential oils that added more benefits to the skin.


History of Massage Therapy in Europe

The massage therapy in Europe was introduced in the 17th century of the common era. Many scientists from Europe confirmed the benefits of the massage therapy, but they didn’t start using it regularly until the 19th century of the common era.


History of Massage Therapy in USA

The massage therapy in USA became popular in the 20th century of the common era. It became popular during the World War I, when the doctors and nurses used massage therapies to treat the patients that suffered from shell shock and nerve injuries. After WWI, it became a luxury treatment and only the rich people could afford it. However, as time went by more and more people got the hang of it and it became a legitimate alternative way of medicine. Now there are endless techniques of massage therapies that offer a high quality of life.


Fun Facts about the History of Massage Therapy

  • The origin of the traditional Chinese massage was in the ancient Chinese text The Huangdi Neijing. More than 30 chapters were dedicated to this healing process.
  • The Tomb of Akmanthor contains the first archaeological evidence about the use of massage.
  • The Sanskrit contains evidence that the massage therapy has been used before the beginning of recorded history.
  • Mark Anthony used to massage Cleopatra’s feet. The Roman Emperor Octavian couldn’t stand this habit.
  • Through massage therapy, Julius Caesar eased his epilepsy attacks.