Massage as Therapy

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When people think of the word ‘massage’ they often think of something relaxing, therapeutic and calming, and that is precisely what a massage is supposed to be all about. A massage is something that most people will say yes to, if one is offered. And who doesn’t enjoy a good hands-on relaxing of the mind and body being administered?  The history of massage goes way back thousands of years to ancient into antiquity, let’s take a look.

For those of you who think of a massage as being something one gets on their holidays on the beach in Thailand or Bali, massage therapy history actually dates back thousands of years to ancient civilisations that believed in its beneficial medical usage. The first known written records of massage therapy are found to go way back in China and Egypt.

2700 BCE: From China we get a text which is called “The Yellow Emperor’s Classic Book of Internal Medicine.” This book has become a staple in massage therapy training worldwide, and rightly so. Along with massage, it also teaches other forms of natural medicine such as acupuncture and acupressure. This is from almost 5,000 years ago!

2500 BCE: Tomb paintings from Egypt show that massage therapy was also a part of their medical tradition. Egyptians also get the credit for pioneering reflexology. Their studies and traditions greatly influenced later cultures, such as the Greeks and Romans where massage was an important part of their health routine.

1500 and 500 BCE: Indian massage therapy traditions come down to us, but, the practice itself may have actually originated around 3000 BCE or earlier. Indian Hindus used the art of healing touch in the practice of Ayurvedic medicine. Ayurveda, a Sanskrit word, translates to “life health.” It is considered as the basis of holistic medicine, combining relaxation, meditation and aromatherapy.

Introduction to the West

Early 1800s: In the west, most people equate a massage with the Swedish style, and that has its roots in fact. A Swedish doctor by the name of Per Henrik Ling was the first to introduce an early form of massage into Europe. He developed a method of movement known as the “Swedish Movement System.” This is now regarded as the foundation for Swedish massage most generally used in the West today. Although the “Swedish Movement System” was developed by Ling, it was actually a Dutchman Johan Georg Mezger who determined the basic hand strokes of Swedish massage.

Where the Industry Is Heading: Considering the long history of massage, its incorporation into Western medicine is in its early days. The potential for growth and research of the healing properties of therapeutic massage has gained great popularity over the last fifty years, and the public demand for massage therapy is now at an all-time high.

Modern Massage Solutions: Modern massage can be found at a number of places and salons happen to be one of them. Most modern spas and beauty salons offer a range of services with up to date hairdressing supplies, and usually offer massage treatments. So, the next time you would like to feel the stresses of the modern world just slip away, or just simply want to feel in a state of bliss, why not treat yourself to a delightful massage?

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