The History of Massage
There is evidence to support the belief that in many ancient cultures some form of touch or massage was practiced. Massage has been an important part of medicine for at least 5,000 years. It has been important in western medical traditions for at least 3,000 years.
Artifacts show that as early as 3000 BC massage was practiced by the Chinese. Today the use of massage is an integral part of the Chinese health system and is practiced in hospitals and clinics.
Massage entered Japan around the 6th century AD. The Chinese method of massage was used and Japanese physicians developed 'Shiatsu', which used a finger pressure technique.
Massage has been practiced on the Indian subcontinent for over 3,000 years. Massage came to India from the Chinese.
From the east, the practice of massage spread to Europe and it is believed to have flourished well before 300 BC. The Greeks made 'gymnastics' and regular use of massage part of their physical fitness rituals. Women used gymnastics, dancing and massage part of their health and beauty regimes.
The Romans acquired the practice of massage from the Greeks. This was used in conjunction with therapeutic bathing, also used by the Greeks.
In Europe in the Middle Ages, medical institutions abandoned massage in favor of other remedies. Decline in massage was due to many things however, there was religious superstitions that caused people to fear placing importance on the physical self.
During the Renaissance (1450 - 1600) people became interested in the improvement of physical health.
By the 16th century medical practitioners began to reinvent and employ massage as part of their healing treatments. French physicians recognized the positive effects of massage.
The 16th, 17th and 18th centuries witnessed an expansion in all fields of knowledge. Literature from Italian, German, French and English authors re-established massage as a practice which maintains health and treats disease.