The History of Massage

Hippocrates, known as the father of modern western medicine, was a proponent of
therapeutic massage. During 100-44 (B.C.),  massage became so accepted that Julius Caesar
used it to help his epilepsy. A later follower of  Hippocratic medicine was Galen of Pergamon.
His system continued to dominate medicine throughout theMiddle Ages and until relatively recent times.

In the America’s, the Mayas and Inca have been documented as practicing joint manipulation
and massage. The Inca also used the application of heat in their treatments. Records also indicate that
the Cherokees and Navajos used massage to treat colic and ease labor pains.

After the collapse of the Roman Empire (A.D. 476), western medicine experienced a downfall.
For the most part, western medicine practitioners of the Middle Ages found in favor of other treatments.
Ambroise Paré was among the earliest modern physicians to discuss the therapeutic effect of massage,
especially in orthopedic surgery cases.

By the 17th century massage was reemerging as the therapy acceptable to the medical profession
and as a therapeutic practice for health and disease. In Europe, massage became to be viewed as  a popular
treatment. Simon André Tissot published several works and recommended massage for various diseases and
gave indications for its use. Modern massage began in the early 19th century when a wide variety of authors
were developing their own system. A Swedish physiologists and gymnastics instructor, named Pehr Henrik Ling
is the most important of these. His system was known as the Ling System, Swedish Movements. Massage is
viewed as a component of Ling’s overall system and was commonly known as Swedish Massage. This used a
variety of strokes that created a very relaxing experience. His teachings spread around the world. Within twelve
years of his death (1839), 38 institutions in Europe were teaching the Swedish Movement System. Included in
these were numerous medical doctors who became convinced of the usefulness of massage. Swedish Massage
was introduced into the United States by 1856. Over a period of time massage became popular in the U.S.
World War I provided countless opportunities for the use of therapeutic massage in the efforts to rehabilitate
injured soldiers. By the early part of the 20th century the western medical profession had begun to realize what
the Chinese and masseurs had long preached: therapeutic massage had an important place in the treatment of
illnesses and diseases. It has been shown beneficial to reduce stress, enhance blood circulation, decrease pain,
promote sleep, reduce swelling, enhance relaxation, and increase oxygen capacity of the blood.

         Benefits of Massage

  • Relieves stress and helps in relaxation
  • Helps relieve muscle tension and stiffness
  • Reduces muscle spasms
  • Provides greater joint movement and range of motion
  • Improves circulation of blood and movement of lymph fluids
  • Reduces blood pressure
  • Helps relieve tension related headaches and effects of eye strain
  • Strengthens the immune system
  • Fosters faster healing of strained muscles and sprained ligaments;
    reduces pain and swelling; reduces formation of excessive scar tissue