History of Massage

History of Massage

Dating back to 2700 BC, massage is an ancient practice which originated in the East as a form of medicinal treatment. This then sparked a revolution whereby numerous massage styles were developed to restore the body’s balance for good health. The word massage is thought to derive from the Greek “Massein” which means “to knead” while the Arabic word “Mash” means to “press softly”.

Many famous practitioners preached the benefits of massage and was welcomed by the West during the Greek Empire, where Hippocrates referred to it as “rubbing” to loosen the muscles, and it became standard practice in public baths. Techniques then evolved into the first form of sports massage by Galen who used it to treat physical injuries and believed it to be an essential element to maintaining good health.

Following from a decline in massage, the 17th century saw an upsurge as it was established in medical schools where the physical advantages were observed and documented. The most famous type of massage, Swedish massage, was then developed in the 19th century by Henrik Ling who incorporated techniques from Swedish gymnastics. Ling’s dedication led to one of his students opening a massage clinic and another student bringing massage therapy to Britain in 1840 which was then introduced to the U.S thirteen years later. In the 20th century, massage was used to treat World War 1 patients suffering from shell shock and nerve injury.

Massage was however, inaccessible to most, with it being associated with the wealthy and the sex trade. It was only until the later 20th century when interest in natural healing arose that it became an established form of therapy used by many.

Now, there are 250 types of massage which are used not only for medicinal treatment but also more widely as beauty and sports therapy