One could easily write volumes about the history of massage, as there is a wide variety of different techniques and different stories about how they got started for virtually every culture on the planet. This article will only look at a brief historical explanation of the art of massage.
The Origin of Massage
There is no recorded history of the first person to ever use their hands to help release pain, discomfort, injury or soreness in another person's body. The first recorded writings about massage can be traced back to ancient China about 5,000 years ago, and most people believe the Chinese to be the first to use massage. So how did it get around the world from there?
Massage around the World
There are many popular massage styles used in the United States that can be traced to different parts of the world, such as Swedish massage (which is popular in spas and resorts) and Thai-style massage (which has become a widely used form of alternative therapy). The style of massage that is probably the most popular is based on the Chinese tui na technique. This form of therapy is focused on bringing balance and energy flow to the individual by manipulating specific areas of the body. There is also a similar style that originated in Japan that utilizes some different techniques of manipulating the body for the therapeutic purposes.
The ancient civilizations of Asia are not the only ones to have created their own unique massage therapy techniques. People in ancient Egypt, Greece, Mesopotamia and Rome also formed their own styles of massage. Ancient Greek doctors wrote about rubbing techniques that doctors should have experienced in, such as Hippocrates, who wrote of massage therapy techniques similar to what is known today as Swedish massage. In ancient Rome, there are records of the famous Julius Caesar receiving massages for this epilepsy and neuralgia.
Over in France, the royals and other notable individuals also received massages in the early days of their civilization. The official royal surgeon of the Kings of France, Ambrose Paré, revived the art of massage after the Renaissance. And then, it was not long until the practice of Swedish massage came onto the scene. In the 1800s, a Swedish practitioner of medical gymnastics by the name of Pehr Henrik Ling developed the techniques that we now know as Swedish massage.
The history of massage goes back for millennia. Luckily, now we have many specialized forms of massage therapy to ease body and mind.