Massage: Briefing, Origins, History, and Benefits (2022)
Humans pass over 5000 years on, over a long period of relaxation and pain relief with the help of massage. It was practiced worldwide starting from ancient times.
Massage helps us in keeping the balance b/n the inner body and the environment.
Are you curious to know more about it? Don’t worry, there are a lot of people like you out there enthusiastic to know and understand what exactly it is? When and where did it originate? Its benefits?
And here, I am going to brief it thoroughly to you. Keep reading.
What Is Massage?
until the 1800s, the word massage was not mentioned in most of the historic pieces of literature. However, it was mentioned in several other languages.
It is believed that the word massage comes from the Greek verb masso or massein, to mean “ to handle, to touch, to work with the hands, or to knead dough”
And others claim that it was derived from the French word masser, to mean “friction of kneading”. the French, in turn, may have borrowed the word from colonial India, where the Portuguese used the word amasser, or” to knead” from the Latin word massa, meaning “mass, dough,” it also may be derived from the Arabic word massa’h, meaning “to touch, feel, or handle, “.
Anyways, massage is a systemic process of rubbing, manipulating, kneading, and stroking the human body using hands and other devices for therapeutic, palliative, or wellness purposes. Except in certain circumstances, It is almost a passive process done by other masseuses or masseurs to induce physical, mental, and emotional healing. To learn more on massage, Click Here.
But, it may also be done actively by individuals on themselves. there are different modalities of rub techniques applied for different purposes. Some of them are full-body massages and the others are locally targeted rubs for specific therapeutic purposes.
In order to achieve effective body manipulations, massage therapists use different types of massage agents like oils, gels, stones, cups, and other aromatic substances. However, massage may also be done without essential oils on dry body status. as well, you should understand that all rub styles follow their own stroking techniques based on the intent expected to produce and achieve better results.
History Of Massage
there is no ample evidence supporting the exact origin of massage, showing where and when it was exactly started. But, there are different speculations forwarded by different individuals regarding this.
Some of these claims that there were hints in different places suggesting as it was started 15,000yrs ago in prehistoric times and others like Florida Acadamy track it as it was practiced 5000yrs ago BCE.
Nevertheless, let’s see the development of massage throughout history. below, we will see how it evolves over a period of time from ancient times up to today’s contemporary world in chronological order. Have a look over it.
Ancient Day Massage
The practice of massage therapy is part of an ancient traditional holistic system of healing methods that starts before 5000yrs ago BCE in prehistoric times. historic and archaeological evidence shows that massage has been practiced for thousands of years across the world.
The eastern world like China, India, and others were pioneers in initiating the philosophies in kneading and stroking therapies and later it expands to the western world. Indeed, ancient Chinese, Indians, Japans, Egypt, Rome, and greek were the pioneers in the history of massage.
3000 years ago BCE, India began practicing some forms of massage, which was believed to be of divine origin.
As time goes on, this style of bodywork was passed down on words of mouth from generation to generation.
During the ancient period, ancient Hindu prophets and natural scientists developed a discipline called Ayurveda, which means “life health” medicine.
Ayurveda is a traditional holistic medical system that was proposed after centuries of studies, experiments, and meditations, which was intended to serve as a benchmark for rubbing principles.
In between 1500 BCE and 500 BCE, detailed principles and practices regarding Ayurveda were written. these principles and practices were taken into use throughout India and southwest Asia.
Ayurveda believes that humans will contract with ailments and illnesses when they get dissociated from their surroundings. to cure these ailments, individuals must restore their psychological and physical balance by recreating a harmony b/n themselves and the environment around them. thus, they will get healed naturally.
According to the patients’ health status, institution, and time of year, Ayurveda recommends how to use the five sense organs to confront the world in order to create balance b/n the environment and human beings.
In the Ayurveda text, in the dinacharya concept, it is mentioned that rubbing should be done after doing exercises.
When someone contracts with health imbalances, Ayurveda recommends the following treatment options to regain health and balance; touch therapy, aromatherapy, herbalism, diet, color therapy, and sound therapy combined with stroking.
Around 2700 BCE, in China, texts documenting the medical benefit of massage therapy were found. Chinese Buddhists and Taoists who saw touch as important to their spiritual yoga training, expertise, and methods of doctors in traditional Chinese medicine, practitioners of martial arts, and laymen who offer massage for relaxations, all combined together, develops the Chinese tradition of rub therapy called “ the yellow emperor’s classic book of internal medicine”.
This was the first codified mention of rub therapy text in ancient Chinese. ancient Chinese stroke methods originated from the principles that ailments and illnesses arise due to lack of or imbalance in the energy/ qi, chi/ in the specific pathways or meridians of the body that represent psychological systems.
So, via rub and other peculiar bodywork techniques, energy will flow more harmoniously through these pathways permitting the body to heal itself naturally.
To achieve this, they were using several techniques like tui na, amno, acupuncture, and acupressure to mention a few. practitioners may also complement rub treatments with herbal remedies, dietary therapy, and exercise recommendations.
The massage philosophies and practices were traveled from china to Egypt in the sixth century.
Both Egypt and China were pioneers in documenting written rub therapies. in Egypt, there were recorded tomb painting evidence that shows individuals being kneaded by others.
In addition to these, Egyptians were credited with creating reflexology massage around 2500 BCE.
In this system/reflexology rub/, the therapists apply pressure to specific points or reflex zones on the feet, hand, and ears. as a result, the individual in return gets and experiences beneficial effects somewhere on the areas of the body that connect to these zones.
Around 1000 BCE, massage therapy was practiced in japan which was brought by monks from China. during this time, Japanese monks were learning Buddhism in China and witnessed the healing power of traditional Chinese medicine including rub therapy.
As it was borrowed from China, the Japanese stroking therapy was almost as similar as the Chinese. Sooner, japan starts to import, adopt and customize Chinese rub techniques giving rise to traditional Japanese rub or anma, which later grow to shiatsu.
Primarily, the goal of shiatsu was to raise the energy levels in the patient, as a result, this increased energy level regulates and fortifies the functioning of the organs and stimulates natural resistance to illnesses.
In order to balance the patient’s energy levels, practitioners stimulate pressure points in the body by using fingers, thumbs, and palms without using needles or other instruments. via these therapies, patients can achieve balance in both their physical bodies and emotional well-being.
In between 800 BCE and 700 BCE, athletes and philosophers introduced massage therapy to Greece and start practicing it.
Believed to be derived from the oriental world prior philosophies and practices, rubbing expanded and progressed into the western world in the eighteenth century.
In ancient Greece, sportsmen and women were exercising rubbing therapy to keep their bodies in healthy and energetic condition before the commencement of the competition.
Moreover, during that era, physicians were also using different kinds of herbs and oils in combination with rubbing to treat and cure several medical and other illnesses. it was during that era, that greek women recognize and adopt the use of aromatic therapy for beauty purposes.
Later on, in the fifth century BCE, after dealing with the benefits of rubbing therapy, the reputable philosopher, Hippocrates, starts prescribing “friction “therapy for treating physical injuries, after his master, Herodicus, teaches him that friction can brace and incarnate.
And as well, all his physician colleagues were informed on the importance of this therapy to heal the body by itself.
In addition to this, Hippocrates promotes the use of a combination of exercise, rest, diet, fresh air, music to restore the human body to normal status. during that era, another Greek physician, asclepiads, stopped all his medicines and rely on rubbing alone. he noticed that sleep can be induced by stroking.
The Romans in turn get the massage tradition from Greece. around 200 BCE and 100 BCE, rub therapy was started practicing in Romans.
A well-known physician called Galen, a physician to many emperors, began using rub therapy, to cure different types of physical injuries and diseases in the era of the first century.
Galen also adopts and believes rest, exercise, a healthy diet, and rubbing as integral parts in restoring and maintaining a healthy body. in the ancient Romans, many people were treated with rub in public bathes by trainers and doctors.
While the wealthy Romans were receiving the stroking service at home with private physicians, the other ordinary people were serving at public baths.
During that time, before the bodywork commences, at first, the patients/clients should bathe themselves well then get the full-body rubbing therapy intended to facilitate blood flow and to loosen joint stiffness.
At that time, rubbing was undertaken by using oils to help the skin to have smooth interaction. in roman culture, public bathes were highly popular and accepted.
But, in the fourth century, the Roman emperor, Constantine, condemn the public bathes for motivating sex abuse contrary to the Roman culture.
To learn more on ancient Asian massages, Click here.
N.B. prehistoric time refers to the time of period starting from the appearance of humans until the beginning of written shreds of evidence. and ancient period refers to the time from the commence of written/recorded pieces of evidence until the fall of the roman empire, 476a.d.
Massage In The Middle Ages
Conventionally, the middle age starts from the fall of the roman empire, 476a.d, up to the fifteenth century, and ended with the fall of Constantinople in 1453a.d. in the middle ages, practicing ancient traditions and cultures were almost declined or abandoned.
Especially, in the early periods of the middle ages, the ancient cultures were literally abandoned. at this time, the period was labeled as “dark ages”
However, during that time period, some roman texts were translated into other languages like Arabic and they were incorporated into their medical guidance. Since then, massage therapy was one of the disciplines instilled in their medical system.
The modern period starts from the 17th century up to now. but, in between the middle age and modern-day, there is a time called the renaissance.
Starting from the fourteen century up to the sixteen century, the period was called the European renaissance. this period was a game-changer in between the middle age and modern-day histories.
In the modern-day, Many revolutionary changes in medicine and medical technologies begin to evolve. ancient Greek and Latin texts were translated and revitalize modern western medicine.
Ambroise pares, a french surgeon/ from1515-1590/ was one of the individuals who discussed the effects of massage and friction to treat dislocated joints and orthopedic conditions. and William Harvey / from 1578 -1657/ had discussed the association of massage and good blood flow.
In the western world, rubbing therapy was not well known until 1600 CE. in b/n 17th to 19 th centuries CE, Europe recognizes massage therapy.
Especially, when renaissance and new medical breakthroughs come to evolve, the traditional healing powers of rubbing starts to fade out in the westerners.
Starting from 1600 CE, many western physicians and scientists witnessed and recorded the benefits of rubbing. but, western techniques do not make more signs of progress until the 19 century.
As early as 1800 CE, a Swedish physician, per Henrik ling developed the Swedish gymnastic movement system. in this system, rubbing was incorporated together with physiology and medical gymnastics.
Per Henrik Ling includes techniques like pressing and squeezing, stroking, and striking to manually treat physical issues.
To read more on modern-day Swedish massage, Click here.
In the USA, massage was introduced lately at the end of the 19th century. It was in the early 20th that new rub techniques were recorded and practiced.
Especially, rubbing was used to treat world war first patients who suffer nerve injuries. furthermore, it was not incorporated into the mainstream pedagogy for many years. in addition to this, rubbing was taken as a luxury practice reserved for only the wealthy ones.
In the middle of the 20th century, an increased interest in natural healing methods revitalized massage therapy and many more states begin to regulate the practice.
And a standard for licensing and education starts to emerge. based on this, rubbing gets a place to be a legitimate and respectable form of alternative and complementary medicine in America. To read more on massage, Click Here.
Benefits Of Massage
massage therapy has several benefits. it has physical, mental, and spiritual healing powers. According to better health, some of the benefits include
The Physical Benefits Include-
- To heal physical injuries
- To relieve physical pain
- To prevent and cure illness
- To improve body relaxation
- To promote health and wellness
- To loosen joint stiffness
- To improve bone health
- To enhance immunity
- To boost energy
- To improve blood circulation
- To soothe nerve injury
The Mental Benefits Include
- To relieve mental stress
- To relieve depression
- To soothe anxiety
- To reduce insomnia
- To improve mood disorder
- To soothe incessant thoughts
- To improve peace of mind
The Spiritual Benefits Include-
- To improve emotional health
- To improve spiritual health
- To bring enlightenment
- To achieve being and presence
- To bring livelity and vitality
- To bring full consciousness
In general, regardless of the different views on massage evolution and origins, whether it is cosmic in origin or emanates from the deep understanding of ancient humans on physical bodies, rub therapy has tremendous importance in improving health and wellness and in boosting the quality of life.
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