History of Massage

The use of massage has been recorded in China from 3000 BC. The Ancient Chinese called their technique ‘amma’ and used specific movements on particular points of the body. It was used for the promotion and restoration of health as well as for relaxation.

The Japanese also used ‘amma’ technique with similar pressure points but they called the points ‘tsubo’. Shiatsu the application of pressure to certain points of the body to improve circulation, neural efficiency and general health is a direct descendant of this ancient Japanese massage practice.

In India massage has been used as a traditional part of Ayurvedic medicine, massage is considered to be a holistic treatment considering the whole person not just the symptom or condition.

In Ancient Greece massage formed part of everyday exercise and fitness. Hippocrates believed all doctors needed to know how to use massage for healing purposes.

In Roman Times massage was used for treating stiff sore muscles, curing disease, strengthening the constitution and improving circulation. Gladiators were given massage before and after bouts of fighting.

Modern Massage

Modern massage is based on techniques developed by Per Henrick Ling (1776-1839). He was from Sweden and massage is still referred to as Swedish massage due to his influence. In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries having studied in China, Ling developed a system of movements, which he found helpful for improving his health and maintaining his physical condition. His work was first recognised in his home country but is now recognised worldwide.

In 1884 The Society of Trained Masseuses was established, this later became the Chartered Society of Physiotherapists. Doctors extensively used massage for medical purposes in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

In the two world wars massage was used to treat nerve injury and for rehabilitation. However around this time mechanical methods of treatment began to replace manual methods. This lead to a loss of therapists and a lack of awareness of the benefits.

Massage is a form of manipulation which has developed over thousands of years. From ancient China to present-day Europe it has been used for the promotion and restoration of health.

Massage is a non-threatening, non-invasive, natural therapy.

Information from Louise Tucker Introductory guide to massage