- Karen Stoner, LMT
Massage Tips and Trivia: Evidence of massage can be found in just about every ancient civilization
"Evidence of massage can be found in relics and historical data from just about every ancient civilization including Egypt, China, India, and Greece"
Massage isn't new. It may seem like it is something that has only come about in the contemporary world, but really the only things about it that are new are certain techniques that develop as medical understanding progresses, and more advertising and commercialization. Many techniques used today are rooted in techniques that have been practiced for centuries all over the world, and there are relics to prove it.
Hieroglyphics in Ancient Egypt show that was massage was used as early as 2500 BC. They developed an early form of reflexology as well as bodywork techniques. Writings in India go back even earlier to 3000 BC when massage was used by religious practitioners to bring the body back into balance with nature and the environment, therefore healing illness and discomfort. Massage traveled from culture to culture as trade and travel developed throughout the world. In China and Japan, massage techniques from India combined with traditional Chinese Medicine, Martial Arts, and Yoga practices to enhance each one in it's own way.
Hippocrates, the "Father of Medicine" lived in Ancient Greece sometime during the 5th Century BC. His writings explain that he, like physicians for 2 centuries before him, used "friction and rubbing techniques with oils and herbs" for their athletes and warriors to heal injuries and keep them in top physical form. Spa treatments are not new either - you can thank the Ancient Romans for their public baths where the general public could go to relax and receive bodywork to help them with their daily lives. Even massage therapy as we know it today started to come about in the 1800s with Swedish physician Per Henrik Ling who created "Medical gymnastics" which evolved into today's modern "Swedish Massage".
So Massage isn't a newfangled thing. It has been around for a very long time, and has been used for everything from religion to medicine to relaxation. For something that has been around for so long, and something that has been used by so many cultures in so many different ways, and is still around and being used today - this thing must do some good stuff.