The history of massage therapy is a very ancient one; this art of physical manipulation for healing purposes is several millennia old.
The very old texts of Ancient civilizations such as India, Greece, Egypt, Rome, China and Mesopotamia have references to massage that date back several centuries BC.
How old is the history of massage therapy?
Some experts believe that massage has been practiced in some or other form for the past 5000 years; that ancient Ayurvedic texts dating back 3000 BC describe massage practices for restoring physical and mental health.
Chinese texts that probably date back about 2700 years BC have references to massage in them. Depictions of massage have been found even in ancient Egyptian tombs.
Greek and Roman physicians were known to use massage as one of the principal ways of relieving pain.
One known instance of the antiquity of massage therapy is that of Julius Caesar, who was known to have massage therapy for his neuralgia.
In fact the ancient Greek physician Hippocrates is quoted as having said that knowing massage was quite an essential skill for a physician.
Revival of massage therapy
While the history of massage therapy is clearly an ancient one, it had something of a revival in the middle of the 19th century, particularly in the United States.
American physicians who had studied Swedish massage popularized this therapy based on Per Henrik Ling’s techniques.
The popularity of massage received something of a setback in the 1930’s and the 1940’s when there were considerable advances being made in the field of conventional medicine. At this time people scorned to use ancient, natural therapies as being ineffectual or outdated.
However in the 1970’s the history of massage therapy received another lease in life when it became popular among athletes and sports persons. At this time the benefits of massage as a relaxation and sleep aid and a method of pain management were widely used by nurses to help their patients.
Massage therapy in modern times
As more and more people look to traditional and natural therapies for healing and wellness, massage therapy has once again gained popularity. Though many in the scientific community claim there is no evidence to suggest that massage has the therapeutic impact that it does, the rising popularity of massage seems to suggest otherwise.
The history of massage therapy has come a full circle. Today organizations realize the benefit of offering massage to employees. Sportsperson incorporate massage it into their fitness programs, and individuals derive various health benefits from it.