No one really knows how massage originated, or where it originated. The origins of massage are as old as humankind, for touch is the most instinctive response to soreness, pain, and debility. As species we can exist without many things but touching is not one of them. The physical contact is used by human beings to demonstrate love and affection and to comfort.
Massage comes from the Arabic word mass/mas’s meaning ‘to press softly. Massage as a holistic treatment means treating the whole person, body, mind, and spirit. Research suggests that massage was in use several centuries before the birth of Christ. It was mentioned in ancient Greek, Egyptian, Indian and Chinese medical texts. It was mentioned in the 18lh Century B.C. by Homer in his book Odyssey, mentioned by Hippocrates around the 4lh Century B.C. and the physician Galen (AD 150) was known to use massage for the treatment and prevention of disease. Massage was taught in Egyptian temples alongside herbal medicine.
As babies, touch is essential to our growth, both physically and mentally. In a recent experiment on premature babies, a US psychologist, nurse, and specialist in early childhood development, demonstrated that massage from the mothers increased nerve and brain cell development, accelerated weight gain, and generally increased hormonal functioning and cell activity.
There is not much difference in the concept of massage and massage therapy. When a layman uses the touch, pressing and kneading actions to bring about a feeling of lightness and happiness in the receiver, he is practising the art of massage. But, when the same techniques are used in a scientific manner, taking into account the muscle locations, stress points and other anatomical considerations, it becomes massage therapy.
General Time Line
The information in this timeline is from many sources, mainly massage textbooks, massage books and massage school manuals. There are many contradictions in the various sources and the dates can only be taken as approximates in many cases.
Massage is a holistic therapy. It has effect on both body and mind. Massage increases the circulation of blood and flow of lymph. The direct mechanical effect to rhythmically applied manual pressure and movement used in massage can dramatically increase the rate of blood flow. Also, the stimulation of nerve receptors causes the blood vessels (by reflex action) to dilate, which also facilitates blood flow. This has profound influence on one’s health.
From what began as a soothing touch and comfort giving action, massage has developed into a major stream of therapy. There are several kinds of massage strokes, which are practised as per the requirement of the situation.
Massage is a very effective technique for controlling pain.
If you suffer from any of the following disorders, you may benefit by clinical massage:
When you accept that massage can heal the body, it helps of understand how healing take, place. Massage can have immediate benefits for the healthy individuals but if a person is ill, recovery takes time. Massage therapists have identified four stages in the healing process.