Massage As a Form of Medicine in the Past, Present and Future

Massage has always been correlated to the health of one’s body during the olden times. In fact, it may even be older than history, stemming from our natural tendency to rub areas that feel pain. Somehow, we are hardwired to apply pressure on areas of our body that feels pain and discomfort. As time progressed, we have learned to harness our nature and make it more effective.

We as a society studied what seemed like normal rubbing and applying pressure and turned it into a science. As early as 2,700 B.C., Chinese writings have mentioned, in their religious writings, the process of massage as a means to improve one’s health.

On the walls of the physician’s tomb in Saqqara Egypt, one would see artist depictions of both foot and hand massages. A few thousand miles away, in India, they were practicing medicinal massage as promoted by the Ayurveda, a system of traditional medicine indigenous to the Indian region popular during the Vedic Period.

The best evidence of the medical use of rubdowns in the past is from the father of modern western medicine, Hippocrates. In his writings, he describes various acts of rubbing and health benefits that come with it. In fact, he even defined medicine as the art of rubbing.

In both the western and eastern cultures, massage enjoyed a good reputation as an effective part of conventional healthcare, but things started to change when massage was used for more than just medicine. It became so bad that the church declared that massage was used primarily for hedonistic enjoyment and was against its teachings. As the western civilizations moved forward in their attempts to spread their ideologies and religion, the common act of rubbing muscles was deemed bad for their living soul and eventually this idea spread into the eastern culture like wildfire.

Fortunately, massage is enjoying a resurgence and renewed respect in the medical community. It started with the development of modern Swedish massage by Swedish scholar Pehr Henrik Ling. Ling was introduced to the science of massage through his travels when he met a Chinese man “Ming”. He also applied the teaching of his gymnast friend, relating to the healing effects of exercises and therapy used by gymnasts. Through the years, he studied and applied the knowledge he has gained in order to make the practice of “Swedish Medical Gymnastics” as he termed it, an accepted form of medicine.

Through his patience and hard work, he would succeed in introducing the Swedish massage into the medical community when he was appointed as the principal of the Royal Gymnastic Central Institute in 1813. The institute was established to help train gymnastic instructors. His methods were even more accepted into the mainstream when he was elected into the Swedish General Medical Association, therefore recognizing his methods as at par with recognized medical practices.

This was just the beginning. Today, people are rediscovering the health benefits of massage as techniques, both east and west, are being studied and practiced because of the health benefits they bring. Now, a person from Japan can experience a Swedish massage and at the same time at the other end of the world, a Swede can enjoy the benefits of a Shiatsu Massage.

The evidence of the medicinal benefits of massage can be seen across the world all throughout history but there is no better time to experience it than today. There is no better place to do it than here. Get a massage today and experience it for yourself.