history of massage therapy

A quick history of Massage Therapy

From the annals of “where did we get that” comes a quick history lesson on massage therapy.

We’ve been doing massage for relaxation and therapy in the United States for a number of years, but we didn’t come up with on our own.

In this article we compress thousands of years of history into a quick primer you get to enjoy in a matter of minutes!

The history of massage therapy dates back thousands years, associated with ancient cultures that believed in medical benefits of massage.

In fact acheological evidence has shown many ancieint cultures had utilized  massage, even going all the way back to Mesopotamia. The first Massage therapy written records are found in Egypt and China, that shows a history that dates back to approximately 5,000 years ago.history of massage therapy

Massage therapy has deep roots in multiple civilizations with an impressive track record of helping people heal their minds and bodies.

No less than the likes of the Romans, Hippocrates, and even Sigmund Freud, have provided a resounding endorsement of the healing and relaxing power of the therapy massage.

Many of the techniques used in ancient times are still in use today…

Chinese massagechinease massage

Chinese records on massage therapy can be dated back approximatly to 2700 BCE, and in 581AD established a center for massage therapy in the Office of Imperial Physicians.

Chinese massage therapy as a tradition was developed from the combined expertise of their doctors Chinese medicine and practitioners in martial arts.

Chinese massage therapy methods originates on the principle that illness and diseases arise due to imbalance in the body energy pathways that represent your physiological systems.

Egyptian techniques

Egypt records dates back approximately 2500 BCE: Egyptian tomb paintings indicate that massage therapy was part of their medical tradition and practice.

Once such painting in the tome of Akmanthor depicts two men having their feet and hands worked on, possibly my massage therapy.egyptian massage

Their traditions and studies had great influence on other cultures like the Romans and Greeks and other western civilizations.

Egyptians are the pioneers’ of reflexology, which is still widely used today.


The first known written massage therapy text comes from India, but the actual practice might have originated approximately 3000 BCE. Hindus believed in this art of indian massage therapyhealing touch in their practice of Ayurvedic medicine.

Ayurveda, means “life health” It is a holistic traditional medicine system, combining meditation, aromatherapy and relaxation.

Enter The West

Massage in the west gets its start in approximately Early 1800s.

It is from early massage therapy history when Swedish doctor and gymnast Per Henril Ling postulated movement known as “Swedish Movement System.”

Hence the development of Swedish massage is commonly known to the West today with many massage therapists and spas.

Today the most common technique or types of massage therapy practiced in the west are Swedish massage and Shiatsu of Japanese origin.

Where the Industry Is Going

When you analyze the history and benefits of massage, its incorporation into medicine was only a matter of time.

Research into growth and healing properties of how the body works with therapeutic massage is still ongoing.

At the same time public demand for massage therapy remains at an all the time high, with many massage schools opening their doors and providing new career opportunities.

Therapeutic massage is part of many peoples preventive measures and health practices, being offered in gyms (as part of treatment for athletes), homes, work place and spas. Massage therapy helps to promote your body balance as well as maintain your external and internal health.

Seeking out and receiving a therapeutic massage is now so commonplace in the U.S., some insurance companies offer it as part of their coverage.therapeutic massage marysville washington

In health care industry, massage therapy is now commonly used in nursing homes, hospitals and birthing centers to relax and increase circulation, relieve joint pain and treat inflammation.

Some Chiropractic clinics work hand in hand with massage therapists by keeping a therapist on staff or developing a working relationship with a local massage practice.

It is important to be familiar with the history to appreciate the technical aspects that go into massage therapy and have an appreciation for the training a massage therapist go through.

From providing relaxation and healing to career and business opportunities, the future of massage in the western world is not only looking bright, but shows acceptance and expansion.

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