Massage, and its demise!

Massage is not a new therapy, it’s not a new art form, it’s not a seedy dodgy way of “getting your hands” on someone you fancy. Massage Therapy is one of the oldest forms of medical treatment ever recorded. Its first recordings date as far back as China in the second century B.C. The Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Internal Medicine is a classic Chinese publication on medicine. The exact date is unknown, but Dr Veith who translated the documentation, has carefully recorded her searches among Chinese authorities in an effort to date the work.

The evidence dates from early 2852 B.C to 1000 B.C. The Nei Ching lists five methods of treatment but the most popular and the most highly developed were acupuncture, moxibustion and massage. These methods would have been well known due to the lack of detailed description about them. If they were being introduced for the first time the methods would have been described in detail in the Nei Ching.

In India, the traditional healing system of Ayurvedic medicine also prescribed massage for a variety of medical conditions dating back to 1800 B.C. Hippocrates, in his book on Articulations, described the qualities and contra-indications of massage. For many centuries, Massage was seen as part of many cultures’ daily medical and health routines for medical and psychiatric conditions.

So what was the reason for its demise? Why do people smirk, giggle, raise their eyebrows and give me a suspicious glance when I mention that I am a massage therapist?

The beginning of its downward slide began with the social decadence of the Romans and continued in the Middles Ages when it was held in contempt by the church because it was perceived to be used for “pleasures of the flesh”.

Then came the scientific breakthroughs in medical technology and pharmacology which substantially changed the foundation of medicine in the West. Quite simply, drugs became the solution for many ailments and electrical instruments gradually replaced manual methods.

In more recent years in Britain namely the 80s and 90s, the massage parlours offering all manner of “extra services” did not help the cause. Today however, we see a new resurgence of these ancient methods of therapy, not only in China itself but all over Europe, primarily in Great Britain, France, Russia and now extending to the United States.

  • So why this new resurgence?
  • Have we got new and incurable medical and psychiatric conditions?
  • What is making people opt for alternative and complementary therapies?
  • Have we simply come full circle where we have tried everything and come back to the original methods?

Do you have any answers?  Let me know what you think.

I don’t have all the answers yet but will be researching this over the next couple of weeks to provide you with some!!!