Since the dawn of time: Massage therapy throughout history

Since the dawn of time: Massage therapy throughout history

In 1998, Tiffany M. Field wrote in the American Psychologist journal that "massage therapy is older than recorded time". Indeed, many archaeologists, historians, anthropologists and art historical scholars have discovered that the medicinal use of massage dates back millennia. Massage therapy courses are an excellent way to make your story part of this rich history.

In the past 

The history of massage therapy is fascinating, with its origins tracing back to antiquity. Ancient civilisations in China, India, Japan, Egypt, Greece and Arabic nations wrote historic documents and crafted artefacts which suggest they used massage as medicine.

In Saqqara, hieroglyphs and wall paintings in the tomb of an ancient Egyptian physician depicted people rubbing feet and engaged in massage therapy. In addition to such artworks, written records also exist. These date as far back as before 375 B.C. in the work of renowned ancient Greek physician Hippocrates. 

Considered the father of medicine, Hippocrates defined medicine as the art of rubbing. He wrote "the physician must be experienced in many things but assuredly also in rubbing" which he called 'anatripsis.' He emphasised rubbing was therapeutic and important for healing ailments. 

Robert Noah Calvert wrote in his book 'The History of Massage: An Illustrated Survey from Around the World' that Hippocrates' writings on anatripsis demonstrate how important the theory and practice of massage was during the Greek medical revolution. Several proverbs from other ancient philosophers also indicate massage was a commonly used and respected method for treating ailments. 

In the present 

Field noted massage was one of the key forms of medicine as recently as the 1940s, when the pharmaceutical revolution offered drugs and other medication. Today, massage therapy is classified as complementary and alternative medicine. With the benefits ranging from improved blood circulation to de-stressing the mind and body, massage is considered a useful remedy. 

The art of rubbing and using pressure points have a long history, and even today people turn to massage as a viable therapy. 

Posted On 23/03/15

Related Blog Posts



Enquire Now - (Course) Certificate III in Fitness Course (SIS30315)

  • Have An Enquiry About This Course?

    Enter your details below, and we’ll get back to you in the next 24-48 hours:

Enquire Now - General Universal Form

  • Enter your details below, and we’ll get back to you in the next 24-48 hours: