may be the oldest and simplest form of medical care. Egyptian tomb
paintings show people being massaged. In Eastern cultures, massage
has been practiced continually since ancient times. A Chinese book
from 2,700 B.C., The Yellow Emperor's Classic of Internal Medicine,
recommends 'breathing exercises, massage of skin and flesh,
hands and feet" as the appropriate treatment for -complete
paralysis, chills, and fever. It was one of the principal method of
relieving pain for Greek and Roman physicians. Julius Caesar was said
to have been given a daily massage to treat neuralgia. "The
Physician Must Be Experienced In Many Things," wrote
Hippocrates, the father of Western medicine, in the 5th century B.
C., "but assuredly in rubbing.. . for rubbing can bind
a joint that is too loose, and loosen a joint that is too rigid."
the traditional Indian system of medicine, places great emphasis on
the therapeutic benefits of massage with aromatic oils and spices.
It is practiced very widely in India.
such as Ambroise Pare, a 16th-century physician to the French court,
praised massage as a treatment for various ailments. Swedish massage,
the method most familiar to Westerners, was developed in the 19th
century by a Swedish doctor, poet, and educator named Per Henrik Ling.
His system was based on a study of gymnastics and physiology, and
on techniques borrowed from China, Egypt, Greece, and Rome.
originally based on Ling's methods, was established with the foundation
in 1894 of the Society of Trained Masseurs. During World War I patients
suffering from nerve injury or shell shock were treated with massage.
St. Thomas's Hospital, London, had a department of massage until 1934.
However, later breakthroughs in medical technology and pharmacology
eclipsed massage as physiotherapists began increasingly to favour electrical
instruments over manual methods of stimulating the tissues.
lost some of its value and prestige with the unsavoury image created
by "massage parlors." This image is fading
as awareness of the value and therapeutic properties of massage grows.
is now used in intensive care units, for children, elderly people,
babies in incubators, and patients with cancer, AIDS, heart attacks,
or strokes. Most American hospices have some kind of bodywork therapy
available, and it is frequently offered in health centres, drug treatment
clinics, and pain clinics.
variety of massage techniques have also been incorporated into several
other complementary therapies, such as aromatherapy, reflexology,
Rolfing, Hellerwork, and osteopathy.