Massage History

History of Massage Therapy.

City Center Massage Singapore is an extremely old healing tradition. Many cultures – including the Ancient Greeks, Egyptians, Chinese and Indians – practiced and encourage massage as they were convinced of the therapeutic properties of massage and used it to treat a variety of ailments. The modern history of massage, can be traced back to Swedish physiologist, Per Henrik Ling (1776-1837) who has often being called the” father of Swedish massage,” but it was the Dutch practitioner Johan Georg Mezger (1838-1909) who adopted the French names to denote the basic strokes under which he systemized massage. By the 1890’s a number of physicians from the America had published books describing in detail with text and illustrations the massage movements, and in their books they used the name which Mezger had coined. To-day, we still refer to a relaxation massage as a “ Swedish Massage”

These books by the American physicians brought about the advent of massage as a stand-alone therapeutic tool for the first time in its long history. But the history of massage is far, far older that the 19th century:

Massage Singapore History

History of Massage Therapies

  • 3000 BC– Chinese: Cong-Fu of the Toa-Tse. Oldest known book written about massage. It was translated to French in the early 1700’s.
  • 2500 BC – Egyptians recorded massaging the feet and hands to cure ailments.
  • 1000 BC– Homer wrote about using olive oil for massage
  • 776 BC– Olympic Games. It was recorded that Athletes were massaged prior to their events.
  • 500 BC– Herodicus– prescribed gymnastics and massage to heal. Considered to be the founder of sports massage.
  • 460-380 BC– Hippocrates ( taught by Herodicus) used massage in his medical teaching
  • 90 BC – Chinese created acupuncture
  • 600ADs – Japanese developed shiatsu (finger pressure or acupressure)
  • 1300-1368– Guy deChauliac wrote a book on surgery mentioning massage as an adjunct to surgery.
  • 1517-1590– Ambroise Pare, French barber surgeon, raised awareness of the use of massage to assist in curing after illness
  • 1776-1839 – Per Henrik Ling- fencing master and gymnast studied massage after he cured himself of rheumatism in his arm. Developed a system of Medical Gymnastics.
  • 1800’s-Reiki is believed to date back to early Tibetan healing practices. Re -discovered in the 1800’s by a Japanese philosopher and Christian seminary educator, Dr. Mikao Usui
  • 1800’s-Canadia promoted Deep Muscle work. This technique addresses specific muscles and muscle groups that offers fast results for both pain and stress.
  • 1895 – Sigmund Freud. Used Massage Therapy to treat hysteria. Postulated that what we did not or will not confront in our lives would be buried in the body in the unconscious mind.
  • 1895 -Harvey Kellogg – wrote “The Art of Massage” –most definitive text of it’s time.
  • 1899 – Sir William Bennet- Started a massage department at St. George’s Hospital in London.
  • 1900’s – The Alexander Technique was developed by an Australian actor F.M. Alexander
  • 1920’s – Eunice Ingham – an American nurse coins the phrase reflexology, draws up reflexology charts and treatments based on the Egyptian method, after curing injured soldiers from World War I
  • 1950’s – Australian Tom Bowen develops his Bowen Technique. Treats over 13 000 people a year with an 80% success rate.
  • 1970’s – Regulated bodies formed to set standards and ethics for all forms of massage treatments.

Since the above prolific range of new modalities or massage styles have been incorporated into the field of massage. In all probability as we get to know and understand more of the subtle energies of the body, more modalities will make their way into main stream massage.