A Brief Summary of the History of Massage

Definition of massage: manipulation of tissues (as by rubbing, stroking, kneading, or tappying) with the hand or an instrument especially for therapeutic purposes. The term is derived from the Greek ‘masso’, to knead, and the Arabic ‘mass’, to press gently.

History of massage tables: THE PLANET of Massage Museum displays a Victorian massage table from 1878, a vibrating massage table made in 1918. The word massage table arrived sometime during the late 1920s. Prior to that, devices useful for massage were called couches. The first massage tables were used before Greeks and Romans and were manufactured from marble slabs called plinths and limestone. In the late 19th century, during the Victorian era, where in fact the term massage couch was used for massage tables that were furniture pieces. They were usually filled with horsehair and were upholstered with velvet or similar material. Horse hair was used since it was more resistant than cotton. Then came the 1920s, when massage tables were developed in the usa. In the 1930s, the first portable massage table was made, made of a wooden frame with metal or wooden legs. The facial skin hole cut in to the head appeared sometime in the 1940s. Many practitioners adapted to George Downing’s tables from his 1960s book, “The Massage Book”, including homemade models which were copied for another decade until the 1970s when they were commercially manufactured and readily available. The Battlecreek Company manufactured the first light-weight massage table, introducing their aluminum folding portable table in the 1950s. The facial skin cradle, which attaches to the end of the massage table was initially introduced in the 1980s. The first tables were made of wood and vinyl covered foam padding. Now current models are ergonomically made with multilayered padding and come in a range of styles and colors. deweyshouse.com Specialty tables are available, such as those for women that are pregnant, doing special bodywork that requires an extra wide tabletop, on the list of numerous options available in today’s market. Massage table tops are often cleaned and is no longer an issue with hygiene. Also, they are water/oil resistant and durable. Today, most high quality massage tables are being stated in the United States.

History of massage: The oldest written record of massage is approximately 4000 years old. It was within a Chinese medical text, dated at around 1800 BC. Hippocrates of Cos (460 to 380 B.C.), the daddy of medicine and author of the Hippocratic Oath, wrote “the physician must be experienced in many things but assuredly also in rubbing (anatripses); for items that have the same name haven’t always exactly the same effects. For rubbing can bind a joint that is too loose and loosen a joint that is too rigid… Rubbing can bind and loosen; could make flesh (referring to the ability to tone muscle mass) and cause parts to waste (soften and relax). Hard rubbing binds; soft rubbing loosens; much rubbing causes parts to waste; moderate rubbing makes them grow.” Europe turned away teachings through the Dark Ages. Pehr Heinrick Ling, from Sweden, used his work in manual therapy with athletes especially gymnasts, which resulted in his development and research of soft tissue technique known as Swedish Massage. He was regarded as the ‘father of modern massage’. You can find currently over 70 massage modalities practiced in the United States. Included in this are Stone Massage, Reflexology, Pregnancy Massage, Thai Yoga Bodywork, Craniosacral Therapy, etc. There are different types of massage, like the common types: Swedish massage, deep massage, sports massage, trigger point massage. Today, there is a continuous rise in ‘preventative medicine’ where modalities such as massage, yoga, acupuncture, nutrition, have taken place in American’s good health practice.