Massage in History

In ancient times people lived in tribes and groups where women held babies next to them in slings and packs and touch was constant.  Every member of the village had a role in the survival of the people and helped to care for the babies.  Infant massage is thought to have begun before recorded history as since recorded history it has existed as a common practice among the oldest cultures in the world today.  The first written records began to reference the positive health benefits from massage:

Ancient_Egyptian_massage2700 BC – from China,  1800 BC – from India,  350 to 500 BC – from Egypt, Persia, Japan and Greece, Hippocrates, the father of medicine wrote: “The physician must be experienced in many things but assuredly in rubbing…For rubbing can bind a joint that is too loose and loosen a joint that is too rigid.”

100 BC to 50 AD – from the Romans, Caesar & physician Celsus

Biblical references –  to healing as “laying on of hands” and “anointing with oil”.

1450 to 1600 AD Renaissance from Persia to Italy’s medical schools references to massage and then spreading to other European cities of rising prosperity.

1517-1590 AD French Dr. Ambroise Pare one of the founders of modern surgery, used massage, particularly friction massage, in the treatment of stiff and injured joints.

1776-1839 AD Swedish fencing master and gymnastics teacher Per Henrik Ling designed the Swedish Movement System and Dutch practitioner Johan Georg Mezger, adopted the French names of basic strokes under which he systemized massage as we know it today, as Swedish or classic massage.

Mid 1800’s to mid 1900’s – Many behaviorists, from Luther Emmett Holt, John Watson, to Dr. Benjamin Spock recommended less handling of babies in favor of training them to master schedules of eating and sleeping.  During the nineteenth century, many babies died of Marasmus, a wasting away generally by neglect and as a result Dr. Fritz Talbot in 1910 changed the care of babies in german hospitals in favor of handling, carrying, and rocking babies.  “Tender Loving Care” in the children’s clinic in Dusseldorf , Germany found that babies who were rocked after nursing generally had less colic, intestinal spasm, and became happier babies than those who remained in their beds without rocking.

1957 – Dr. Harry Harlow’s studies showed baby monkeys preferred a soft cloth artificial mother to food from a wire artificial mother.  Since then, numerous studies with human babies have repeatedly shown the benefits of touch, carrying, rocking and massage.

At Family Massage Education Center, massage for the entire family is our passion! We offer several classes for families to learn, in a nurturing and encouraging environment, how to help each other give and receive the many benefits of massage. Check out our schedule to find a class just right for you. Call us at 541-482-3567 to register.

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