What is massage?
Massage is the use of hands, or mechanical means, to manipulate the soft tissues of the body, particularly muscles. It can be used for relaxation, stimulation or rehabilitation of the whole body or part of it. It promotes suppleness of the muscles, improves circulation and reduces stress.
Where does it come from?
The technique of massage does not come from one culture but many, people all over the world use touch as a form of communication and comfort.
The word massage originates from many different languages
eg. massa (Latin) that means which forms a lump, massein (Greek) means to knead, masser (French) means to rub, mass (Arabic) means to touch or feel
The use of massage has been recorded in China from 3000 BC and the ancient Chinese called their technique “amma”. They used specific movements on particular points of the body. It was used for promotion and restoration of health as well as for relaxation.
The Japanese used similar pressure points and the “Shiatsu” method derived from this ancient massage practice.
In India massage has always been used as part of traditional Ayurvedic medicine. “Ayur” means life and “veda” means knowledge. This forms the basis of much medicinal knowledge today.
For the ancient Greeks massage formed part of everyday exercise and fitness.
The Romans used massage for the treatment of stiff and sore muscles, curing diseases, strengthening the constitution and improving circulation. Gladiators were given massage before and after bouts of fighting. Julius Caesar, the Roman emperor, had massage daily.
All fo these countries, both in the past and in the present, are renowned for their holistic or whole body, mind and spirit approach to medicine. Massage is still used as a holistic treatment, considering the whole person not just the symptom or condition.
Modern day massage has developed due to an increased awareness of, and interest in, complementary therapies and alternative medicine.