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History & Benefits of Massage Therapy

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Massage has existed as long as there have been human beings. It is a nature instinct to "rub away pain" which can be considered the simplest form of massage.

Chinese Literature in 3000 BC shows that massage, exercise, martial arts and meditation were considered complete health.

Hindu Writings in 1800 BC indicates massage was used for weight reduction, sleep aid, relaxation and fatigue. The Hindu was also interested in hygiene, so they combined massage with bathing and shampooing.

Greeks in 300 BC used massage and exercise as a part of their daily regular routine. Soldiers were given regular massages to ease pain and fatigue during training, as well as before and after tournaments.

Physicians and Massage

Herodicus, in 5th Century BC, was a Greek physician who professed to have great success in prolonging lives with a combination of massages, herbs, and oils.

Hippocrates, 460 to 380 BC. is considered the Father of Medicine. He claimed that he could improve joint function and increase muscle tone with massage. He also believed that massage strokes should be carried toward the hearth rather than the feel. This was astonishing since there was no knowledge of blood circulation at that time.

Per Henrik Lind, 1776 to 1839, was a physician who formulated Gymnastics. Gymnastics originated as a combination of massage and exercise.

John Grosvenor , 1742-1823, was an English surgeon and professor at Oxford University who demonstrated the benefits of massage therapy in reliving stiff joints, gout and rheumatism. Although he did not include exercise in his treatment, he believed the healing of joints and tissues were by the action of friction and rubbing.

In World War II massage was used in English hospitals to treat injuries.

Benefits of Massage

  • Assists venous flow of blood
  • Encourages lymphatic flow
  • Reduces edema
  • Stimulates sensory receptors of the skin and subcutaneous tissues
  • Relaxation
  • Improves self-esteem
  • Improves flexibility
  • Provides gentle stretching of the tissues
  • Encourages endorphin release
  • Can stimulate or sooth nerves

Note: LaChelle Cohn is a licensed Massage Therapist at Dunagan Yates Alison Day Spa. She is Certified by the National Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork.

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