Massage in ancient times

The earliest evidence of massage being used is found in the cave paintings of ancient cave dwellers. These wall drawings and paintings show people massaging each other. Various artefacts also found contain traces of fats and oils mixed with herbs. These indicate that lubricants may have been used, perhaps for healing, soothing or beautifying purposes.

As early as 3000 bc, the Chinese practised massage to cure ailments and improve general health. Records of this can be found in the British Museum. Ancient Chinese books record lists of massage movements with descriptions of their technique. One of these books, The Cong Fau of Tao-Tse, also contains lists of exercises and massage used to improve general health and well-being. The Chinese found that pressure techniques were very effective on specific points and they developed special techniques called amma (see Figure 0.1). This was the beginning of the development of acupressure and acupuncture.

Figure 0.1 An ancient Chinese acupuncture and massage study figure, showing treatment points.

Figure 0.1 An ancient Chinese acupuncture and massage study figure, showing treatment points.

Persian Massage

Figure 0.2 This ancient Persian document shows bathing and massage in a Turkish bath.

Figure 0.2 This ancient Persian document shows bathing and massage in a Turkish bath.

These massage techniques spread to Japan, where they were further developed. The Japanese used similar pressure techniques on specific points, which they called tsubo. This form of massage has been practised over the centuries; it has recently regained recognition and popularity and is now known as shiatsu. Many therapists have studied these techniques, which they combine with other forms of treatment for the benefit of their clients.

Records show that the Hindus practised massage as part of their hygiene routines. A sacred book called the Ayur-Veda (The Art of Life), which was written around 1800 bc, describes how shampooing and rubbing were used to reduce fatigue and promote well-being and cleanliness.

The Egyptians and Persians used massage for cosmetic as well as therapeutic effects (see Figure 0.2). They mixed fats, oils, herbs and resins for care of the skin and beautifying the body and face. Pots and jars containing these creams have been found in Egyptian tombs. Cleopatra is said to have bathed in milk and then to have been massaged with aromatic oils and creams by her handmaidens.

The practice of massage spread from the east into Europe, where it was well established by 500 bc.

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Responses

  • Amethyst
    What is the ancient book record list of massagr mobement?
    3 years ago
  • justin
    What is massage in ancient time ?
    2 years ago
  • Yolanda
    What is cong fau tao tse amma?
    1 year ago
  • efrem
    What was massage use for AMMA during ancient times?
    1 year ago
  • Cyril
    How to explain massage in ancient times?
    3 months ago
  • april
    What is the massage of cave painting?
    2 months ago

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