Modern massage techniques have evolved mainly from a system developed by a Swedish physiologist called Per Henrik Ling (1776-1839). He developed a system of passive and active exercises known as 'Swedish Remedial Gymnastics' and also a system of massage movements. Ling used the terms 'effleurage', 'petrissage', 'vibration', 'friction', 'rolling' and 'slapping'. Most of these terms are still used today, but some changes and modifications have been made in the groupings and names of manipulations.
Dr Johann Mezgner (1839-1909), a Dutch physician, developed massage for use in rehabilitation and used it successfully to treat many diseases and disorders. He adapted massage techniques in the light of his knowledge of anatomy and physiology. His theories, based on sound scientific principles, became accepted as medical practice and gained him many followers, particularly in Germany and America.
The work of Ling and Mezgner established massage as an effective therapeutic treatment. Techniques were taught in medical schools and the beneficial effects became widely recognised and accepted in the medical field. In England, the eminent surgeon John Grosvenor (1742-1823) used massage to treat joints. He recommended massage for the treatment of rheumatism, gout and stiffness of joints.
Nurses were encouraged to train and use massage for the treatment of patients, under the guidance of doctors. In 1894 a group of women founded the Society of Trained Masseuses. Rules and regulations for training and examinations for qualifying were established. These women raised standards and fought to establish massage therapy as a reputable profession.
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