Even in ancient times, massage was known as a remedy. Massage was used by primitive people. Obviously, stroking, rubbing, kneading the sore spot at first was purely instinctive. It was made at the earliest stages of development of traditional medicine. It was established that many centuries ago, massage was used as a remedy by the peoples living on the islands of the Pacific Ocean.
The origin of the word “massage” does not have the same explanation for different specialists. Some believe that it came from the Arabic “mass” or “masch” – “gently press, touch,” others – from the Greek “masso” – “squeeze hands”, and others – from the Latin “massa” – “stick to fingers”. But whatever the origin of the word, the essence of the massage remains the same.
Since ancient times, massage has been a part of medical art. Massage techniques were first described by Indians and Chinese.
In China, steel massage was used in the third millennium BC. There, it was used to treat rheumatic pains, dislocations, relieve fatigue, muscle spasms, etc. At the same time, while doing massage, the Chinese rubbed their hands over the whole body, gently squeezing the muscles and making special twitches in the joints. With a twitch, a crack was heard.
In one of the medical treatises of Ancient India, known as Ayurveda, massage techniques used by Indians for various diseases are described in detail. Hindus kneading the entire body – from the upper limbs to the feet. The Indians were the first to combine steam baths with massage. During a massage in a bath, a certain amount of water was poured onto red-hot iron plates, which, evaporating, penetrated the skin. When the human body was sufficiently hydrated, the massaged person was stretched on the floor, and two servants, one on each side, squeezed the relaxed muscles of the limbs with different strengths, and then massaged their stomach and chest. After this person was turned over and massage was done on the back surface of the body.
In both India and China, massage was performed by clergy. In addition, schools were established in these countries that taught massage techniques. In ancient China, the origins of preventive medicine were laid. There, in almost all provinces, medical and gymnastic schools were created, in which they trained doctors who perfectly mastered the techniques of massage and therapeutic gymnastics.
They did a primitive massage in the countries of America and Africa. For many diseases, the natives used the simplest massage techniques.
Massage was also used in Ancient Egypt, Abyssinia, Libya. He was known in these countries for 12 centuries BC. e. In Egypt, massage was combined with the effect of a bath. Nobody came out of the bath without being subjected to massage. Steamed person – rubbed, stretched, wrinkled, crushed various parts of the body in every possible way with his hands. All joints were massaged. Initially, a person was massaged in front, and then behind and from the sides. The hands were massaged separately: they were bent, various joints of the whole arm were stretched, then each finger individually, then they moved to the forearm, shoulder, chest, back, bending them in different directions. In addition to flexion, stretching and massage of the joints, kneading and rubbing of all other muscles were used. Judging by the images preserved on ancient bas-reliefs and on some Egyptian papyri, it can be concluded that the Assyrians, Persians, Egyptians were not only familiar with the massage, but also used it for therapeutic purposes. From Egypt, massage spread widely to Ancient Greece, where, together with gymnastics, it occupied an important place in the art of treating diseases. Massage was considered one of the main elements of Greek medicine. Its use was mandatory.
Homer’s Odyssey tells how the Circe in the bath oiled Odysseus with oils and rubbed it with ointments, and women knead the bodies of soldiers before the battles. Well-known Greek doctors – Herodicos, Hippocrates and others, in their writings also described in detail many massage techniques. Massage in those days was used for hygienic and therapeutic purposes (for diseases. Joints and dislocations).
Hippocrates (459-377 B.C.E.) experimentally checked all the theoretical provisions on massage. In his writings, he wrote: “… the joint can be compressed and relaxed by massage. Friction causes constriction or relaxation of tissues, leads to emaciation or fullness, dry and frequent friction tightens, and soft, gentle and moderate thickens the tissues. ”
Massage in Ancient Greece was carried out in baths with rubbing oils and ointments. The Greeks believed that massage should be used not only in medicine, but also in everyday life and sports, they introduced it in school and the army. There were special salons for skin care of the face and hands, in which hygienic and cosmetic massages were carried out.
In ancient Rome, as at one time in China and India, massage schools were opened. They were founded by Greek doctors – Asklepiad and his students. Asklepiad divided the massage into dry and with oils, strong and weak, short and long; Paracelsus recommended grinding to remove deposits and swelling.