Massage is to work and act on the body with pressure. Massage techniques are commonly applied with hands, fingers, elbows, knees, forearm, feet, or a device. The purpose of massage is generally for the treatment of body stress or pain. People who are professionally trained to give massages were traditionally known as masseurs or masseuses, but the term massage therapist has been promoted.
In professional settings, clients are treated while lying on a massage table, sitting in a massage chair, or lying on a mat on the floor. In amateur settings, a general purpose surface like a bed or the floor is more common. Aquatic massage and bodywork is performed with recipients submersed or floating in a warm-water therapy pool.
rchaeological evidence of massage has been found in many ancient civilizations including China, India, Japan, Korea, Egypt, Rome, Greece, and Mesopotamia.
BC 722-481: Huangdi Neijing is composed during the Chinese Spring and Autumn period (the beginning of recorded history). The Nei-jing is a compilation of medical knowledge known up to that date, and is the foundation of Traditional Chinese Medicine. Massage is referred to in 30 different chapters of the Nei Jing. It specifies the use of different massage techniques and how they should be used in the treatment of specific ailments, and injuries. Also known as “The Yellow Emperor’s Inner Canon”, the text refers to previous medical knowledge from the time of the Yellow Emperor (approx 2700 BC), misleading some into believing the text itself was written during the time of the Yellow Emperor (which would predate written history).
BC 700 Bian Que, the earliest known Chinese physician uses massage in medical practice.
BC 500 Jīvaka Komarabhācca, also known as Shivago Komarpaj, the founder of Traditional Thai massage (Nuad Boran) and Thai medicine. According to the Pāli Buddhist Canon, Jivaka was Shakyamuni Buddha’s physician. He codified a healing system that combines acupressure, reflexology, and assisted yoga postures. Traditional Thai massage is generally based on a combination of Indian and Chinese traditions of medicine. Jivaka is known today as “Father Doctor” in Thailand.
BC 493: A possible biblical reference documents daily “treatments” with oil of myrrh as a part of the beauty regimen of the wives of Xerxes (Esther, 2:12).