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.
Archaeological evidence of massage has been found in many ancient civilizations including China, India, Japan, Korea, Egypt, Rome, Greece, and Mesopotamia.
BC 2330: The Tomb of Akmanthor  (also known as “The Tomb of the Physician”) in Saqqara, Egypt depicts two men having work done on their feet and hands, presumably massage.
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).
BC 460: Hippocrates wrote “The physician must be experienced in many things, but assuredly in rubbing”.
BC 300 Charaka Samhita believed to be the oldest of the three ancient treatises of Ayurvedic medicine, including massage. Sanskrit records indicate that massage had been practiced in India long before the beginning of recorded history.
AD 581: Dr Sun Si Miao introduces ten new massage techniques and systematized the treatment of childhood diseases using massage therapy.
AD 581: China establishes a department of massage therapy within the Office of Imperial Physicians.
Middle-Ages: Medical knowledge, including that of massage, made its way from Rome to Persia in the Middle Ages. Many of Galen’s manuscripts, for instance, were collected and translated by Hunayn ibn Ishaq in the 9th century. Later in the 11th century copies were translated back into Latin, and again in the 15th and 16th centuries, when they helped enlighten European scholars as to the achievements of the Ancient Greeks. This renewal of the Galenic tradition during the Renaissance played a very important part in the rise of modern science.