The word “massage” is from the Greek “to handle, touch, to work with the hands, to knead dough”; Massage therapy is based on our instinct to rub areas that hurt for example, when children fall over, our instinct is to “rub it better”.
The first documented descriptions of massage date back to about 3,000 BC in China. Chinese Taoist priests practised something called ‘Qi Gong’ which is a meditative movement revealing and cultivating the vital life force. Traditional Chinese medicine is based on the principle that every illness, ailment or discomfort in the body is due to an imbalance of ‘life force’. In about 1,000 BC Japanese monks began to study Buddhism in China. They witnessed the healing methods of traditional Chinese medicine and took them back to Japan. A Greek physician called “Hippocrates” held the belief that illness had a physical and a rational explanation. He wrote “Rubbing can bind a joint that is too loose and loosen a joint that is too rigid”.
Injured gladiators were prescribed massage and also there are records which suggest Julius Cesar was massaged for neuralgia. A massage can be given using just a base oil, however if you mix essential oils with the base oil, this then becomes an aromatherapy massage.
Massage therapy is used to assist in the healing process. Some of its benefits are:
- Increased joint mobility and flexibility;
- Relief of many common symptoms of headaches, backaches, and muscle tension;
- Improve circulation;
- Decrease symptoms of depression;
- Relieve anxiety and stress relief;
- Promotes the body’s self healing abilities.