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Massage is More Than Relaxing

3000 B.C. – Ayurvedic wisdom in India includes a form of massage

2700 B.C. – Chinese texts document the medical benefits of massage

2500 B.C. – Egyptians created reflexology

1000 B.C. – Monks studying Buddhism in China introduce massage to Japan.

800 B.C. – Athletes in Ancient Greece use massage to keep their bodies in peak condition prior to competitions

493 B.C. – Biblical reference documents daily massage with olive oil and myrrh

460 B.C. – Hippocrates promotes friction by rubbing to treat sprains and dislocations

150 B.C. – Roman physician uses massage therapy to treat injuries and disease

100 A.D. – First schools of massage were developed in China

1368-1644 – In China’s Ming Dynasty, pediatric massage evolved into a highly systematic treatment modality

1500s – European doctors and scientists raise awareness about the benefits of massage

1800s – Swedish physician Per Henrik Lik incorporates massage with medical gymnastics and physiology

1850s – Scientific massage therapy was introduced in the U.S.

1884 – Massage Scandals in Europe…physicians became skeptical of claims made by massage therapist and accused practitioners of stealing patients

1894 – Society of Trained Masseuses formed in Britain

1895 – Sigmund Freud used massage therapy to treat hysteria

1914-1918 – Massage used for rehabilitation of injured soldiers during World War I.

1927 – First massage association: New York State Society of Medical Massage Therapists

1930s – Hospitals staffed physical therapists who were doing massage.

1939 – The Florida State Massage Therapy Association organizes

1943 – First Massage Act was passed by the Florida Legislature…Chicago American Association of Masseurs and Masseuses forms

1949 – Massage Registration Act created

1960s – Esalen Center offers massage training and boosts its appeal

1970s – Massage use becomes popular with runners and athletes

1980s – Association of Bodywork and Massage Practitioners forms

1996 – Summer Olympics in Atlanta: first time massage offered as a core medical service

1997 – U.S. survey shows consumers spend as much as $6 billion on massage therapy

Today – More than 125,000 massage therapists are practicing in the U.S., with more than 80 million appointments by Americans every year

Resources:,, University of Maryland Medical Center

Staff Reports

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