Therapeutic Massage: A Timeline

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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: Naturalhealers.com, Thebodyworker.com, University of Maryland Medical Center

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