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April 2017
Aesthetics
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MASSAGES: AN ART THAT HAS BEEN PRACTISED FOR THOUSANDS OF YEARS


Using massages to get rid of fatigue, relieve pain, relax and allow for easy application of oils and ointments on to the skin has been used for thousands of years. It is probably the oldest form of medical treatments.

This technique is recommended to delay the onset of fatigue and the first references to massages can be found in Chinese manuscripts dating back to 2700 BC, as well as in Indian texts dating back to 2000 years ago, and, even today, almost everyone in India is capable of giving a massage. Massages have had a huge influence on traditional medicine of the Far East.

In Odyssey, Homer (a Greek poet from the 8th Century BC) speaks about massages as a way to treat and recover warriors’ health. Hippocrates, a famous Greek physician who was alive during the first half of the 1st Century BC, called massages ‘anatripsis’ and recommended them as physical therapy.
Cleopatra’s Egyptians loved to be massaged by slaves in perfumed baths, and Ancient Greeks also benefited from the positive effects of massages: massaging was considered a sacred art, just like religious and divine rituals.
However, it was the Greeks who developed two different massage techniques: the first concerns sporting massages related to games, whilst the second is therapeutic and is related to medicine.

Massages were essential for Romans too, which is clear to see if you think about the treatments that were carried out at Roman baths, such as relaxation massages and beauty treatment massages. Galen, for example, who was Emperor Marcus Aurelius’s doctor, dedicated a large number of texts to this technique.

During the Middle Ages, massages were no longer performed; in fact, any form of palpation of the body was considered to be a sin. They were only rediscovered during the Renaissance and they then became even more popular in the 17th Century thanks to an intervention by the Swedish doctor Henrik Ling who decided to codify various techniques.

Towards the 19th Century, massage techniques started to be used somewhat regularly as a medical treatment and, in 1894, 8 professionals founded the Society of Trained Masseurs, which was the forerunner for the current day physiotherapist register.

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