History of Massage Timeline - Where and When it Began

  • Pre 3000 BC: Cave paintings of massage being performed.
  • 3000 BC: Chinese books document massage techniques.
  • 2330 BC: The Tomb of Akmanthor painting produced in Egypt.

cave paining from ancient Egypt of massage

  • 1800 BC: Indian Head massage (champi) techniques seen in the texts of Ayurveda (The Art of Life).
  • 722-481 BC: Chinese Nei-jing compilation of medical knowledge sees 30 chapters referencing massage.
  • 500 BC: Hirodicus uses and his student Hippocrates studies effects of massage.
  • 27 BC – 1453 AD: Romans build bathhouses with massage rooms.
  • 1025 AD: The Canon of Medicine produced by Persian philosopher Avicenna (Ibn Sina) detailing massage for pain relief.
  • 1450 AD: Renaissance reawakens interest and study into massage.
  • 1550 AD: Ambroise Pare uses massage in France and England as a Royal surgeon. (Rosser)
  • 1813 AD: Per Henrik Ling founded Royal Central Gymnastic Institute in Sweden and is credited with devising an exercise regime and massage techniques.
  • 1878 AD: Dutch physician Dr Johann Mezgner devises a system of massage and names strokes in French.
  • 1894 AD: Society of Trained Masseuses (now called Chartered Society of Physiotherapy) is formed by 4 nurses as a regulatory body.
  • 1914 – 1918 AD: World War I sees an increase in massage therapy to aid the injured.
  • 1930 – 1950 AD: Decline is massage treatment as medical science find new treatments.
  • 1968 AD: City and Guilds provides a course and qualification through colleges in the UK.
  • 1984 AD: Summer Olympics in Los Angeles televises massage on athletes for the first time.
  • 1996 AD: Summer Olympics in Atlanta US Team is offered massage “as a core medical service”.
  • Modern day: Massage is now considered a good complementary therapy to help the body to heal and relax.

2 Responses

  1. Wow! Great post! I really never knew how much history there was to this therapy. I suppose with its nature, you know using your hands to rub someone else, it will have been around since the dawn of man really. Good to know, Thanks for sharing your detailed knowledge. I think I will book in for my first treatemnt this week. Can I text you on the telephone number you provide on this site?

    1. Hi lostmabi and thank you for your kind comments. There is a lot still to find out about historic massage. I will try to update this with some more modern history soon. Yes please do text me on +44 (0) 7979 814388 and I will be happy to book you in.All the best, Kevin

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