The gift of touch
Touch is as essential to a healthy and happy life as eating right, getting proper sleep, and exercising. With the world growing more technological, the need for healthy human contact is more important than ever. Massage and body therapies are an age old healing refuge for us in this fast-paced, stressed-out world. The practice of massage therapy is rapidly growing in the United States. It has so much to offer and is becoming more widely accepted by doctors and the general public. Massage is touching another person by such movements as rubbing, kneading, pressing, rolling, slapping, and tapping. This type of therapy provides circulation of the blood and lymph, relaxation of muscles, relief from pain, restoration of metabolic balance, and many other benefits both physical and mental. There is much historical evidence to indicate that massage is one of the earliest remedies for pain relief and for the restoration of a healthy body. It is said to be the most natural and instinctive means of relieving pain and discomfort. Massage has proven to be an effective method for treating many conditions for thousands of years and it will continue to be used for thousands of years to come. Massage therapy is a great treatment for the body and soul.
The roots of massage can be traced back to ancient civilizations. In the book titled The Complete Book of Massage by Clare Maxwell-Hudson she illustrates that much evidence has been found to support the belief that prehistoric people massaged their muscles and even rubbed oils on their bodies(8). The history of massage probably begins before we could properly call ourselves human. We instinctively rub a pain or an ache, we instinctively stroke a bruise. We use touch in healing without thinking about it, which suggests that it's very, very old. Some form of massage was practiced in almost all early civilizations; Ancient Chinese, Japanese, India, Hindu, Greek, and Roman civilizations to name a few (Maxwell-Hudson 8).In the The Bodywork and Massage Sourcebook by Andrew and Valerie Levine they write about how, “Julius Caesar, who suffered from epilepsy, had himself pinched all over and massaged on a daily basis”(12).
Massage has been a major part of medicine for at least five thousand years and a important figure in developing massage technics is Per Henrik Ling. In the early part of the nineteenth century, Ling, a physiologist and fencing master from Sweden developed and systemized movements that he found to be beneficial in improving physical conditions (Levine 46) And a massage technic is born, although he had interesting and debatable theories for his time they proved to be true. “He laid great emphasis on medical gymnastics and massage, and classified his treatments as passive or...