It is the manipulation of tissues using hands, parts of the body or mechanical means to physically manipulate the softer tissue within the body thus rehabilitating the body in a non-invasive way and rebalancing, therefore enhancing, the body’s own powers of rejuvenation.
Massage has been around for hundreds of years and has its earlier origins from the Far East. There are references in the Old Testament of the Bible, from Ancient Greek and Roman writings and throughout Asia and Africa. It is to be noted that all these places had, and continue to have, a holistic approach to medicine unlike the Western world which focuses, especially in modern times, of medicine and treatment. The concept of modern massage was developed by a Swedish fencing master where it was cascaded through various students to other parts of the world. By the 1880’s it was popular throughout Europe and North America. Queen Victoria had successful treatments for rheumatic pains but by the end of the 19th century it was having problems retaining respectability as it was perceived to be associated with the Sex Industry. To retain its respectability it was incorporated into Physiotherapy. It was used during both World Wars to rehabilitate wounded soldiers especially for nerve damage. Due to a lack of trained massage therapists mechanical devices were produced and ‘hands on’ massage was slowly reduced in practice and training. However it thrived within the sports industry becoming highly specialised.