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Bohemia Holistics

Heaton Norris Stockport Cheshire SK4 1QF UK

Bohemia Holistics

Providing Therapeutic Complementary Treatments


This page contains the following information;

Massage - An overview

The history of massage

The benefits of massage

Massage - An overview

Massage promotes;

The circulation of blood and lymph

Relaxation of muscles

Pain relief

Restoration of metabolic balance

Well being

The effects of massage can differ from one person to the next, depending upon the needs of the person and their expectations. Massage is not a magic 'cure all' however, it can provide beneficial healing of both body and mind.

A person receiving massage can experience both mechanical and reflex effects. Mechanical effects are direct physical effects of massage techniques on the tissues they contact. Reflex effects are indirect responses to touch that effect body functions through the nervous system or energy systems of the body.

The History of Massage

There is evidence to support the belief that in many ancient cultures some form of touch or massage was practiced. Massage has been an important part of medicine for at least 5,000 years. It has been important in western medical traditions for at least 3,000 years.

Artifacts show that as early as 3000 BC massage was practiced by the Chinese. Today the use of massage is an integral part of the Chinese health system and is practiced in hospitals and clinics.

Massage entered Japan around the 6th century AD. The Chinese method of massage was used and Japanese physicians developed 'Shiatsu', which used a finger pressure technique.

Massage has been practiced on the Indian subcontinent for over 3,000 years. Massage came to India from the Chinese.

From the east, the practice of massage spread to Europe and it is believed to have flourished well before 300 BC. The Greeks made 'gymnastics' and regular use of massage part of their physical fitness rituals. Women used gymnastics, dancing and massage part of their health and beauty regimes.

The Romans acquired the practice of massage from the Greeks. This was used in conjunction with therapeutic bathing, also used by the Greeks.

In Europe in the Middle Ages, medical institutions abandoned massage in favor of other remedies. Decline in massage was due to many things however, there was religious superstitions that caused people to fear placing importance on the physical self.

During the Renaissance (1450 - 1600) people became interested in the improvement of physical health.

By the 16th century medical practitioners began to reinvent and employ massage as part of their healing treatments. French physicians recognized the positive effects of massage.

The 16th, 17th and 18th centuries witnessed an expansion in all fields of knowledge. Literature from Italian, German, French and English authors re-established massage as a practice which maintains health and treats disease.

In the early part of the 19th century, we saw developments of modern massage techniques. This began with an English surgeon who promoted massage as an aid to healing.

A Swedish Physiologist, Per Henrik Ling developed movements and techniques he found to be beneficial, in relation to physical movement (gymnastics). This was known as the Ling System. An English Physician who studied under Ling began to teach Swedish movement gymnastics. He gave tuition to a New York Physician who introduced methods to the USA.

Modern massage terminology is credited to a physician from Holland who established the practice of massage. By the early part of the 19th century medical physicians were including massage in their teachings and recognized the beneficial asset to the medical field.

Therapeutic exercises, massage and baths were recommended by physicians throughout Europe.

The Society of trained Masseuses was formed by a group of women in England in 1894. The Chartered Society of Massage and Medical Gymnastics was developed and in 1964 it was registered as 'The Chartered Society of Physiotherapy'.

The beginning of the 20th century saw a decline in the use of scientific and medical massage. One reason was due to lay practitioners and unscrupulous schools and practitioners. The development of technical innovations supported the decline. Intellectual advances in medicine, based more on pharmacology and surgical procedures lead further to decline. Old ideas of treating disease through diet, exercise and bathing gave way to more sophisticated modern medicine.

Although this trend continues today, many people are now seeking a more natural remedy to help improve both body and mind.

The benefits of massage

Massage has both Physiological and Psychological benefits.


Massage increases metabolism, hastens healing, relaxes and refreshes the muscles and improves the functions of the lymphatic system. It helps to relieve pain from muscles and improves the circulation of blood and lymph. Due to this it improves the delivery of oxygen and nutrients to the body


Massage relieves fatigue, reduces tension and anxiety, calms the nervous system and promotes a sense of relaxation and renewed energy

References used:

Theory and Practice of Therapeutic Massage. 4th Edition. Mark. F. Beck. 2006.

Thomson Delmar