History of Massage 100AD – 1800

6th Century AD. – The Chinese method of anmo was transplanted into Japan during the 6th Century A.D. The Japanese later refined this into the therapeutic version of amma (Japanese for massage).The points of stimulation remained much the same as the Chinese pressure points but wasreferred to tsubo (sue-bow), and After World War II, advanced into shiatsu (shee-AHT-soo) massage, which means finger (shi) and
pressure (atsu).

130 AD- 201 AD – Galen. Originally from Greece.  Physician for the school of gladiators who were rubbed before fighting.  Wrote book on manual medicine.

“Galen, A. D. 130-200, recognized friction usually as an adjunct – to other measures.  He said that if friction be used before exercise for the purpose of rendering the parts supple and less liable to injury, “the middle quality between hard and soft” should be used, and this is the keynote to mechanical stimulation.  Even at that early date there were advocates of various modes of rubbing.  Some taught that tranverse rubbing, known as “circular rubbing, hardens and condenses and contracts, and binds the body, but that perpendicular rubbing rarifies and dilates, and softens and unbinds.”  Galen, however, was eclectic in his views and favored variations in application, advocating nine different ways of employing massage.” ~Mechanical Vibration, Its Physiological Application in Therapeutics By Mary Lydia Hastings Arnold Snow · 1912 Google Books

Douglas Graham on Galen.

Galen , A.D. 130–200, the most learned physician and the most
accomplished man of his age, whose authority in medical matters
was regarded in Europe as almost supreme for a thousand years,
recommended friction in a great number of diseases, generally
as auxiliary to other means. At Pergamus, his native city, he
was appointed physician to the school of gladiators. He was
deeply interested in exercises and friction , and laid down minute
directions concerning the latter, part of which it would be well
to remember at the present day. “ If any one,” says he, “ immediately after undressing proceed to the more violent movements before he has softened the whole body, and thinned the excretions, and opened the pores, he incurs the danger of breaking or spraining some of the solid parts. There is danger also of the excretions, in the rush of moving spirits , blocking up the pores. But if beforehand you gradually warm and soften the solids and then the fluids, and expand the pores, the person exercising will run no danger of breaking any part, nor of blocking up the pores. Hence, in order to insure this result, it is proper by moderate rubbing with a linen cloth to warm the whole body beforehand , and then to rub with oil . For I do not counsel the immediate application of the grease before the skin is warmed and the pores expanded, and, generally speaking, before the body is prepared to receive the oil ; and this will be accomplished by a very few turns of the hands, without pain and moderately quick, having in view to warm the body without compressing it ; for you will perceive while this is being done a blooming redness running over the skin ; and this is the time to apply the grease to it, and rub with bare hands, observing a médium hardness and softness in order that the body may not be contracted and compressed, nor loosened and relaxed beyond the fitting extent, but be kept in its natural state. And one should at first rub quickly, and afterwards, gradually increasing it, push the strength of the friction so far as evidently to com press the flesh, but not to bruise it. . . . In using friction preparatory to the gymnastic exercises, the use of which is to soften the body, the middle quality between hard and soft should prevail, and all else should take its fashion accordingly.
And I recommend the imposition and circumflexion of the hands
to be varied , in order that all the fibres of the muscles, as completely as possible, in every part may be rubbed ; for the opinion that transverse rubbing, which some call circular rubbing, hardens and condenses, and contracts and binds the body, but that perpendicular rubbing rarefies and dilates and softens and unbinds, is a mark of the same ignorance from which proceed most of the other assertions made by gymnastic professors on the subject of rubbing.”
Sudden and violent efforts at running, jumping, lifting, and
the like, by those unaccustomed to them, especially if they have
passed the meridian of life, are apt to cause rupture and strain
of muscular and tendinous fibres owing to a lack of suppleness
in these tissues. It would be difficult to improve on the preventive treatment of such injuries advised by Galen . The multitude of modern greasers and bruisers, who are supposed to be doing massage, might profit by the hint of Galen as to the best time of applying unctuous materials ; and those who attempt to explain their doings by calling tendons, nerves, and other such nonsense had better take heed to the criticisms of Galen on the assertions of gymnastic professors. No wonder that he took so much interest in exercise and kindred measures for the improvement and maintenance of health , for history tells us that till the age of thirty years he was weakly, but became strong and of good health
by devoting several hours a day to bodily exercise, and in this
way cured a host of sicknesses and weaknesses in others.

A Practical Treatise on Massage Its History, Mode of Application, and Effects, Indications and Contra-indications; with Results in Over Fourteen Hundred CasesBy Douglas Graham · 1884

“Galen likewise gives to ‘ frictio ‘ and ‘ exercitatio ‘ a position of importance in his therapeutics, and makes a clear distinction between active, passive, and compound movements. His expression, ‘Pa?,dotriba ita est gymnastse minister ut medici coquus,’ > is famed, for as the cook understands the preparation of meats and drinks without knowing their effect, whilst the physician knows well the effect without being able to undertake the preparation, so may the pedotriba be very skillful in accomplishing the movements prescribed to him by the scientific gymnast, without being able to account for the effect which they produce.”
General orthopædics, gymnastics and massage . by Busch, F. (Friedrich), 1844-1914; Ziemssen, H. von (Hugo), 1829-1902; Winternitz, W; Smith, E. Noble, (Eldred Noble), 1847-1906; Elsner, F. W. Google Books

25 BC- 50 AD–  Aulus Cornelius Celsius. Roman Physician.  Wrote De Medicina (8 textbooks with a lot of information on massage).

Douglas Graham, on Celsus.

“The distinguished Roman physician Celsus, who flourished about the commencement of the Christian era , spoke wisely and well about rubbing in saying that it should some times be applied to the whole body, as when an invalid requires his system to be replenished.” And again : “ Chronic pains of the head are relieved by rubbing the head itself. But far more frequently when one part is in pain another must be rubbed , particulary when we desire to draw matter from the upper or middle part of the body and therefore rub the extremities. A paralyzed limb is strengthened by being rubbed. If certain limbs only are rubbed, long and powerful rubbing may be used, for the whole body cannot soon be weakened through a part.
But when weakness of the body needs this cure over its whole extent, it ought to be shorter and more gentle than local rubbing, so as only to soften the superficial skin that it may be enabled the more easily to receive new matter from the food. A thing becomes constricted when we take away that which by its interposition produced relaxation, and softened when we remove that which caused its hardness, and filled , not by the rubbing, but by the food which afterward penetrates to the skin which has been relaxed by a kind of digestion or removal of its tissue.” For the purpose of dispersing local deposits, and thus relieving the pains occasioned thereby, Celsus says that ” one must use friction also, particularly in the sun and several times daily in order that the matters which by their collection have produced the mischief, may be the more easily dispersed.” The mistake with Celsus was that he advised friction for almost every disease and sometimes contradicted himself, but not altogether without reason , as the following sentences show : “ As rubbing is rightly applied after the cessation of an illness, so it must never be used during the increment of a fever, but if possible when the body shall have been wholly free from it. A patient is in a bad state when the exterior of the body is cold, the interior hot with thirst : but, indeed , also the only safeguard lies in rubbing, and if it shall have called forth the heat into the skin it may make room for some medicinal treatment. ”

A Practical Treatise on Massage Its History, Mode of Application, and Effects, Indications and Contra-indications; with Results in Over Fourteen Hundred CasesBy Douglas Graham · 1884

243 – Douglas Graham mentions Arrian, who lived in about 243 as applying massage to animals- dogs and horses.

“ And great is the advantage of rubbing to the dog of the whole body — not less than to the horse, for it is good to knit and to strengthen the limbs, and it makes the hair soft and its hue glossy, and it cleanses the impurities of the skin. One should rub the back and the loins with the right hand, placing the left under the belly, in order that the dog may not be hurt from being squeezed from above into a crouching position ; and the ribs should be rubbed with both hands ; and the buttock as far as the extremities of the feet ; and the shoulder blades as well . And when they seem to have had enough, lift her up by the tail , and having given her a stretching let her go.
And she will shake herself when let go, and show that she liked
the treatment.” – [Arrian Cynegeticus.]

A Practical Treatise on Massage Its History, Mode of Application, and Effects, Indications and Contra-indications; with Results in Over Fourteen Hundred CasesBy Douglas Graham · 1884

Julius Cæsar, B.C. 100-44, had himself pinched all over daily as a means of getting rid of a general neuralgia. ~Douglas Graham.

228 AD-337 AD–  The Roman Emperor Constantine condemned the baths and gymnasiums as he thought they added to the abuse of sex.

589 AD-617 AD–  Sui Dynasty already had knowledge of Massage used as therapy.

600’s – Japanese developed shiatsu (finger pressure or acupressure), anma is massage in Japanese.

980 AD-1037 AD–  Avicenna, Persian medic, wrote the Canon of Medicine during the crusades. May have been the first used the process known as distillation to distill essence of rose, although it probably took many years to perfect the process

1300-1368– Guy deChauliac  wrote a book on surgery mentioning bodywork as an adjunct to surgery. titled Chirurgia Magna. (Wikipedia)

1368-1644 In the Ming Dnasty, pediatric massage (which, for the first time, was referred to as “tuina”) evolved into a highly systematic treatment modality which is still popular today.

1526 – “PARACELSUS, 1492-1541 A. D., Professor of Surgery at Basle, in 1526 wrote “Liber de Vita Longa,” in which the effects of friction are extolled, indicating the early recognition of its therapeutic value”. From the book: ~Mechanical Vibration, Its Physiological Application in Therapeutics By Mary Lydia Hastings Arnold Snow · 1912 Google Books

Paracelsus, 1492–1541 A.D. , professor of surgery at Bâle in
1526, a remarkable man , though often intoxicated and guilty of
gross immoralities, in his “ Liber de Vita Lorga ,” extols the
effects of friction on the human body as indispensable to health .
A Practical Treatise on Massage :Its History, Mode of Application, and Effects, Indications and Contra-indications; with Results in Over Fourteen Hundred CasesBy Douglas Graham · 1884

1543 – Andreas Vesalius. (31 December 1514 – 15 October 1564) was a 16th-century Flemish anatomist, physician, and author of one of the most influential books on human anatomy, De Humani Corporis Fabrica Libri Septem (On the Fabric of the Human Body). Vesalius is often referred to as the founder of modern human anatomy.

De humani corporis fabrica libri septem (Latin for “On the fabric of the human body in seven books”) is a set of books on human anatomy written by Andreas Vesalius (1514–1564) and published in 1543. It was a major advance in the history of anatomy over the long-dominant work of Galen, and presented itself as such. The collection of books is based on his Paduan lectures, during which he deviated from common practice by dissecting a corpse to illustrate what he was discussing.

1517-1590 – Ambroise Pare, French barber surgeon, raised awareness of the use of massage.

“AMBROISE PARE, 1517-1590 A. D., noted for introducing the ligation of arteries, described and advocated that three modifications of friction – gentle, medium, and vigorous – be employed, and demonstrated the effects of each, showing that some attention was then given to technique and its results.” From the book: ~Mechanical Vibration, Its Physiological Application in Therapeutics By Mary Lydia Hastings Arnold Snow · 1912 Google Books

Ambroise Paré, 1517–1590 A.D. , the most renowned surgeon of the sixteenth century, though not recognized by the faculty, as he was only a barber surgeon , the inventor of the ligation of arteries which is the foundation of modern surgery, surgeon under four French kings, a devout Huguenot, but spared at the massacre of St. Bartholomew on account of his surgical skill , good old Ambroise’ states in his works, which were published in 1575, that friction was in great esteem in his time. He describes three kinds of friction – gentle, medium , and vigorous and the effects of each. In dislocations, he recommends that the joint should be moved about, this way and that way, not violently, but in order to resolve the effused fluids, and extend the fibres of the muscles and the ligaments, so as to facilitate the
reduction . From this it is apparent that he knew the influence of passive motion in promoting absorption, the rationale of which has been so well studied by German physiologists.
A Practical Treatise on Massage :Its History, Mode of Application, and Effects, Indications and Contra-indications; with Results in Over Fourteen Hundred CasesBy Douglas Graham · 1884

Cover, De Arte Gymnastica

1569 – Girolamo Mercuriale wrote the first sports medicine book. “De Arte Gymnastica,” The first complete text. on the subject of exercise In relation to health and Medicine was published in 1569 by a great Italian physician, Girolamo Mercuriali (1530-1606), usually known by his Latinized
name, Hieronymus Mercurialis. Other editions in 1573, 1587, 1601.

“The second edition, Illustrated and dedicated to the Emperor Maximilian,
appeared at Vernice (I 573) and Paris. (1577), and subsequent editions were published in 1587, 1601 and 1672 , and an Italian translation In 1856″ as reported in Australian Journal of Physiotherapy Volume 1, Issue 1, 1955, Pages 30-32 by Edward Ford.

Mercurialis, 1530–1606 A.D., an eminent Italian physician who graduated at Padua, and later occupied a chair of medicine in that celebrated University, published in 1573 a treatise entitled “ De Arte Gymnastica,” in which he brings prominently forward the benefits to be derived from active, passive, and combined movements.

A Practical Treatise on Massage :Its History, Mode of Application, and Effects, Indications and Contra-indications; with Results in Over Fourteen Hundred CasesBy Douglas Graham · 1884

1564-1626- Lord Francis Bacon observed that massage had benefits enhancing circulation.

1565 – Fabricius ab Aquapendente (20 May 1533 – 21 May 1619) was a pupil of Gabriel Fallopius,and later professor of surgery at Padua, where he enjoyed a high reputation for many years, from 1565 onwards. Besides works on surgery, he was the author of a treatise, “ De Motu Locali Secundum Totum , ” in which he again brought massage to honor.
He most warmly recommended this treatment by rubbing,
kneading, and scientific movements as a rational measure in
joint affections.

A Practical Treatise on Massage :Its History, Mode of Application, and Effects, Indications and Contra-indications; with Results in Over Fourteen Hundred CasesBy Douglas Graham · 1884

1593 – Prospero Alpini (also known as Prosper Alpinus, Prospero Alpinio and Latinized as Prosperus Alpinus) (23 November 1553 – 6 February 1617) was a Venetian physician and botanist. 

(Alpini) In his “ Medicina Ægyptia, ” Chapter XVIII . , he says that frictions are so much in use amongst the Egyptians that no one retires from the bath without being rubbed . For this purpose the person is extended horizontally; then he is malaxated, manipulated, or kneaded , and pressed in divers manners upon the various parts of the body with the hands of the operator. Passive motion is then given to the different articulations. Not satisfied with masséing, flexing, and extending the articulations alone, they exercise the same pressures and frictions upon all the muscles, the effect of which is thus described by Savary : “ Perfectly masséed , one feels completely regenerated , a feeling of extreme comfort pervades the whole system , the chest expands, and we
breathe with pleasure; the blood circulates with ease, and we have a sensation as if freed from an enormous load ; we experience a suppleness and lightness till then unknown. It seems as if we truly lived for the first time. There is a lively feeling of existence which radiates to the extremities of the body, whilst the whole is given over to the most delightful sensations; the mind takes cognizance of these, and enjoys the most agreeable thoughts; the imagination wanders over the universe which it adorns, sees everywhere smiling pictures, everywhere the image of happiness. If life were only a succession of ideas, the rapidity with which memory retraces them , the vigor with which the mind runs over the extended chain of them, would make one believe that in the two hours of delicious calm which follow a great many years have passed . “

A Practical Treatise on Massage :Its History, Mode of Application, and Effects, Indications and Contra-indications; with Results in Over Fourteen Hundred CasesBy Douglas Graham · 1884

1605 – Francis Bacon, The Advancement of Learning, bk

“ Repair is procured by nourishment; and nourishment is promoted four ways : 1st, by forwarding internal concoction , which drives forth the nourishment, as by medicines that invigorate the principal viscera ; 2nd,by exciting the external parts to attract the nourishment, as by exercise, proper frictions, unctions, and baths,” or so says The Anatriptic Art, by Walter Johnson, although I cannot find that exact quote in the book “The Advancement of Learning” by Francis Bacon , as shown on www.gutenberg.com

1608-1679 – Giovanni Alfonso Borelli studied muscular contraction.

1615 – Louis Guyon (circa 1527-1617) is a French physician who wrote, “ Miroir de la Beauté, “exercise and friction are advised , and it is considered necessary to have the body rubbed gently by some person who has soft hands.” (According to Douglas Graham, A Practical Treatise on Massage.)

1660-1742 – Prussia.  Friedrich Hoffman, physician to King of Prussia recommended rubbing and gymnastics for the royal court.

On the other hand, Friedrich Hoffmann (1660-1742), the first and most important representative of the mechanical system, in his work “Representation of the Incomparable Advantages of Movement and Bodily Exercises, and the Manner of utilizing them for the Preservation of Health,’ advocates most energetically active and passive movements as a means both for the preservation and restoration of health. In agreement with Hippocrates, Celsus, and Galen, he also strongly recommends friction, yet he adds, ‘ The physician must be careful in advising movements.’

General orthopædics, gymnastics and massage . by Busch, F. (Friedrich), 1844-1914; Ziemssen, H. von (Hugo), 1829-1902; Winternitz, W; Smith, E. Noble, (Eldred Noble), 1847-1906; Elsner, F. W. Google Books

1676 – Thomas Sydenham(10 September 1624 – 29 December 1689) was an English physician. He was the author of Observationes Medicae which became a standard textbook of medicine for two centuries so that he became known as ‘The English Hippocrates‘. 

Douglas Graham on Sydenham, A Practical Treatise on Massage:

The illustrious Sydenham , 1624–1689, abandoned the routine system of practice then prevalent, and based his own upon the theory that there is in nature a recuperative power which ought to be aided and not opposed. An example of this is found in his saying that, if anyone knew of the virtues of friction and exercise, and could keep this knowledge secret, they might easily make a fortune. This is fully exemplified at the present day, for in every city of the United States, and indeed of the whole civilized world , there may be found individuals claiming mysterious and magical powers of curing disease, setting bones, and relieving pain by the immediate application of their hands. Some of these boldly assert that their art, or want of art, is a gift from Heaven, due to some unknown power which they call magnetism, while others designate it by some peculiar word ending with pathy or cure, and it is often astonishing how much credit they get for their supposed genius by many of the most learned people. Let a fisherman forsake his boat, or a blacksmith his anvil, or a carpenter his bench, or a shoemaker his shop, and proclaim that he has made the wonderful discovery that he is full of magnetism and can cure all diseases, and be he ever so ignorant and uncouth, he is likely to have in a remarkably short space of time a large clientèle of educated gentlemen and refined ladies.It is not meant to imply that the previous occupation of these people is at all to their discredit, but were they capable of giving a rational explanation of their doings, the halo of mystery would be removed from around them , and their prestige and patronage would suffer a sudden decline.

1705 – Francis Fuller (1670-1706) wrote “Medical Gymnastique” in which, he treated of the “influence of motion” and its therapeutic value. The work passed through six editions prior to the issue of the one entitled Medicina Gymnastica: or Every Man his Own Physician. It is the first book in English on the power of exercise in treating disease. Project Gutenberg free reading.

1708 – Hoffman, 1660-1742, who was physician to the King of
Prussia, writes Dissertatiores Physico -Medicæ

Douglas Graham says: “exercise is the best medicine for the body, and that we cannot imagine how salutary and favorable to health it is, for it excites the flow of the spirits , and facilitates the excretions from the blood.
He extols the passive, active, and mixed movements of the ancients as well as the apotherapeia already referred to”

1776-1839 – Per Henrik Ling- fencing master and gymnast studied massage after he cured himself of rheumatism in his arm.    Developed a system of  Medical Gymnastics.  Per Henrik ling is not the father of Swedish massage!

1780 – Simon André Tisset (1728 – 1797) aka Par M Tissot, Clement Joseph Tisset, professor of clinical medicine at the University of Pavia , interested himself in massage, and wrote Essai sur l’utilité du mouvement ou des différentes exercices du corps et du repos dans la cure des Maladies,” or “ Gymnastique Médicinale et Chirurgicale. (Google Books)

Time Line History of Massage
Timeline history of massage therapy 3000BC – 100BC
Timeline history 100-1899
Timeline history – 1900-1950
Timeline history – 1950-2000
Timeline history 2000-2010
Timeline History 2010-2020
History of Massage Through Google Books
Early History of Massage through Google Books  1866-1921
History of Sports Massage
History of Massage licensing by state
The Phenomenal Growth of the Number of Massage Schools
History of AMTA
History of AMTA by Ruth Williams
History of AMTA- WA – includes PDFs of AMTA journals 1954-1960
History of AMTA National
The Future of the Massage Profession -Franchises/schools
History of massage in Healthcare
The history of Hospital Based Massage Therapy
History of how WA State is able to bill health insurance – on my other site – www.massagepracticebuilder.com