History of Massage Therapy 1900-1950

History of Massage (20th Century – 1900 – 1950)

1900 – Albert Hoffa- wrote book Technike der Massage”. Read for free on Google Books. In German.

1900s early- Jin shin jyutsu, the “art of circulation awakening,” was developed in Japan by Jiro Murai and brought to the United States in the 1960s by Mary Iino Burmeister.

1900’s early- The Alexander Technique was developed by an Australian actor F.M. Alexander

1907 – Edgar Ferdinand Cyriax–  Used Ling’s Swedish Movement Cure and Mechanotherapeutics.

Edgar Ferdinand Cyriax was born in 1874 and was originally Swedish. He was the son-in-law of [Jonas] Henrik Kellgren, who was an important figure in the late-nineteenth century spread of Swedish remedial gymnastics and massage to other parts of Europe. Like Kellgren, Cyriax based himself in London, where in addition to practising he studied the bibliography and history of manipulative treatment. He lectured in physiology at the Central Institute for Swedish Gymnastics, London. At his death in 1955 he left a large collection of books, pamphlets and papers on the subjec

1907 – Naprapathy originated by a chiropractor in Chicago. This also concerns connective tissue.

1913 – Dr. William Fitzgerald rediscovered Reflexology and called it Zone Therapy.

1915  – First state to implement licensing was Ohio.

1916 – First licensed massage therapist in OH – Agnes Forbes

Examiners selected for first board of massage in the US. Agnes Forbes, Sandusky Register Newspaper Archives January 14, 1915 Page 10

1916 – Swedish Institute Founded in NY

1917– James Mennell. London. St. Thomas Hospital.  Did physical treatment by movement, manipulation and massage.

W.W.I-  Swedish massage used for rehabilitation of injured soldiers.

1927 – New York State Society of Medical Massage Therapists (first massage association). Still in business today!

1929 – Elizabeth Dicke, German physical therapist created “Bindgewebs massage” or connective tissue massage.  Used reflex zones.

1930’s – Hospitals staffed Physical Therapists who were doing massage.

1930– Neuromuscular Therapy created  by Stanley Leif.  For a more detailed history of Neuromuscular Therapy see Judith Walker Delaney’s website

1932 – Emil Voder. Danish physiologist created Manual Lymph Drainage.

1934 –  Wilhelm Reich – Austrian psychoanalysis. Freud’s student.  Used Somato techniques to dissolve muscular armor. Attempted to cure neuroses by releasing their corresponding muscle tensions by using breath, movement and physical manipulation. The community was outraged at the thought of using physical contact. He was sent to prison for his conflicts and died there.
Bioenergetics created by Alexander Lowen, emerged from Reich’s work.
Also wrote “Joy – The surrender of the body to life“, Depression and the Body: The Biological Basis of Faith and Reality “Depression has become so common that one psychiatrist even describes it as a “perfectly normal” reaction, provided, of course, it does not “interfere…,
The “Language of the Body“.

1937-A French chemist, Rene Maurice Gattefosse, began his research into the healing powers of essential oils after burning his hand in his laboratory and immersing in it in lavender oil and being impressed by how quickly the burn healed. He published a book about the anti -microbial effects of the oils and coined the word Aromatherapy.

1939 – The Florida State Massage Therapy Association Inc. (FSMTA) was first organized on June 15, 1939 one of the oldest massage organization, with 85 charter members. The first Massage Act was passed by the Florida Legislature in 1943. 

1939 – Florida, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Pennsylvania all have state licensing.

1940 – James Cyriax, son of Edgar Ferdinand Cyriax, and British Osteopath, created deep transverse friction.

1943 – Chicago American Association of Masseurs and Masseuses formed.  Later to become American Massage Therapy Association.  Dues were $.50.   29 members

1943 – Florida Massage Regulation Started

1943 – Hawaii Massage Legislation

1946 – First AAMM (AMTA ) Conference

1946Pfrimmer Deep Tissue Massage created by Theresa Pfrimmer.

1949 – Massage Registration Act formulated by AMM.

1944 – Harold Storms – Storms technique for fibrositic nodules.

1972 –  Moshe Feldenkrais, writes Awareness Through Movement” which follows up to his 1949 publication The Body and Mature Behavior.
The Potent Self: A Study of Spontaneity and Compulsion by Moshe Feldenkrais, Michaeleen Kimmey .  Studies of sensory awareness and movement re-education somewhat based on F.M. Alexander’s work.

1973 – Zero Balancing was developed by osteopath and acupuncturist Dr. Fritz Smith 

1976Myotherapy (book) developed by Bonnie Prudden

1977– Aston-Patterning is developed by Judith Aston www.astonenterprises.com (form of rolfing) 

1978– Joseph Heller started Hellerwork (form of rolfing) www.hellerwork.com   www.www.josephheller.com 

1978-Soma Neuromuscular Integration developed by Bill Williams, Ph.D, one of the first students of Ida Rolf

1980’s – Judith Delany’s Neuromuscular therapy.

1980’s – Association of Bodywork and Massage Practitioners formed.

1980sWatsu (water therapy) was developed by Harold Dull 

1980’s -Taws Method (Soft Tissue Release) was developed by Stuart Taws (his website), a British sports rehabilitation therapist now residing in America

1981 – Lauren Berry, a physical therapist and mechanical engineer, recorded his methods of manipulating joints, “The Berry Method, Volume I”

1981–  Lawrence H. Jones identifies tenderpoints and develops “Strain- Counterstrain” techniques of treating points. Counterstrain : The Jones Institute.

1983 – Janet Travell writes book. with David Simons.  “Myofascial Pain and Dysfunction:  The Triggerpoint Manual : Volumes I & 2

1985 – 10 states have state massage licensing.

1989 – AMTA opened Chicago Office

1990’s –  David Palmer creates and markets On Site Massage using a massage chair. www.touchpro.org

1990 – protocol for fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS) defined by the American College of Rheumatology 

1991 –  Touch Research Institute created.

1992 – National Certification .  see also: licensing and legislation issues

1996 – Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies. The first issue of JBMT was published in October 1996

1997 – Business Mastery by Cherie Sohnen-Moe by Lippencott Williams and Wilkins.  This was one of the first books on business for massage therapists and is now it it’s 4th edition.

1999 – Minnesota implements Freedom of Access legislation.

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