Massage has been around since the beginning. If you bump your knee what do you do? Massage it, right? Boom. It's an instinct. You can argue with the idea that rubbing is not the same as massaging but then there would simply be a few things you don't know about massage. Don't worry though, I got you.
Check this out...For years, thousands of years, massage has been a skill developed through out most cultures independently of others. Meaning, one culture just naturally developed massage because it worked. Completely separate from that, so did most other cultures, because massage worked/works. However, it was never a stand alone type of treatment for anything. Massage didn't even get a name until much later in life.
With that being said, all of these different types of therapies, ceremonies and otherwise that involved "Massage" (Ill get to why i put that in quotations shortly), have mostly been wiped out. Ceremonies and practices that involved massage was sometimes for things like releasing demons or ailments from someone. Some times it was used for birthing or to heal crazy people. Of course, it was also used to heal pain and injuries as well...In conjunction with an entire ritual of other practices though. Ie- Perhaps birthing involved rubbing oil on the belly, smearing blood of a goat on the face, whispering chants in the ear (I am making this example up but It's not farfetched). The point is a massage like practice was used to rub the oil into the belly. What ever the case may be, massage/rubbing/ oiling was around for a long ass time.
Most of the other pieces of these ceremonies, in most cultures at-least have vanished. When is the last time you saw someone getting an exorcism or a complete tribal dance to make you feel better although you simply ate a bad twig? (food poisoning....I don't know that they did a ceremony for food poisoning, but they did it for lots of things) However, massage is still around and of course since the 19th century thanks to Johan Mezger, (Photo to the right). Massage was finally given the respect due to it and translated into a stand alone therapy. Thanks for giving me a purpose Johan.
The reason I put massage in quotations up there is because "Massage" actually didn't even really seem to have a name for most of its history. Again it was never a stand alone therapy and so it kind of didn't really even exist...It was just something that was. Think about a door. You say "close the door". Not "Close the hinges of the door so the gap in the wall is closed". It's part of the door but we don't recognize it regularly as a separate piece of the door. Well, of course we do know it is separate but, the point is they didn't.To them, it was just a ritual that involved a bunch a these things that don't yet have words. Or, depending the time period perhaps it did have a word but, it was still part of another system such as anointing or shampooing. Then Johan came along and basically created Swedish massage. That's an entire story perhaps for another blog. By the way, we still don't even have a solid universal definition for it. Each state has its own. I am Sure many different countries have there own name and definition for massage as well.
With that being said, massage in early times wasn't necessarily massage rather the rubbing of oils unto a princess to protect her skin from the dryness of her region. Another time in history, massage would be called simply "friction" in a bigger system of a medical practice, such as in Greece and Rome at one point.
To further facilitate my point, In India and other places, massage was referred to as shampooing because it was simply part of the process of shampooing, something that was developed in India as a part of their life that included techniques of massage. (Hint, this is probably why most massage videos from India on youtube are in barber chairs). Massage has always been around but never really given its respect until recent years.
With all of this being said, I believe that massage started out day one when the first guy or gal bumped their knee. The rubbing of the knee combined with many other findings such as oils and teas, grew to many other holistic therapies and other wise. It's not until now, the last 100 years that massage has been able to become a stand alone and respected therapy.
If it's taken over 5 thousand years for the art of massage to be plucked from our instincts and placed upon a pedestal, what will happen to massage now? What happens in the future?
Massage has been dying since its discovery but like a flag of a strong Nation like the USA, it stood tall and kept going. Now, massage is everywhere. I will be the one to carry that flag moving forward. I have been a massage therapist for 3 years but I assure you, I am going to take massage into the world in a much more dramatic way.
I think that massage will face its most challenging enemy yet though, technology. For the past 10 years massage has been developing exponentially due to I believe Crossfit. Crossfit got big and more people started working out and looking into holistic medicines and boom, here is massage just waiting patiently. Thanks Gregg Glassman. Of course there are many opther resaons, Yoga has hit a boom which of course helps just as much. There have been many different reasons that I believe the holistic age has come to us. Interesting how the entire world has worked together to bring massage into such a spot light.
I think the future holds three potential paths....
One is that massage dies out as more massage self massage products come out and eventually there is some machine you can get that massages your entire body perfectly. Or something....basically technology ruins massage. But, perhaps this is better and more people can affordably take care of them selves and less pain and issues over all...In which case, congrats technology! Bravo.
Two. Massage thrives the more technology is developed because more and more people need the in person contact that comes with massage. More and more people need that get away from technology. And more people are slouched over computers and need some damn pain relief. This is where massage saves the day. Thank you massage!
But, I have a third thought that comes to mind. A thought that takes massage not only to a place where it is surviving as it has only been doing its entire existence, but, thriving. My idea is to teach every one massage.
I know I know, no one wants to learn more shit, they have everything they need to know already. Life is too busy to learn more stuff. Well, look..
Touch, to begin with is something missing from most peoples lives. We spend all of our time online and much less time with people in person. We shake hands less, instead we bump fists and now after Covid, we will be elbowing each other....Maybe, or just waving. So people need to get back to that basic human NEED of physical touch.
So, if we, the massage therapists of the world started to teach people how to massage EACH OTHER in a fun and exciting way, then what happens? The back pain industry (50 Billion Dollar a year industry by the way) starts to lose money. Insurance prices eventually go down. Injuries and sickness, depression and disease all start to disappear. Why? I'll tell you.
Firstly, Touch. There is therapeutic benefits to touch that could help people with depression and MANY other problems including sickness and disease. Disease is a product of stress and inflammation. More touch equals less stress. Of course only if the touch is received positively, if someone is touched in a negative way of course that is never good....Dude, maybe your not getting touched enough in a caring way, thats why your depressed.. I used to be depressed and perhaps if someone touched me more in a positive way perhaps I wouldn't have been.
Two, massage it-self is healing, which is why it has stuck around so long and why I have a job. Tremendous healing power lies within massage and that is proven by the fact that not only is it still around after all these years but its now beginning to catch a-lot of attention out side of the spas and relaxation. I my self have used massage with over 1000 people. They keep coming back, that means something.
Lastly, this is the big one. I believe that lots of pain, injury, sickness and disease are due to simply not knowing our bodies. If we really understood our bodies perhaps we would take better care of the. I believe most people have no clue about their own body, (A knowledge that really should be taught much better in schools). I don't say this lightly. Working with over 1000 people has led me to teach 1000 people about their bodies. Simple things that I think everyone should know. Like what is a knot. How to get it out. What is inflammation and why is it good/bad,.,.Etc. If people where checking in with them selves regularly they would start to develop more desire to take better care of them selves.
Plus, Massaging each other opens up unlimited doors to unlimited possibilities. Conversations, interactions, giving makes people feel good. Receiving makes people feel good. More touch and more massage equals more feel good and more happiness and less stress equals less disease. Agh, I love it.
I believe every single house hold should be experiencing massage and so, I have a plan to make that happen. You will see. Go to instagram.com/massageiskey to understand more.
Let me know what you think the future of massage looks like, I would love to see other peoples points of view on this subject. James@MassageIsTheKey.com