An extract from Ryan Hoyme’s work http://massagenerd.com/history_of_massage.php where he lists the earliest evidences and records of massage:
15,000 B.C. – Prehistoric Cave paintings of massage.
4,500 B.C. – The first recorded history of essential oils. Egypt had a well-developed social structure and people may have used massage then. Imhotep, the physician, and architect recorded his knowledge of aromatic oils or unguents, made by mixing aromatic plants, resins and gums with oils or fats. Middle Kingdom Egyptians used bassi massage, which induced trance.
3,000 B.C. – Cong-Fu of the Toa-Tse it is the oldest known book written about massage. It is claimed that they were the first to train blind masseurs.
- Archeological findings in Asia substantiate the fact that people have bathed in the mineral waters in the Bronze Age.
2780 – 2680 B.C. – When Greek physicians took their oath to Aesculapius, they were really swearing in to an African originally named Imhotep. Some considers Aesculapius the father/god of medicine.
2,760 B.C. – Nei Ching describes therapeutic touch.
2,500 B.C – Egyptians practice reflexology.
2,000 – 1,500 B.C. – The oldest massage tool – jade ritual blade from the Shang dynasty.
2000 B.C. – 200 A.D. – Cranial manipulation has been practiced in India for centuries, and
was also developed by the ancient Egyptians and members of the Paracus culture in Peru (2000 BC to 200 AD).
1,800 to 500 B.C. – Around this time, Massage possibly came to India from China.
1,800 B.C. – The Babylonians used Myrrh, Cypress and Cedarwood oils to heal the body
of infections, thus being used as antiseptics.
- Art of Life book that included massage techniques. In India, the focus was on sensual massage (Karma Sutra) aspects. Ayur-Veda (Ayurvedic) is a code of life and it deals with rebirth, renunciation, salvation, soul, purpose of life, and
maintenance of mental health, prevention and treatment of diseases.
1,700 B.C. – Tuina massage dates back to the Shang dynasty.
1,555 B.C. – A medical papyri contains remedies for all types of illnesses and the methods of application are similar to the ones used in Aromatherapy and Herbal medicine today.
1055 B.C. – The Jewish King David began construction on an enormous complex of waterworks and communal baths, or mikvahs, that were designed to provide practical ways to purify the mind and body.
1,000 B.C. – Homer wrote about an oily medium used for massage.
- Traditional Chinese compass school Feng Shui originated in China over 3000 years ago and was used to ensure that ancestral tombs and palaces were sited in the most auspicious places. Today almost all Chinese buildings are designed according to Feng Shui principles.
- Palmistry is a method of counseling that originated in India over 3,000 years ago.
- Persian physician used magnets to relieve gout and muscle spasms.
800 to 146 B.C. – The great gymnasiums of Greece had marble or wood slabs called plinths.
776 B.C. – Athletes massaged prior to their events in the Olympic games.
6th Century B.C. – The historical Buddha Shakyamuni, sometimes called the Supreme
Physician, is said to have first taught a healing system in India.
604 to 531 B.C. – The founder of Taoism is believed to be Lao-Tse.
500 B.C. – Herodicus- prescribed gymnastics to heal. Considered to be the founder of
500 B.C. – As with many indigenous peoples, the Thai people created their own blend
of traditions and techniques called Thai Massage, linking Ayurvedic medicine, Buddhist spiritual practice, Chinese medicine and Yoga, as well as indigenous healing practices of ancient Siam. They treated disease and disharmony of physical, emotional, and spiritual origins. Nuad Bo’Rarn is the traditional medical massage. In Kurdistan, Breema developed – similar to Thai Massage.
460 to 380 B.C. – Hippocrates used Friction to treat sprains and dislocations. He thought
that disease resulted from natural causes and the body has the power to heal itself. Hippocrates wrote the code of ethics that became the Hippocratic oath.
Hippocrates said: “hard rubbing binds…much rubbing causes parts to waste …and moderate rubbing makes them grow.” He also said: “but assuredly in rubbing…for rubbing can bind a joint that is too loose, and loosen a joint that is too rigid.”
326 B.C. – After Alexander the Great conquered India, the Greeks learned Ayurvedic medicine.
280 B.C. – The first person to connect the idea that muscles were organs of contraction was Erasistratis who lived around 280 B.C.
200 B.C. – Greek physician Galan used natural magnets to relieve pain in treating many illnesses.
- The Huangdi Nei Jing (Yellow Emperor’s Inner Classic) is the earliest surviving canonical text of traditional Chinese medicine. Anmo is referred to in 30 different chapters of the Nei Jing.
100 to 44 B.C. – Julius Caesar used Massage therapy to relieve his neuralgia and epileptic
seizures. He thought to have been “Pinched” every day.
25 B.C. to 50 A.D. – Aulus Cornelius Celsius was a Roman Physician who wrote De
Medicina (8 textbooks with a lot of information on massage).
2 B.C. – Qi Gong is very closely allied to Tui Na Chinese Medical Massage; this
may be the most commonly practiced modality in the world. The name literally means “skill with life energy” and it evolved over two thousand years ago in Tibet and China.
130 A.D. to 201 A.D. – Galen was originally from Greece. He was a physician for the school
of gladiators who were rubbed before fighting. He also wrote book on manual medicine.
1st Century – The first Chinese massage exam was in the Schools of Occult Studies