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Around the World: Massage Origins

Posted on: October 11th, 2017 by Elysiann Bishop

Around the WorldWho doesn’t love a good massage? It’s a relaxing and therapeutic practice that has been popular globally for centuries. Many of the techniques we enjoy today have ancient roots in Asia, with some of the earliest recorded information about massage dating to China in 2,700 BCE. In more modern times, the Western world has contributed to the evolution of massage with differing styles. Take a look at just a few popular massage methods, their geographic origins, and a bit about them:

Reflexology (China): This technique relies on pressure points in the feet, hands, and ears that are believed to offer a pathway to various organs, glands, and systems in the body.

Shiatsu (Japan): Imported in the 6th century from China by a Buddhist monk, Shiatsu evolved in Japan into its own, distinctive technique. Shiatsu can incorporate a variety of techniques, and involves acupressure, stretching, rolling, brushing, and more.

Aromatherapy (Egypt, Greece, and Italy): Today, aromatherapy is incorporated into a many different massage therapies, but the concept dates back to ancient Egypt and the Mediterranean. Specific essential oils are chosen for their healing properties and are used singly or blended according to the client’s unique needs.

Thai Massage (Thailand): Also referred to as yoga massage, Thai Massage finds its origins in India 2,500 years ago but evolved into its own distinct practice. While the therapist massages and rubs tissue, the body is stretched and manipulated into various positions for deep stretching.

Swedish Massage (Sweden or Netherlands): Called classic massage in Europe, this is perhaps the best known form of massage therapy. Interestingly, the technique is not from Sweden at all, but is thought to have originated with Dutch practitioner Johan Georg Mezger in the 1800s. This form of massage uses sliding, kneading, tapping, friction, and vibration to reduce pain and stiffness and increase circulation.

Cross Fiber Release (Australia): Uses thumbs and fingers with a rolling movement to relax and release tension in muscles and tendons.

Stone Massage (USA): Hailing from Arizona, hot and cold stones are used to apply pressure and temperature to the body. It can be performed on bare skin with massage oil or over the clothes, and the therapist may place stones strategically or actively use stones to massage the body.

There are countless more forms of massage hailing from every corner of the world – try one today and reap the mental and physical benefits!

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