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The #1 Rated Mobile NYC Chair Massage Program talks about the History of Therapeutic Massage

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When my team at the NYC Chair Massage Company – www.eventschairmassage.com – offers stress management programs we are always concerned with which come first; the body or the mind.  We combine both and offer chair massage, speakers, corporate yoga, and meditation classes.

The use of touch as a tool for healing goes back to pre-historic times. Over the last two centuries, the term “Massage” was commonly used to describe a wide range of practices. Since the late 1960s, a new term has come into use to describe many different techniques with Eastern and Western origins. These techniques, approaches and systems are often known as “Bodywork” or “Hands-on Healing”. Of course even these terms are not completely accurate since many of the techniques such as Polarity Therapy and Reiki do not use touch at all or combine touch with “energy-based” healing techniques, psychotherapy, movement re-education, and other “holistic” techniques. Generally speaking we can say that Hands-on Healing or Bodywork are umbrella terms for healing or personal development approaches that involve touching, energy medicine, or physical manipulation. Hands-on Healing can include any therapeutic or personal development technique that involves working with the human body in a form involving manipulative therapy, breath work, or energy medicine. Bodywork techniques also aim to assess or improve posture, promote awareness of the “bodymind connection” rather than the “mind-body connection”, or to manipulate a putative “energy field” surrounding the human body and affecting health.

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Some of the best-known forms of non-touch bodywork methods include: reiki, polarity therapy, yoga, pranayama, as well as other non-touch methods: breathwork respiration techniques, therapeutic touch, Bates method for sight training, qigong, and t’ai chi, Rolfing, Hellerwork, and Body Mind centering. Many Hands-on Healing techniques use physical manipulation of the musculo-skeletal system through pressing, squeezing and movement as a tool for diagnosis and/or treatment.

The better known forms of manipulative bodywork include Swedish massage, medical massage, Alexander technique, applied kinesiology, Bowen technique, chiropractic, osteopathy, craniosacral therapy, Feldenkrais method, Hakomi, hot stone massage, reflexology, Rolfing Structural Integration, shiatsu, Somatic Experiencing, and Trager Approach.

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Due to historical, political, cultural and economic factors the most common form of Hands-on Healing or bodywork is massage therapy.  The terms massage, Hands-on Healing.  bodywork are often used interchangeably. While bodywork and Hands-on Healing may include “energy-based” non-touch approaches massage specifically implies manipulation of muscle tissue

The history or massage goes back to pre-historic times. In fact BC in 2330 The Tomb of Akmanthor  (also known as “The Tomb of the Physician”) in Saqqara, Egypt depicts two men having work done on their feet and hands. It is assumed that it ios massager that is being shown.

Massage is even implied in a reference in the Jewish Bible where there is a reference daily “treatments” with oil of myrrh as a part of the beauty regimen of the wives of Xerxes (Esther, 2:12).

Hippocrates, the father of modern medicine wrote in BC 460.

“The physician must be experienced in many things, but assuredly in rubbing”.


Different nations and cultures may have different definitions of massage. For our purposes Massage and Bodywork involves working and acting on the body with pressure – structured, unstructured, stationary, or moving – tension, motion, or vibration, done manually or with mechanical aids. Massage and Bodywork  can be applied with the hands, fingers, elbows, knees, forearm, feet, or a massage device. Massage can promote relaxation and well-being, can be a recreational activity, and can be sexual in nature (see Erotic massage).

In professional settings Massage and Bodywork  clients are treated while lying on a massage table, sitting in a massage chair, or lying on a mat on the floor, while in amateur settings a general purpose surface like a bed or floor is more common. Aquatic massage and bodywork is performed with recipients submersed or floating in a warm-water therapy pool. The massage subject may be fully or partially clothed or unclothed.


Prior to the 1960s where new holistic approachs to hands-on healing became collectively know as “Bodywork” virtually all touch and manipulation based therapies were either part of Chiropractic and Osteopathy or an element of massage therapy.

The earliest approach to healing through touch was what we now call “massage”. The word “massage” comes from the French massage “friction of kneading”, or from Arabic massa meaning “to touch, feel” or from Latin  massa meaning “mass, dough” and the  Greek verb μάσσω (massō) “to handle, touch, to work with the hands, to knead dough”.

Archaeological evidence of massage has been found in many ancient civilizations including China, India, Japan, Korea, Egypt, Rome, Greece, and Mesopotamia.

Massage is referred to in 30 different chapters of the Chinese classic texct Nei Jing. It specifies the use of different massage techniques and how they should be used in the treatment of specific ailments, and injuries. Also known as “The Yellow Emperor’s Inner Canon”, the text refers to previous medical knowledge from the time of the Yellow Emperor (approx 2700 BC), misleading some into believing the text itself was written during the time of the Yellow Emperor (which would predate written history).

BC 700 Bian Que, the earliest known Chinese physician used massage in his medical practice and in BC 500 Jīvaka Komarabhācca, also known as Shivago Komarpaj, founded  Tai Medicine. An integral elements of this ststem of healing was Traditional Thai massage (Nuad Boran).

According to the Pāli Buddhist Canon, Jivaka Buddha’s physician codified a healing system that combines acupressure, reflexology, and assisted yoga postures. Today what we know as  Traditional Thai massage is generally based on a combination of Indian Ayurveda, yoga and Chinese traditions of medicine. Jivaka is known today as “Father Doctor” in Thailand.



BC 300 Charaka Samhita believed to be the oldest of the three ancient treatises of Ayurvedic medicine, including massage.Sanskrit records indicate that massage had been practiced in India long before the beginning of recorded history.[

AD 581: Dr Sun Si Miao introduces ten new massage techniques and systematized the treatment of childhood diseases using massage therapy

AD 581: China establishes a department of massage therapy within the Office of Imperial Physicians.

Middle-Ages: Medical knowledge, including that of massage, made its way from Rome to Persia in the Middle Ages.[ Many of Galen’s manuscripts, for instance, were collected and translated by Hunayn ibn Ishaq in the 9th century. Later in the 11th century copies were translated back into Latin, and again in the 15th and 16th centuries, when they helped enlighten European scholars as to the achievements of the Ancient Greeks. This renewal of the Galenic tradition during the Renaissance played a very important part in the rise of modern science.

One of the greatest Persian medics was Avicenna, also known as Ibn Sina, who lived from 980AD to 1037AD. He was the foremost philosopher of medieval Islam and also a great philosopher, logician and medic.[citation needed] His works included a comprehensive collection and systematisation of the fragmentary and unorganised Greco-Roman medical literature that had been translated Arabic by that time, augmented by notes from his own experiences. One of his books, Al-Qānūn fī aṭ-Ṭibb (The Canon of Medicine) has been called the most famous single book in the history of medicine in both East and West. Avicenna excelled in the logical assessment of conditions and comparison of symptoms and took special note of analgesics and their proper use as well as other methods of relieving pain, including massage.

AD 1776: Jean Joseph Marie Amiot, and Pierre-Martial Cibot, French missionaries in China translate summaries of Huangdi Neijing, including a list of medical plants, exercises and elaborate massage techniques, into the French language, thereby introducing Europe to the highly developed Chinese system of medicine, medical-gymnastics,somatics and medical-massage.

AD 1766 Pehr Henrik Ling ((15 November 1766, Södra Ljunga – 3 May 1839, Stockholm), a Swedish physical therapist, and teacher of medical-gymnastics is born. Ling has often beenerroneously credited for having invented “Classic Massage” aka “Swedish Massage”, and has been called the “Father of Massage”. Though Ling pioneered the teaching of physical education in Sweden and was the major influence on the expansion of massage in North America  it is a mistake. To credit Ling as the father of Swedish massage. That title actually belongs to Johann Georg Mezger. Who is discussed in greater depth later in this chapter.


AD 1779: Frenchman Pierre-Martial Cibot publishes ‘Notice du Cong-fou des Bonzes Tao-see’ also known as “The Cong-Fou of the Tao-Tse”, a French language summary of medical techniques used by Taoist priests. According to Joseph Needhan, Cibot’s work “was intended to present the physicists and physicians of Europe with a sketch of a system of medical gymnastics which they might like to adopt—or if they found it at fault they might be stimulated to invent something better. This work has long been regarded as of cardinal importance in the history of physiotherapy because it almost certainly influenced the Swedish founder of the modern phase of the art, Per Hendrik Ling. Cibot had studied at least one Chinese book, but also got much from a Christian neophyte who had become expert in the subject before his conversion.”


Johann Georg Mezger  22 August 1838 – Paris third in March the 1909) was a Dutch physician and masseur who  is considered one of the founders of modern physiotherapy.

The young Mezger took gymnastics and soon saw that physical manipulation might be helpful in reducing the pain from skeletal deformation and scoliosis.

Under the guidance of a  Amsterdam physician and city orthopaedist J.L. Dusseau (1824–1887)  a major pioneer in the use of physical manipulation as a therapeutic tool expanded his  medical studies. While Mezger worked, he trained as a rural doctor, followed by a study medicine at the University of Leiden.During his studies, he got permission to try French friction methods, an important technique in modern medical massage,  on patients with ankle sprains. In 1868 he received his Master’s degree and in the same year he was promoted to the 47-page thesis treatment distorio pedis with frictions on which he would base his future career. The expensive training he could only attend thanks to the support of others. As a doctor raised his star more and more, he made an unparalleled career. He squeezed, rubbed and patted the limbs of his patients with his “magic hands”.. While it was the custom body parts stiff bandage in and write for absolute peace, he propagated physiotherapy as a method to heal injured limbs.

At one one point he was attacked by the medical establishment you questioned the efficicacy of his “friction” technique and accusations of  him charlatanism. Prior to this he had become friends with the reknowned surgeon Von Mosengeil, who helped his defense againt these attacks. him against defended. In Holand his fame began to spread after the son of King William III was successfully treated. The  king then officially appointed him on May 22, 1870 to ‘specialty in treating joint diseases, “and he received his first royal decoration: Officer of the Order of the Oak Crown. There would be many royal honors.

From 1870 on Mezger set up a practice using his “friction” technique  in the Amstel Hotel Here he treated  patients who were among the highest European nobility and integrated hydrotherapy and thalasotherapy into his program.


He also continued his sporadic practice in Bonn in the eary 1870s where one his his patients was the 13-year-old Prince Gustaf ( the later King Gustaf V of Sweden) who had become disabled after falling on his hip. Mezger arrived in Amsterdam  in November 1871, and gave the princrr daily massages The success of his treatment earned great fame for Mezger and he recieved his second royal honor.

Mezger’s  reputation earned him increasingly prominent patients, including celebrities such as Empress Elisabeth (Sissi), BaronWalter Rothschild, Empress Eugénie (wife of Napoleon III) of France, Queen Elisabeth of Wied of Romania and Professor of Literature Alberdingk Thijm.

In 1884 Mezger left for The Hague. He settled in another renowned hotel ‘Des Indes’. One of his most famous patients in the Hague was Empress Elisabeth of Austria (Sisi). Then  in 1888 it was on to Wiesbade and after Wiesbaden, he soon left for Paris then on to Middelburg and  Domburg justified. He left there in 1887 to build a villa, in  Domburgseweg, where he received during the summer of patients. Thanks Mezger Domburg became a very popular resort on Walcheren. Today, in the center of Domburg is a statue of Mezger, made by the artist August Falise.

Pehr Henrik Ling (15 November 1766, Södra Ljunga – 3 May 1839, Stockholm)[1]pioneered the teaching of physical education in Sweden. Ling is often mistakenly credited as the father of Swedish massage, though that title actually belongs to Johann Georg Mezger.

Ling was born in Södra Ljunga, Småland in 1766. His parents were minister Lars Peter Ling and Hedvig Maria (Hedda) Molin. On his maternal side, Ling was the great-great grandson of the famous Swedish scientist Olof Rudbeck (1630–1702), discoverer of the human lymphatic system. After graduating from the Växjö gymnasium in 1792, he studied theology at Lund University from 1793, and completed his degree at Uppsala University in 1799.


Body-mind explorations as practiced by the NYC Corporate Chair Massage Company – www.eventschairmassage.com – integrates corporate stress management with touch, bodywork, movement and chair massage.



Lewis Harrison – is a massage therapist, motivational speaker  – www.Nostressspeaker.com – writer, mentor, success and wealth coach, and an entrepreneur specializing in problem solving and strategizing  based on game thinking, applied game theory and Game Thinking.

He is the author of over twenty-two books published in five languages.

If you are interested in business success in life coaching, stress management or corporate chair massage you need to read Lewis’ recently published business books.

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Today’s stress management blog is presented  by a grant from Events  Chair Massage –www.EventschairMasssage.com –  a company that offers Corporate Chair Massage and Stress Management Services to meeting planner, event planners, party planners and HR for Trade show booths throughout the United States.

Chair Massage can help increase productivity for any business. Here is a great video on how to do Chair Massage.


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