Monday, 29 December 2008

4 Key Western Regions That Contributed to Modern Hot Stone Massage

How did Swedish massage develop? Throughout history, various regions of the world have made major contributions to the development of massage. This has included Asian regions, such as Egypt, China, India, and Japan. In addition, various regions in the West have also helped to develop today's hot stones massage. Some of the major contributors to massage include:

1. Greece

The Greeks began conducting massages during the period of 800-700 BC, after borrowing from the philosophies and methods of the East. Greek athletes used massage as a tool to perform at an optimum physical level. Also, doctors would combine massage methods with a blend of herbs and oils, to treat a wide array of medical problems. Women even used the oils as a way to beautify their skin. During the 500s BC, Hippocrates, "The Father of Medicine," encouraged the use of methods to maintain good health:

• exercise
• fresh air
• healthy diet
• massage
• music
• rest

2. Rome

The Romans first began conducting massages, sometime between 200-100 BC. Starting in the 100s BC, a Roman doctor named Galen began using massages to treat various wounds and diseases. He supported Hippocrates' "recipe" for a healthy lifestyle.

The Romans received massages in different locations, based on their socio-economic status. The general public would enjoy massages at public bathhouses. Therapists would usually give patrons an oil massage, after the latter had bathed. As with today's hot stone massages, the massages' objectives were to loosen muscles and increase blood circulation. However, by the 300s AD, Constantine, the Roman Empire, had outlawed the Romans' use of public bathhouses.

Meanwhile, personal doctors provided the wealthy with massages-in the privacy of their own homes!

3. Sweden

After losing popularity in ancient Greece and Italy, Europeans would rediscover massages, from the 1600s to the 1800s AD. By roughly 1600 AD, science had revolutionized the world of medicine. From about 1600-1800, both doctors and scientists observed the health benefits of massage.

However, the major improvements in Western massages did not occur until during the 1800s. In the first part of the 1800s, Per Henrik Ling, a Swedish doctor, created his "Swedish Gymnastic Movement System." This system included various methods, including:

• pressing
• squeezing
• striking
• stroking

4. United States

The united States began developing various massage techniques, in the first part of the 1900s. For instance, therapists treated various patients during World War I, who suffered from different war-related problems, such as nerve injury. Later, within the second half of the 1900s, massage became a part of the mainstream medical world. In fact, massage instruction and licensing became available for potential therapists in the healthcare industry.

Throughout Western history, the methods of massage have changed drastically. This has resulted in today's hot stone massages, for example. However, the ultimate goal of the massages has remained unaltered. Today, as they did thousands of years ago, therapists strive to improve the physical and emotional health of their clients. The "How's" of massage have changed, but the "Why's" have not.

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