assage therapy is recognized as one of the oldest methods of healing, with references in medical texts nearly 4,000 years old. In fact, Hippocrates, known as the “father of medicine”, wrote papers recommending the use of rubbing and friction for joint and circulatory problems.
Chinese records dating back 3,000 years also document its use; the ancient Hindus, Persians and Egyptians applied forms of massage for many ailments. A Chinese book from 2,700 B.C., The Yellow Emperor's Classic of Internal Medicine, recommends 'breathing exercises, massage of skin and flesh, and exercises of hands and feet" as the appropriate treatment for complete paralysis, chills, and fever."
Doctors such as Ambroise Pare, a 16th-century physician to the French court, praised massage as a treatment for various ailments. During World War I patients suffering from nerve injury or shell shock were treated with massage. St. Thomas's Hospital, London, had a department of massage until 1934. However, later breakthroughs in medical technology and pharmacology eclipsed massage as physiotherapists began increasingly to favor electrical instruments over manual methods of stimulating the tissues.
Massage is now used in intensive care units, for children, elderly people, babies in incubators etc. Most American hospices have some kind of bodywork therapy available, and it is frequently offered in health centers, drug treatment clinics, and pain clinics. A variety of massage techniques have also been incorporated into several other complementary therapies, such as aromatherapy, reflexology, Rolfing, Hellerwork, and osteopathy.
Nowadays massage therapies can be found in any respectable SPA around the world (Day Spas, Medical Spas and of course Hotel Resort Spas).