Origin story; everything has to begin somewhere. Massage has been practiced over the millennia across the world and spreading over many different cultures. The oldest recorded form of massage is of course infant massage.The oldest civilization in recorded history to practice massage is none other than India going back as far as 3,000 BCE.In this mini blog series we will delve into the history of massage in the United States. Proving to be a melting pot of ideas, education, and technique; our roots are deep in this great nation of ours.
Massage began in the United States during the colonial era during the 1700s. Unlike the popular spas and bathhouses in Rome or Japan, the U.S. massage industry focused primarily on the working class and using very simple techniques to improve mobility such as rubbing or friction. Medical rubbers , mostly female, were hired by surgeons to assist patients with their rehabilitation post op treatment to prevent lameness, joint disease, and increase range of motion.
Prior to regulation and medical licensing laws, some rubbers owned their own parlors in direct competition with doctors. Using primarily word of mouth as a means for marketing their services and serving their communities, these early massage pioneers were fairly successful. This small industry was just one of the few employment opportunities women could partake and make a living outside of their homes. Rubbers were eventually reintegrated by the highly skilled and more educated masseuses and masseurs by the early 1900s.
Part two: Medical studies help stimulate the growth of massage in the 1800s laying the foundation for massage in the medical field.