A relaxing massage after a hard day (or week) is just what the doctor ordered, and that’s our reason for celebrating Everybody Deserves a Massage Week, which takes place in the second week after July 4, from July 17 this year. This week is especially observed to promote the benefits of massages while raising awareness about the profession itself.
History of Everybody Deserves A Massage Week
People regard massages as one of the oldest forms of medical care. Ancient cultures have believed in the benefits of a good massage and Egyptian tombs even have paintings of people getting a massage.
One of the earliest Chinese texts on massages is called “The Yellow Emperor’s Classic Book of Internal Medicine” and dates back to 2700 B.C. This book is now a staple in massage therapy training and is the main textbook for teaching forms of alternative medicine like acupuncture, acupressure, and herbology.
Another possible birthplace of massages and massage therapy is India; records indicate this form of treatment may have been around since 3000 B.C. The traditional form of Indian medicine — Ayurveda, a Sanskrit word that translates to ‘life health’ or ‘life science’ — uses touch to treat people.
In later years, massage therapy spread around the globe. Chinese monks took it to Japan, added their own twist to it, and called it ‘anma’ (later known as shiatsu). Greek athletes would use massage to condition their bodies before competitions, and Greek doctors used herbs and oils combined with massages to treat different medical conditions.
The popularity of this therapy declined in the West over the years, as new discoveries in pharmacology and medical technology changed the way we looked at medicine. That is, until the 18th century, when massage therapy began to gain recognition once again. By the early 19th century, a Swedish doctor, Pehr Henrik Ling, developed the Swedish Movement System, which is regarded as the foundation of the Swedish massage. Medical gymnasts, as they were called at this time, used movement and manipulation of the body to treat orthopedic problems and other ailments at hospitals and clinics.
In the 1850s, scientific massage therapy was being introduced to the U.S. via two Sweden-educated physicians and brothers, George and Charles Taylor. Their introduction led the way for two new clinics to be established, one in Boston and the other in Washington, D.C. The late 19th century saw the rise of hydrotherapy in conjunction with massages. People believe this to be the precursor of today’s spa treatments and services.
The popularity, and subsequent research into massage therapy began to increase greatly. There was growing interest in alternative medicine, and well-documented research proved that massage therapy could be used to treat acute and chronic pain, acute and chronic inflammation, chronic lymphedema, nausea, muscle spasms, various soft tissue dysfunctions, anxiety, depression, insomnia, and psycho-emotional stress. Physical therapy was now a licensed profession in the U.S., and the American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA) was established in 1943. They built the ethics and education standards based on which modern massage practitioners still perform services.
Today, many people prefer alternative forms of therapy, including massage therapy, as a statement of a healthier lifestyle. The healthcare industry commonly uses massage therapy in hospitals, nursing homes, and birthing centers.
The largest massage therapy membership organization in the United States, Associated Bodywork & Massage Professionals (ABMP), founded Everybody Deserves a Massage Week, giving their time, money, and effort to this cause. They see it as a way to bring the community of professionals together, raise awareness about their duties, and promote the healing massages can bring to people.
Everybody Deserves A Massage Week timeline
A book called “The Yellow Emperor’s Classic Book of Internal Medicine,” the first known Chinese text on massage therapy, is written — it is published in English in 1949 and soon becomes the staple in massage therapy training.
Tomb paintings show Ancient Egyptians practice massages as a part of their medical tradition — their studies and traditions influence Greeks and Romans.
Monks studying Buddhism in China bring massage therapy to Japan, adding their own little touch to it — the new version is called anma and, later, Shiatsu.
While this may even have originated earlier, records show Indians using touch to heal while practicing their traditional medicine, which was called Ayurveda.
The 'Father of Medicine' is the first to prescribe a combination of massage, proper diet, exercise, fresh air, and music to restore health imbalance.
Discoveries in pharmacology and medical technology transform modern medicine and the popularity of massage therapy takes a hit.
Swedish doctor, gymnast, and educator, Pehr Henrik Ling, develops a method of movement to relieve chronic pain — the Swedish Movement System — which people believe is the foundation for the well-known Swedish massage we use today.
Well-off ladies are prescribed the full-body massage to ward off their melancholy (also known as neurasthenia).
Terms like ‘masseur’ and ‘masseuse’ are now popular.
Two New York physicians, George and Charles Taylor, who studied in Sweden, open clinics for massage therapy.
More than 600 research studies appear in English medicine journals but decrease after this, only picking up again around 40 years later.
Massage therapy now has its own category in medical science.
The Associated Bodywork & Massage Professionals (ABMP), the largest massage therapy membership organization in the U.S., is established.
The Associated Bodywork & Massage Professionals (ABMP) create Everybody Deserves A Massage Week.
Everybody Deserves A Massage Week FAQs
What is the most famous massage?
The massage named ‘Swedish massage’ is arguably the most popular as it appears in spa menus worldwide.
What is a massage bed called?
The massage bed is commonly called a massage table, and it has a padded surface and a face cradle to allow clients to lie face down without problems. Massage therapists use the table to position the clients as they receive a massage.
What should you not do during (or before) a massage?
People are advised not to drink alcohol, sunbathe, or self-groom before a massage. Massages are also not advised if you are feeling ill on that particular day.
Everybody Deserves A Massage Week Activities
Pamper yourself with a massage
This week, splurge and book yourself an appointment with a massage therapist. As a part of the celebration, participating spas and massage therapists offer discounts and specials on various treatments throughout the week. Learn about the services your local clinics and therapists offer and take them up on it. If you've never been for a massage, take your time and ease into it.
Spread the word
People know massages are incredible for them. Plus, they LOVE massages. But, do they know what the real benefits of massages can be? Like how massages can help manage pain, or how massage therapy can actually improve your health. Grab information from local clinics, or even visit the ABMP website for more information on massage therapy.
Gift a massage
Part of the joy of celebrating is doing so with others. As you pamper yourself, consider spending this time with a loved one. You can try out couples' massages, mother-daughter spa days, and more. Check out the various types of massages offered by local places, and pick the one you love best.
5 Fun Facts About Massages
Massages in Roman times
Julius Cesar would use massage to treat his epilepsy — he used a daily ritual that included him being 'pinched all over' to prevent epileptic attacks.
Meat cleaver massages in Taiwan
Taiwanese people believe being tapped by the sharp end of a meat cleaver, which is rubbed with medicine, is a form of therapy and can cure many illnesses.
Babies need massages, too
A study showed low-birth-weight babies who received a massage had a 45% weight gain over those who did not.
Baby elephants as massage practitioners
Baby pachyderms perform pressure massages for tourists at public beaches in Thailand.
Massages feel so good for a reason
There are approximately five million touch receptors in our skin — 3,000 of these are in our fingertips.
Why We Love Everybody Deserves A Massage Week
Massages are therapeutic
Our body gets the TLC it deserves with a massage. Going to a good massage therapist makes our body feel so good, it releases endorphins — a natural pain killer — which are very effective against stress and feelings of depression and anxiety. Massages also increase oxygen and blood flow to sore muscles, which encourages healing. Not only this but massages are known to help release melatonin, which regulates our sleep cycles.
The health benefits have more health benefits
A lack of stress, better sleep cycles, and a lack of pain. Massages make us feel great and, in doing so, reduce stress-related health issues. Those suffering from problems like migraines and stress-induced headaches benefit from the feel-good responses massages induce. Multiple research studies have proven a link between massages and reduced migraine attacks. We love that massages have health benefits that in turn lead to more health benefits! All the more reason to go in for that massage.
The healthcare that makes you smile
People are understandably nervous about doctor's visits and appointments with healthcare professionals. Massages are different. People look forward to going in for a massage and massage treatments are very popular. Many people claim the effects of massage treatments are immediate. This leaves them feeling better than when they walked in and makes massages the one form of healthcare they are not so nervous about.
Everybody Deserves A Massage Week dates