Hippocrates and Massage History

scarlson By scarlson, 23rd May 2011 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Health>Health Clubs & Spas>Massage

The history of massage can tell us much about how we have come to understand and practice our healing techniques including massage therapy.

Some of the more interesting changes regarding the history of massage have a lot to do with the father of medicine, Hippocrates.

Hippocrates and Medicine

The Greek physician, Hippocrates (460 to 377 B.C.) is known as the father of medicine. He is known as one of the main players in ‘medicalizing’ and ‘professionalizing’ the traditional, often ritualistic, healing practices of ancient times. Hippocrates changed the face of healthcare and paved the way to the scientific study of medicine.

Ancient Healing Practices

In ancient times, priests and shamans would administer healing to the sick. Their wisdom was past down from generation to generation. Illness was mostly thought of as a supernatural phenomena, whereas Hippocrates believed all illness had a natural cause.

Historical Changes in the Healing Practice of Massage

A really interesting historical change in the field of massage was brought about Hippocrates as noted by Robert Noah Calvert in "The History of Massage"(2003). Calvert suggests that Hippocrates changed the actual direction and technique of massage.

Shamans and priests would typically massage away from the core of the body and make sweeping motions out towards the arms and legs. The rationale behind the traditional, indigenous form of massage was to rub or brush away evil spirits and sickness out of the body and out through the limbs.

Hippocrates, on the other hand, stressed that massage should be directed toward the centre of the body or toward the heart. His rationale for stroking upwards was to help eliminate waste products from the body. His technique actually changed the way massage had been practiced for centuries, although, the more ancient healing practices are still performed in the traditional manner.

Energetically speaking, sweeping down the legs creates a very different effect than sweeping up. If you are an energetic healer or have ever experienced the two methods, you will undoubtedly notice the difference it makes.

The Roots of Alternative and Complementary Medicine

The ancient healing practices of the past are what we call alternative and complementary medicine today. Reflexology is noted to have been around since about 4,000 B.C. The history of herbal medicine goes back some 60,000 years. Traditional Chinese Medicine and acupuncture has been practiced in Asia for over 5,000 years.

So despite all of the changes Hippocrates initiated in the way we treat and understand illness and in the way that massage is practiced, ancient healing wisdom has survived. We don't have to believe in supernatural causes to believe that we feel better after having a massage or foot reflexology treatment. The essence of our ancestor's wisdom, thankfully, remains intact.

© Copyright, Sylvia Carlson, 2006. Reproduction without permission prohibited. Previously published by Suite101.com.


Father Of Medicine, Greek Physician, Healing, Hippocrates, History Of Massage, Massage, Massage History, Massage Therapy, Techniques

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author avatar Denise O
23rd May 2011 (#)

This is a well written and a informative piece. Great read. Thank you for sharing.:)

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author avatar Denise O
23rd May 2011 (#)

Well, I just noticed you have just started to write here on Wikinut. Welcome to Wikinut and I hope to read more of your work.:)

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