History of Asian Massage Therapies
There many different branches of Asian massage, sometimes referred to as Eastern or Oriental massage. If you’re looking into massage therapy, it’s important to have an understanding of all the different types of Asian massage therapies that exist so that you can do a good job of choosing the technique that will benefit you the most. Many massage parlors do not take the traditions seriously, and try and capitalize on the exoticism that attracts tourists and other patrons. However, a reputable massage therapy clinic will be much more respectful of the traditions that their practice is based on. Here is a brief history of Chinese massage, which is only one type of all the different Asian massage therapies that exist.
Chinese massage therapy is traditionally called “tui na” or “tuina,” (not capitalized) which can be translated to “pushing and grasping.” However, the term “tui na” was not recorded in writing until after some forms of therapeutic massage had been developed. The earliest spoken term for Chinese massage therapy was “an mo” or “anmo,” which is literally translated to “pressing and rubbing.” In any case, “tui na” is the more popular term today, but the two different terms are thought to refer to the same type of Asian massage.
Chinese practitioners traditionally believe that there is a “jing luo” or network of passages within the human body by which energy flows throughout all the tissues in the body. If there is any damage to the jing luo, it can be relieved externally by using pressure through the careful laying of hands. Chinese massage has been practiced for century, with the earliest written record of Chinese massage occurring in the Shang dynasty, as early as the 16th century BCE! Through the Northern and Southern Dynasties, six known techniques of hand massage evolved and were recorded, although today, these six main hand techniques have branched out into over 20 different varieties of hand massage.
Other records indicate that another period of great developments occurred was the Tang dynasty. Historians believe that the Tang dynasty was the first time – or at least the first recorded time – where herbal salves, ointments, and oils were applied to the body during massage. Today, so-called “essential oils” and aromatherapy are both extremely popular therapeutic branches of their own. Ancient Tang records describe a number of varies “an mo ointments” that were used for various benefits.
First, these ointments were thought to have some kind of healing effect for the skin and various skin conditions, but it was later believed that these ointments could have even broader benefits. Other texts from this time begin describing the use of an mo massage therapy for a broader range of ailments and physical disorders than was recorded before. The cold and flu were thought to be healed by an mo, heart pain, fever, even dementia. It was also thought that an mo therapy could heal patients of deafness, toothache, muteness, even infertility!
Some of these varying hand techniques reach farther into the damaged tissues than others. For example, the strength of the hand pressure and the direction of the massage have some different effects. Sometimes, only the skin is activated, while other times muscle and deeper tissues, even bone marrow, will be affected. Some of the physical benefits include relief from muscle spasms, corrected joint dislocation, and relief of muscle stress, strain, or tension.
Chinese massage is also believed to have some direct effects in other areas of the body. Stimulating the acupoints near the eyes, for example, are thought to improve eyesight, and massage of the feet is believed to improve overall health of the entire body, as the feet connect the whole body to the earth. However, the emotional and spiritual health benefits are quite more extensive, including relief from headaches, anxiety, depression, and more.
Traditional an mo or tui na massage has recently had a resurgence of popularity both in China and in Western cultures as well. Think how many advertisements you have seen boasting different Asian massages or Oriental therapeutic experiences! These ancient forms of healing have been refined over the centuries for their therapeutic effects, and not without good reason. Asian massage has evolved into European and Western-specific massage therapies with a variety of different strokes and pressures, including gliding, kneading, rocking, percussion, and more, even including erotic (sometimes called “happy-ending”) massage, which is believed to be a healthy outlet for emotional fulfillment aside from the sensual satisfaction.
No matter how much you know about the history of Asian massage, it’s always good idea to learn even more! You don’t have to be an Asian massage expert or historian to understand the importance of these traditions or to enjoy their benefits. Please contact Las Vegas Asian Hotel Room Massage to experience some of these benefits in the comfort and privacy of your own hotel room today!