Oriental massage therapy is probably the oldest and simplest form of healing. This home medical care approach has been observed within all the great civilizations of the past that have been unearthed. The exquisite paintings of the famous Egyptian tombs show royalty and the commoners being massaged. In many cultures of the Orient, massage therapy has been practiced and part of healing since ancient times. The practitioners from the Orient recommend breathing exercises, exclusive massage of affected body parts and exercises of the hands and the feet. The Eastern gurus actually declare these as the appropriate treatment for complete or partial paralysis, and fever.
Oriental massage therapy has also been extensively used as the principal method of relieving pain resulting from neuralgia. In fact, the Orient acknowledges the masseur as a ‘physician’ experienced in ‘rubbing to bind a joint that is too loose or to loosen one that is rigid’. The traditional Indian massage therapy system of massage emphasizes on the power of massage with aromatic oils and even certain spices. These specialty massages have now become very popular the world over and are practiced extensively as part of spa and medical treatment. The massage is an overall approach that is a ‘whole’ made up of various components like the massage table or chair, the massage oil, the massage wraps and the experience and expertise of the masseur.
The Oriental massage therapy was successfully used as a treatment for various ailments, especially during World War I, for patients suffering from nerve injury or shell shock. The application of this healing approach has also witnessed breakthroughs in medical technology and pharmacology. This resulted in a momentary lapse in the demand for manual methods of stimulating the muscles and tissues and a greater demand for electrical instruments specially designed. However, authentic practitioners and genuine clientele realized the power of the pressure and rubbing action delivered manually and sadly, the oriental massage lost some of its prestige due to the unsavory image that was generated by certain ‘massage parlors’.