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Massage Therapy: An Ancient Tradition
Prior to my entrance into the world of massage I had the privilege of traveling to some pretty interesting places. High on my list are my many visits to Egypt and Peru. The focus of my visits was to gain some perspective on the people who inhabited these places in ancient times. An underlying theme was to see what, if anything, these ancient cultures have to show or teach us today.
While my general outlook was esoteric, I couldn’t help but notice the attention these ancient people gave to the health and care of the body.
Both cultures have given us marvels which, with all of man’s current technology we are unable to truly grasp either how’s or why’s. For instance, “Who built the pyramids?” is one of the most frequently asked questions when dealing the ancient wonders and cultures of the world.
While we can read quite a lot about the ancient Incan culture, very little is truly understood about the people who gave us lasting, mysterious structures including Machu Picchu, ancient cities and pyramids. Why are the most advanced building techniques evidenced in the oldest structures? These are questions that drive many modern explorers to go to great lengths for answers.
There are many things we don’t know about either of these cultures. There are many things, however, that we do know.
Ancient Egyptians are widely believed to be the first to organize the use of essential oils. And in the Nile Delta some of the oldest known families remain faithful to these ancient arts. Specific application of these oils can be found both on walls in tombs and temples as well as on ancient papyri. On the walls of temples as well as tombs that I visited are many depictions of massage, including reflexology given to the ruling class and soldiers.
When I first visited Peru I was struck by the almost overwhelming “mothering” energy. Many shaman and others refer to Peru as the womb or the naval of the earth. The Shaman I visited with shared some of their verbal history of massage and other bodywork as an essential part of the traditions handed down for thousands of years.
So, “Why is this important,” you might ask? Well, there are structures and teachings that come to us from these ancient people that we are just beginning to understand today. There are likewise many that are beyond our ability to comprehend. Their intelligence may well have greatly exceeded our own. Their teachings show us much about the true nature of humanity, where we come from and where we may be headed. In the midst of all of this we find massage, surviving for many thousands of years on the walls of some of the oldest structures on earth.
What we do for humanity as well as for the individuals with whom we work as massage therapists has its roots in some of the most advanced teachings from antiquity. That is a very powerful thought to carry with you into your next massage session, whether as a therapist or as a client.
~David A. Bloomer
National Holistic Institute