Massage is an ancient healing practice. The instinct to touch or hold areas that are hurt transcends humanity and is seen broadly within the animal kingdom as well as diverse cultural expressions.
Egyptian tomb paintings depicted people massaging one another's hands and feet. The Yellow Emperor's Classic of Internal Medicine, commonly referred to as the Nei Ching, or Neijing, from around 2500 B.C. recommends massage. Hippocrates of Greece, the father of Western medicine, in the 5th century explains that physicians must surely be trained in techniques of massage for healing an array of problems. In Ayurveda, the traditional science of health in India, great emphasis is placed on massage as health maintenance.
Tiffany Fields of the Touch Research Institute in Miami, is leading current research documenting the benefits of Massage Therapy. Notably, her research commends massage as helping to:
- Facilitate weight gain in preterm infants
- Enhance attentiveness
- Alleviate depressive symptoms
- Reduce pain
- Reduce stress hormones
- Improve immune function