The manipulation of the body’s soft tissues like muscle groups is known commonly as massage, and a massage is also commonly known as an art form. In today’s modern world, there are dozens if not hundreds of different types of massage.
People give massages with their fingers, elbows, and even their knees. You have things like a hot stone massage, which implements different heated rocks to soothe tense muscles. You also have various devices used for modern massages, like entire massage beds and chairs and handheld devices. What started as an ancient practice in Japan has become a cash cow for many modern clinics offering their spin on the massage.
In all likelihood, we wouldn’t be able to list all the many massage types that you can find. It seems like every other day, something new is popping up, like a couples massage or a sports massage. But why are there so many different types out there? What is it about the massage that has caused so much parity over the many years?
The Evolution of Massage
While it is thought that the first massages originated in Japan, that’s just the working hypothesis(1) based on the available evidence. The truth is that we have evidence of all sorts of ancient cultures practicing this as a form of medicine, exercise, and even as sexual foreplay. We have evidence of massages in Egypt, Ancient Greece, Rome, India, Korea, and Mesopotamia.
However, the oldest evidence seems to point to Japan as its point of origin. Though experts also believe that massages arose in places like Greece and Rome independent of Japanese influences, as it is not believed that the Japanese and Grecian peoples had much contact before massages became prevalent in each culture.
Over the years, of course, massage would pop up in many different places and feature a wide range of techniques.
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The primary and sub-continent of Asia are where massage became such a global powerhouse. In India’s nation, many centuries ago, massage became something of a staple in that culture, using tantric and other sorts of methods to implement massage into people’s sex lives.
Throughout Korea, China, and other Asian nations, massage became something of a type of medicine. With the art of massage being so widespread in so many independent Asian cultures, it wouldn’t be long until the west started adopting many of these practices.
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It didn’t take long at all until the west would put its spin on the massage. For instance, the idea of a “sports massage” might have many its roots in ancient Asian cultures, but it’s a technique that developed for modern athletes in the west.
The hot stone massage also has many of its roots back east, but it has been changed a little bit by western practitioners who have streamlined the process and have added these sorts of offerings to their commercial, public day spas, and other businesses.
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Massage Goes Commercial
Without a shadow of a doubt, however, the reason that there are so many different types of massage is that it became something of a business in capitalist nations. It’s the same reason there are so many different types of phones, or types of television sets, or types of fast-food restaurants. Something that becomes successful in a fiscal sense inspires market parity. With market parity, you get a ton of different competition, and thus you get a ton of different takes on the massage.
Every new day spa that opens wants to offer massages because they help pay the bills, but they also want to stand out by offering new and exciting types of massage. For instance, this is why something like the couples massage has become so popular. This is when you have two people in the room with two different practitioners. This is a big selling point with many spas, as it allows you to bring in family or friends to experience the same type of massage. When massage became a business, the types of massage offered greatly expanded.
Just because massages are now a part of the business in no way means that they’re not useful. If you find a quality day spa near you, you will find a quality massage.