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Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Massage History - Women Healers

Historians of massage often fail to show the role women healers have had in the way massage was practiced and shared from generation to generation.

Massage History – Woman and Massage

Much of what has been written on the history of massage typically emphasized the male shaman, priest and healer. In ancient times, massage was one of those healing arts that typically was passed down from generation to generation. What role did women play in this? Most cultures had midwives who utilized massage, particularly through the stages of pregnancy.

Midwifery, Massage and Women

In every continent, from Africa, Australia, Central and South America, Europe, North America, to Asia, the midwife has been using massage to help woman during the stages of pregnancy and labour. Woman have always been healers. They bathed and looked after the sick, the young and the old; looked after pregnant women; delivered babies.

Historically, women healers were persecuted, excluded from the medical profession and even barred from practicing medicine until around the 20th century.

Massage Therapy and Women

Interestingly, the massage therapy profession is probably one of the most popular emerging job titles of 2005 according to The American Massage Therapy Association estimates that only 16 to 18 percent of therapists in the United States are male. Essentially, massage therapy is predominantly a female profession.

Massage is one of the oldest recorded healing practices. Ironically, though, what was passed on from generation to generation between woman was rarely documented. It is well known that indigenous cultures have an oral tradition and rarely have written documentation on their cultural practices. Perhaps this is one reason why women are not well-documented and not given much credit in the history of massage. The reality is, that women have always been healers.

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