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Massage: A Historical Context

And an evolutionary process

Almost all mammals and many other species scratch when they itch and rub their bodies to relieve discomfort and humankind is no different. There is little doubt that our earliest ancestors would have also scratched when they itched and rubbed their bodies to relieve tiredness and stress. It seems probable that these actions were simply responsive to individual circumstance and perhaps many tens of thousands of years past before massage became a subject of attention.

The hunter gatherer people’s probably had very little time to investigate and develop massage into a healing art, when they were ill they would visit the Shaman or community healer who would work some primitive magic to realign the person’s energy. But it would not be until the development of agriculture in India that began perhaps forty thousand years ago that increasing numbers of people began to turn their attention to the healing arts.

In the light of new discoveries in the fields of archaeology, genetics and human development, India was a civilised country while the Europeans were still hunter gatherers. Their civilisation was centred around enquiry. They were asking questions not only about how to grow better crops, understand the environment and stay healthy, they were also investigating how to be happy and indeed joyful. So in India and surrounding regions, the idea of Dharma is which was all about living in harmony with life and understanding that happiness comes from within. Therefore the idea was to build a society, and a civilisation that allowed everyone to be happy.

There is evidence to show that what people call is Hinduism today was not only flourishing in India those ideas were being transported across Eurasia and helping other peoples to balance and enhance their lives. As well as being the development of civilisation, this simple line of enquiry is the origin of all science. The simple principle for health was that the individual had to be in harmony both with themselves and with the environment they resided in.

When the individual was suffering from some disharmony which resulted in incapacity or affliction, the line of investigation was not to destroy the invading pathogen but rather to stimulate the body’s natural defences which also included releasing trapped energy. Accumulated stress that we typically experience as pain in a muscle or joint restricts energy flow, so to affect and improve energy flow, rubbing the body became a good solution.

By rubbing the body, stresses were released and people not only felt better but other afflictions in the body also dissipated because the body having been relieved of stored stress was more resilient to pathogens and other stress factors. The same is true today except that our society is probably more highly regulated and this regulation comes from the combined forces of patriarchal governance and capitalism that began to infiltrate the world from about five thousand BC.

During five thousand BC, the Europeans were on the verge of leaving the Stone Age yet Indian travellers were circumnavigating the globe and these journeys can be traced through the evidence of Hindu DNA aligning to this. On all the continents including Australia and the Americas. India’s primary export was and to a certain extent still is knowledge.

From about five thousand BC we see a rapid increase in world population, continued migration of people and ideas out of India promoting general well-being. There was also some trade but the combined effects of the patriarchy and capitalism produced different values such as possession and morality which were divisive and contrary to the principles of Dharma. Instead of a communal lifestyle, a capitalist lifestyle began to emerge and the patriarchal leaders began to squabble between themselves. This is the time of the great war described in the Bhagavad Gita followed by an age of repression as our planetary system went through the Kali Yuga.

Patriarchal governance and capitalism continued to divide the ever-growing population of the world yet the Hindu healing arts, the ways of treating the body through exercise, nutrition and massage held sway. One particular corruption of the time is that women became commodities to be bought and sold. In polite society that was a politically arranged marriage and by two thousand BC, the idea of possession of lands was well entrenched as was human slavery which has continued into the present day.

Before the advent of modern religions, the world was a clothing optional place that we have evolved dress codes for different occasions and the human body has become highly politicised as a reaction to the general sexualisation of society by the patriarchal/capitalist oligarchy that rules the world.

This patriarchal/capitalist paradigm that we live under that is bent on control and preaches an external happiness that requires we all play the capitalist game by being contented slaves even though we are being continually dispossessed. A purpose here is not to criticise the great gain that we play too much but rather to point out how it is shaped us as a society. We have become more self-centred, more possessive, more inhibited and biologically weaker. Since the arrival of allopathic medicine which has largely taken over from natural methods of healing which stimulate the body’s ability to heal itself, allopathic medicine tries to eliminate the invading pathogen.

This offencive approach to medicine often works but it also oftentimes leaves the patient permanently debilitated. In more recent years the allopathic medical professionals have recognised that diet and nutrition plan important role in staying healthy yet they only pay lip service to this because the food in many hospitals today is almost devoid of any real nutrition.

The trauma of diseases like spina bifida, osteoarthritis, multiple sclerosis are all treatable with a combination of improved diet, massage and exercise. In fact there is no disease there massage does not have a positive effect on unfortunate today massage is becoming more limited because of the politicisation of the human body and the growing incidence of phobia about being touched.

In some ways the emergence of massage places in our shopping malls is helping to alleviate this period people can go shopping and stop for a back or shoulder rub. In some ways it’s like a quick fix style of massage and as effective as taking multivitamins. It provides relief from the symptoms of stress and if the individual is truly responsible in looking after themselves, the healing process is certainly supported.

The other side of massage today is that people having massage and learning massage see massage is another commodity that they can simply go to the shop and get. Having massage for a few moments of relaxation and pleasure is fine as it helps to improve one’s sense of well-being but is soon as one jumps back into the same habitual pattern that caused the stress in the first place, the effect is quickly lost.

People come wanted to learn massage with the same mentality, they want to simply get doing it yet massage is an art and massage can’t be done, it is more a way of becoming. He needs to be done in conjunction with meditation and exercise as part of the journey toward becoming a more authentic person who is then better placed to guide others to health and a happiness that arises from within.

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