Part 3: Introduction of Chinese Massage History


Owing to the fact that the massotherapy of this period was used mainly for the treatment of bone injuries and infantile illnesses, massage was divided into bone-setting massage and massage for treating infantile diseases afterwards. During this period massagists paid much importance on the analysis of massage manipulations. For instance, Collection for Holy Relief written in the Song Dynasty pointed out: "Pressing and rubbing are used and sometimes in combination, so this is generally called pressing-rubbing. Pressing is not rubbing while rubbing is not pressing; pressing is done only by hand while rubbing done in combination with the use of ointment. As to which one of the two manipulations is to be used, it just depends on the situation. Generally speaking, every type of massage aims at either eleminating something or restraining something; the former makes obstruction dispersed while the latter brings hyperaction under control." This was a great contribution to the development of massage theory.

The Ming Dynasty was the second boom period for Chinese massage in its long history of development. Massage was again included in the thirteenth departments of TCM in the official Institute of the Imperial Physicians. Clinical experience and theoretical knowledge were gradually accumulated in the treatment of infantile diseases with massage during this time. In 1601, China's first treatise on massage therapy of infantile diseases The Canon of Massage for Children came into being. Soon after, Complete Classic of the Secret Principles of Massage to Bring Infants Back to life, and Secret Pithy Formula of Massage far Children among other works on child massage were published in succession. By that time, as an academic branch, child massage had taken shape and the independent system of massage diagnosis, manipulation, application points and treatment had been established. Furthermore, the term of "massage" we use today to refer to this academic branch, was put forward right in this period.

There was no massage department in Institute of Imperial Physicians in the Qing Dynasty, but owing to its marked therapeutic effect, it was practiced and spread as extensively as before, both in the government and among general people. Children massage was further developed in this period, especially in the early and middle Qing Dynasty. There emerged a number of famous doctors of children massage and such professional classics which greatly influenced the later generations as Xiong Yingxiong's Elucidations of Massage for Children, Luo Rulong's Secrets of Massage of Pediatric Speciality, Xia Yunji's The Massage for the Care of Infants and Zbang Zhenjun's Revised Synopsis of Massage. In addition, the massagists of Qjng Dynasty made marked achievements in treating injuries with massage. In the book The Golden Mirror of Medicines there is the list of the following manipulations as the eight methods for treating injuries: touching, reuniting, holding, lifting, pressing, rubbing, pushing and grasping. In view of this, the massage for injury bad taken shape in this period.

In the past century, thanks to the joint effort of the massagists both at home and abroad, Chinese massage has undergone great development. In 1956, China organized the first massage training class in Shanghai. In 1958 in Shanghai, a massage clinic opened and the same year saw the establishment of a special school of massage and many distinguished experts from all over the country were invited to teach and quite a number of students were trained to become specialists.

Massage departments were established in hospitals throughout the country and many folk massage doctors with rich practical experience came to work in the hospitals. In the year 1974, Shanghai TCM College initiated a department of accupuncture, massage and traumalogy, and then an independent massage department. Later on, the TCM colleges in Beijing, Anhui, Nanjing, Zhejiang and Shandong began to set up massage major one after another and created favorable conditions for training professional massagists. After the national massage association was established in 1987, academical activities of massage, nation-wide and world-wide, were carried out. In the last ten years, treatises and theses on massage have reached the highest level in history both in number and in quality. Massage treatment of cervical spondylopathy, prolapse of lumbar intervertebral disc, infantile diarrheas, coronary heart disease and cholecystitis has achieved excellent therapeutic effect. Massage research documents and foundamental study on massage are being progressively carried out.

At present, massage in China is playing an important role in the field of medical service, health rehabilitation and preservation. Along with the nation-wide and world-wide academic exchange in massage, this Chinese medicine branch will undoubtedly be accepted as a safe, effective, comfortable, harmless and free-of-side-effect therapy by the people of the world and contribute a lot to their health well being.

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ChangChou Chinese Tuina (TCM) Hospital
ChangChou, Jinan, Shandong Province, China 321503
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Email: Dr. ZhangLie