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History of Massage - Ancient China

History of Massage - Ancient China

The Yellow River valley culture is also referred to as Shang China, or Ancient China. There is widespread and extensive massage information found in ancient Chinese records. One of the ancient Chinese documents of disputable age is the Cong Fou, which includes information on the use of medicinal plants, controlled breathing, and a system of exercises and positions for healthcare. It is questionable whether massage treatment was actually included, but many assume it was. Possibly started around 2700 BCE, it may have been completed over several generations.

The Nei Ching is the Yellow Emperor’s classic of internal medicine and is one of the oldest medical references that still exist. Some claim that it was written around 2600 BCE because of its association with the Yellow Emperor of China, who died at about the same time. Others suggest that it was writ-ten from 475 BCE to 220 CE (common era, formerly called AD) as a series of entries by many different per-sons but linked to the famous and honorable emperor to establish its authority and bring it fame. The Nei Ching is more of a medical dialogue or discussion than a medical reference book and serves as the foundation for traditional Chinese medicine. Its main topics include the theory of five phases and the balance of yin and yang.

In the Chinese language, words are represented by contextual pictograms. Translating, reading, and writing the words in English letters can be subjective and vague. A Chinese word written in English is an attempt to spell the pronunciation of the word. One of the oldest Chinese terms for a therapy involving massage-like activity is commonly writ-ten as moshuo (moh-SZH-woh). This term can be found in the Nei Ching in the context of massage and finger pressure used to energize someone or treat paralysis, chills, fever, and poor circulation of blood. As the Chinese language developed through time, massage techniques were called anmo (AHN-moh), to press and rub, and Tui-na (TOOY-nah), to push and hold.

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