History Of Massage Therapy In The United States


Are you one of those persons who don’t have any idea about the evolution of massage therapy in America?

If your answer is yes, probably you’re not the only person ignorant of this history. Besides, many people don’t know the history of massage therapy in the United States.

However, in this article, we will show you how the profession has evolved over the years.

Follow along now!

Also Read: The 5 Basic Massage Movements (Explained)

Early Days Of Massage In The United States

Per Henrik Ling’s “Gymnastic Movements,” developed modern Swedish Massage in 1813. 

However, two physician brothers Charles and George Taylor brought this profession to America in the 1850s.

Both brothers studied Massage in Europe and popularized it in the United States. As the years went by, Massage became a very popular therapy and was administered to some injured soldiers during world war 1.

Immediately after the war, Massage therapy became more popular as a luxury for the rich than a treatment. 

This led to a decline in massage therapy popularity in the 1930s. And this decline correlated with the increase in the use of modern medicine. 

But then, this didn’t last as there was a surge in sports massage therapy amongst athletes in the 70s in the United States.

And also, towards the end of the 20th century, massage treatment made a comeback due to the rise of natural healing.

Massage Therapy In The Modern Era (United States)

Massage therapy evolved a lot between the 1930s-1950s. Various Massage therapy techniques were developed and standardized by practitioners. 

After the American Massage Therapy Association was founded in 1943, it established ethical and educational standards. 

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In the 1960s, terms such as “masseur,” “masseuse,” and “massage salon” fell into disfavor and were replaced by the terms “massage therapist” and “massage therapy.” 

From the 1970s until now, massage therapy underwent several changes, incorporating various modalities from across the globe to promote the body’s overall well-being.

More than 80 types of massage therapy are in use today, and the treatment is widely used in rehabilitation centers, doctors’ offices, spas, and massage centers like ours. 

Massage therapy is increasingly becoming popular in the lives of more and more people in the United States of America today.

What Is the NCBTMB

NCBTMB stands for “National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork.” 

It was founded in 1992 to help coordinate massage regulations throughout the United States.

The NCBTMB was a legitimizing force for massage therapy, and it helped boost the growth of the industry in late 20th century America.

Also, numerous opportunities are available for continuing education for massage therapists, several continuing education courses for massage therapy due to the tireless efforts of NCBTMB.

Also, to perform massage therapy, many states now enforce strict requirements.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is The Importance Of Knowing The History Of Massage?

History helps people understand what they do today. Likewise, knowing the history of Massage will help you prepare for the challenges you could face in the future.

Who Popularized The Word Massage In America?

In the 1850s, two notable physicians George Taylor and Charles Taylor popularised the word Massage in America. These two physicians studied Massage in Europe before introducing it to the US.

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When Did Massage Therapy Become A Profession?

In the early 1900s, massage therapy finally began to gain recognition as a respected profession. Furthermore, Ohio State became the first state to regulate massage therapy in 1916 and classify it as an area of medicine. 

Which Is A Reason For The Decline In Popularity Of Massage In The Early Twentieth Century?

Massage therapy saw a decline in its popularity during the 1930s. This decline corresponded with the increased use of modern medicine.

What Was Massage Used For During Ancient Times?

Massage evidence traced due to archaeological studies has been found in several ancient civilizations. Different ancient cultures from all over the world found that Physical therapy and Massage could relieve pain, prevent and treat ailments and heal injuries. Massage has also been shown to alleviate stress and induce deep relaxation.

When Was The American Massage And Therapy Association founded?

The American Massage And Therapy Association, AMTA, has been in existence since 1943. This association has worked tirelessly to advance Massage therapy as a reputable profession in the United States. AMTA also offers its members the most substantial benefits over the years. 

What Is The Oldest Form Of Massage?

The earliest forms of massage therapy can be traced to both Egypt and China, respectively. In addition, the Egyptians Massage therapists are credited with being around 2500 BC. The practitioner applies pressure to specific points or reflex zones on the hands and feet with this system.

What Are The Major Challenges Of Massage Therapy Practice In the US

One of the significant challenges associated with massage therapy in the United States is that the industry is filled with novice therapists and even scams. Today, fraudsters without solid and considerable knowledge of massages open massage therapy stores.

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Also Read:The History Of Swedish Massage

Final Words

The history of massage therapy in America is full of countless surprises and exciting characters that resemble a family story that goes back to many generations. 

For a long time, the Massage formed a small and sensual part of American culture. 

However, It was during the mid-19th century that two physicians from New York popularized the health benefits. During this period, massage therapy took on the role of medicine for many aches and pains.

In the late 20th century, the licensing of massage therapists was approved. Hence, Standardized tests were designed for anyone who wanted to become a real massage therapist. 

This would ultimately lead to the safe and steady growth of the massage industry. Studies conducted in 2015 shows massage therapy is now a $ 12.1 billion industry.

Disclaimer:The information contained in this article is a result of in-depth research on the subject matter. This article is only for informational and educational purposes, and it’s not intended as medical or health advice. Hence, I suggest you always ensure to seek the opinion of your doctor or other qualified health personnel regarding any questions that relate to health objectives or medical conditions.

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