In the world of massage therapy, natural healing was looked upon as a sacred system that dates back more than 5,000 years. However, as changes in culture took place, the massage began to take on more the form of a luxury rather than a method of healing. Yet, we still see massage as an effective method of relaxation in modern times with massage therapy embraced in many different healing circles across the world.
Massage Therapy in India
It is estimated that the Indian culture began practicing massage around 3000 BCE and possibly much earlier than this. With the traditional holistic medical system called Ayurveda leading the way, India incorporated massage into a treatment belief system that associated divinity and generations of oral traditions. Backed by centuries of studies, experiments and meditations, it was the efforts of ancient seers and natural scientists that helped develop the foundation of Ayurvedic healing.
Researchers have found texts dating back somewhere between 1500 and 500 BCE that describes some of the Ayurvedic principles and practices of the past. According to these publications, Ayurveda was widely embraces throughout places like Southeast Asia and India. One of the views centered on the contraction of sickness and disease was that such instances occurred when an individual started to live outside of harmony and against the environment. In order to treat their conditions, it became vital for the patient to rejuvenate their natural mental and physical balance. This was accomplished by creating harmony between themselves and their surroundings , a journey that involved natural healing.
After analyzing the imbalance of health in a patient, Ayurveda treatments would take into consideration the time of year, as well as incorporate the five senses. Treatments, including massage therapy would also combine dietary changes, herbalism, aromatherapy, color therapy, and sound therapy.
Examples of Indian Massage
1) Indian Head Massage (also referred to as Champissage)
Following in line with the ancient Ayurvedic healing system, Indian Head Massage has been practiced in India for more than a 1,000 years. In traditional times, Indian women would use this kind of massage to keep their scalp healthy and ensure thick hair, as it stimulates the circulations to the scalp and provides nourishment for the hair roots. At first, the technique only focused on the head, but today, the massage now includes the shoulders, upper arms, neck, face and ears. The benefits of this massage are improved blood flow, muscle relaxation, and lowered stress levels. Patients suffering from eye strain, headaches, insomnia, lack of concentration, and lethargy, will find this method of massage quite refreshing and beneficial.
2) Chavutti Thirumal
With origins in Ayurvedic medicine, this type of Indian massage has a history that dates back to ancient times, which was created to enhance suppleness and flexibility. During this full body oil massage, the practitioner uses their bare feet to execute certain stroke, which vary from short to long-controlled motions. The name of this massage actually translates into ‘ massage by foot pressure.’
3) Ayurvedic Massage
The traditional detoxification and rejuvenation program of India known as ‘Pancha Karma’ utilizes this form of massage as part of the routine. During the process, the entire body is strongly massaged with large amounts of warm oil and herbs in an effort to eliminate toxins from a system.