This is for all of you out there who are like most of us; too busy and too cash poor to treat ourselves to massage therapy on a regular basis or at all. That is indeed an unfortunate self denial. However, this particular denial can never guide us to also deny the fact that we can all use the benefits of massage therapy for it is not a mere luxury of the superfluous nature but an inherent need. As a matter of fact, massage therapy is deeply embedded into the fabric of our being and we all instinctively practice it to some extent without ever calling it that.
What do we do when our tummies hurt, when we have headaches, when we stub our toes, when our muscles tighten and cramp and so on and on? We automatically and without contemplation or forethought place our hands to the areas of discomfort to press and rub. Guess what? That is self massage therapy. And self massage therapy is every bit as effective and beneficial as any other kind of massage therapy, and it can be performed at any time and at any place to accommodate our unforgiving schedules and at no cost.
However, there are some parts of our bodies which are difficult to reach and therefore impossible to self massage. There are also times when our own two hands are too fatigued or sore to perform the self massage therapy we need. Furthermore, there may be certain situations that would require our hands to be put to other uses while we wish we could do some massaging. For those reasons, some very intuitive and insightful inventors designed self massage devices which can resolve these issues without depriving us of a good massage.
Massage devices are by no means new concepts as implements have been used on peoples’ bodies for many centuries throughout the world:
- Mesopotamia and Egypt. Some writings indicate that the Mesopotamians and the Egyptians used a variety of objects to manipulate the body and those would date as far back as 3000 B.C.
China. The oldest massage tool that has been discovered thus far is made out of jade and it was used in the Longshan culture of China during the Shang dynasty and dates back to about 2000 to 1500 B.C. — a massage knuckle.
At approximately the same time, tools carved of wood or animal bones were used to apply pressure to painful points in the body, and needles carved out of wood were used to treat gout.
- Greece and Rome. Stones (jade, marble, basalt and others) were allegedly used either hot or cold by the Greeks and Romans in 175 B.C.
The strigil, rubbing cloths and tapotements made of ebony, wood or bone were also used in the Roman and Greed empires and flagellation (self beating) was practiced with the use of twigs or leafy branches.
- England. The English shaped needle-like instruments to alleviate the symptoms of gout.
An English veteran of the American Revolution, Admiral Henry of Rolvenden, created a large collection of tools to treat his own aches and pain. He drummed his back with a hammer covered with cork and leather; he made a few wood carvings to pound the soles of his feet, he used cattle ribs to loosen the knots along his tendons and to stroke certain parts of his body and he fashioned small bone gadgets to massage the inside of his mouth.
- Pacific Islands. The Polynesians used a thinly curved limb shaped out of the indigenous guava tree called the laau lomi-lomi stick as well as rounded lava rocks called lomi balls. Both these devices tools were used for rubbing, pounding and pressing.
In the 1890s the Health Culture Company of New York introduced an entire line of manual self massage devices and those have been used widely ever since, even more than the electronic devices which began flooding the market in more recent years.
The. selection available to you today is extraordinary and the prices are surprisingly low. Among them are rollers, balls, percussion sticks, mats, vibration devices, and much, much more.