Ancient Egypt - Tomb of Ankhmahor
On the northern side of Teti's pyramid at Saqqara in the block of tombs belonging to the officials of the king's Dynasty VI reign. The most famous pictures from Ankhmahor’s tomb are in the doorway to the pillared hall, it is also known as "The Tomb of the Physician". It depicts two men having work done on their hands and feet, thought to be massaging.
The inscription reads "Do not let it be painful" and the practitioner answers cryptically "I do it so that you will praise it, King".
Ancient Greece, father of medicine
In ancient Greece, the practice of rubbing up the limbs or 'anatripsis' was highly recommended for treating fatigue, sports or war injury and illness. Hippocrates, the so-called 'father' of medicine, writing in the fifth century BC, stated that the physician must be 'experienced in many things but assuredly rubbing', suggested that the way to health was to have a scented bath and an oil massage everyday.
Massage techniques can be traced back to the 1700's. In the 1850s, two American physicians who had studied in Sweden introduced massage therapy in the United States, it became popular for a variety of health purposes. In the 1970s new interest was revived, especially among the athletes including massage to their exercise routine.
The word comes from the French massage "friction of kneading", or from Arabic massa meaning "to touch, feel or handle" or from Latin massa meaning "mass, dough", cf. Greek verb μάσσω (massō) "to handle, touch, to work with the hands, to knead dough". In distinction the ancient Greek word for massage was anatripsis, and the Latin was frictio.