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The practice of massage therapy has been present throughout world history and culture. First referenced by Hippocrates, the ‘father of western medicine’ wrote of massage in his “terrain-cures,” 460 BC. The medical practice of massage has progressed exponentially as scientific advances work to redefine it as an evidence-based practice, now referred to as ‘massage therapy’.
The advancement of massage therapy can be credited, in part, to Per Hendrik Ling (Sweden) and Johann Mezger (Holland), who developed a system of medical gymnastics that combined massage and exercise. Their accomplishments led to the formation of the Society of Trained Masseuses in Britain, which in 1894 established the first training and education standards for massage therapy.
Massage became widely used in the early 19th Century by eminent English physicians and surgeons, particularly for the treatment of sprains and other injuries of the joints and soft tissues.
Massage Therapy in British Columbia
Massage therapy in British Columbia can be traced back to the early 1900’s, but it was not until 1946 that nurses and remedial gymnasts founded the Association of Physiotherapists and Massage Practitioners of BC (APMP). Their treatments were focused on rehabilitating and restoring patients to optimal health.
There is some very interesting information available in Victoria’s provincial archives regarding RMT and the founding of the profession. In 1937, we were placed within the Naturopathic Physicians Act. We were also given the title of “Masseur or Masseuse.”
Below are several PDFs that outline some examples from the 1930’s through the 1980’s demonstrating the formation and work that took place during the formative years of the Association.