Women’s History and Massage Therapy: Celebrating the Legacy of Women Healers

Massage therapy has been used for centuries as a healing practice, and women have played a significant role in its development and evolution. As a women-owned business, we take our history seriously. 

From ancient times to the modern era, women have made important contributions to the field of massage therapy, both as practitioners and innovators.

In honor of Women’s History Month, we are taking a closer look at the legacy of women healers in massage therapy.

Women Healers in Ancient Times

In ancient times, women were often the primary healers in their communities, using massage and other natural remedies to treat a variety of ailments. In ancient Egypt, for example, women were trained in the art of massage.  They used bodywork to help ease the pain and discomfort of childbirth. In India, women were also skilled in massage and herbal medicine.  They used these practices to treat everything from headaches to digestive problems.

Stone Sculpture

The Role of Women in Modern Massage Therapy

In the modern era, women have continued to play an important role in massage therapy. Many of the pioneers of modern massage therapy were women, including the legendary Swedish massage therapist Per Henrik Ling, who developed the technique that bears his name.

Ling’s work was further developed by his female student, Mathilda Thelin, who went on to become one of the most influential massage therapists of the 19th century.

Other notable female massage therapists of the modern era include Elizabeth Dicke, who developed the Trigger Point Therapy technique, and Ida Rolf, who created the Rolfing technique. These women, along with countless others, have helped shape the field of massage therapy as we know it today.

The first licensed massage therapist in North America was Agnes Bridget Forbes, who earned her license in 1916. She was an Ohio native who pioneered the use of massage as a medical treatment. Her career was enabled by the fact that Ohio was the first state to recognize massage therapy as a branch of medicine and introduce regulation.

Women in Massage Therapy Today

Today, women continue to be a dominant force in the field of massage therapy. According to the American Massage Therapy Association, approximately 85% of massage therapists in the United States are women. Women are also leading the way in research on the health benefits of massage therapy, exploring its potential to alleviate pain, reduce stress, and improve overall well-being.

Women in Massage Therapy

Massage therapy has become a vital part of the healthcare landscape, and women have been at the forefront of this movement. By continuing to innovate and push the boundaries of what is possible, women in massage therapy are helping to transform the way we think about health and wellness.

At WholeFrog® we honor the women in history who made our careers possible and continue to cherish the ability to heal our community and those around us.  Our therapists are certified, and insured and continue with their education and training through our FullRange program.

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WholeFrog® Online has a team of RN’s, professional medical massage therapists, fitness professionals, PTs, and coaches who all share the same goal, optimum health, and wellness.