resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
B Vitamins Improve Memory, Prevent Brain Atrophy
The 2010 OPTIMA study showed that the accelerated rate of brain atrophy in elderly with mild cognitive impairment could be slowed via supplementation with homocysteine-lowering B vitamins, which included folic acid, vitamin B12 and vitamin B6.
Avoid Random Treatment of Trigger Points (Part 2)
We must acknowledge that the fascia, which surrounds literally everything in our bodies, including every muscle fiber, is more than just a covering.
Synergy Doesn't Happen in Silos: Acupuncture in Hospitals and Other Healthcare Settings
As acupuncture and traditional East Asian medicine continue to intersect and integrate with biomedical approaches, the conversation about integration expands and becomes richer.
An Excerpt from TCM Case Studies: Pediatrics
This excerpt is reprinted with permission from Jamie Wu. TCM Case Studies: Pediatrics was released in 2014 by People's Medical Publishing House.
Will You Be an Amplifer or a Mute?
These times are changing, and changing quickly. There have been many challenges to this profession throughout the past few years. The challenge is to talk, then talk and talk some more about this medicine.
Expanding Access, Branch by Branch
The big news coming from Capitol Hill isn't merely the recent introduction of a pair of bills designed to expand chiropractic services in the Veterans Affairs and military health care systems; after all, similar legislation has made its way through Congress before, never reaching the Oval Office for presidential signature.
A Well-Kept Secret: 5 Element Acupuncture, Part II
Supervising acupuncture interns at a TCM college, it has always struck me how funny it is to hear the clinic manager tell the patients that the Five Element clinic specializes in treating emotions, as if patients with physical pain have no emotions!
The Way We Are Designed: A Conversation with Gil Hedley, PhD
I was first introduced to the work of Gil Hedley by Tom DiFerdinando. He gifted me Gil's DVD series.
Help Update the LBP Practice Guideline
The Council on Chiropractic Guidelines and Practice Parameters has announced the release of an updated Clinical Practice Guideline for Chiropractic Management of Low Back Pain for stakeholder review and comment.
Converting More Patients to Your Practice
In 2013 and 2014, the theme was "the money is in the list." This meant that if you had a big email list, you were really making some "cha-ching." Unfortunately, having thousands of emails doesn't equate to thousands of dollars in profit.
TCM Congress in Rothenburg is Largest in Western World
In the medieval town of Rothenburg, deep set within the Bavarian countryside in Southern Germany, the TCM Kongress Rothenburg each year draws around 1.200 participants from more than 40 different countries to attend the biggest TCM conference in the Western world.
Impacting Chiropractic's Future With Technology
When it comes to electronic health records (EHR), Robert Moberg and Dr. Steven Kraus are two of the leading industry experts on the topic.
A Reality Check – and a Chance to Educate
Imagine working in the public relations department of nutrition retailer General Nutrition Corporation (GNC) and reading the The New York Times announce...
There Really is No Room for Sexism
Recently, Matteo* (a transgender male) approached me during a break in an advanced shiatsu class in Berlin where he was one of two men in a group of 20 women. "Pamela. Don't forget to remind the translator to include male endings."
Treating Beyond Pain
More often than not, when a patient presents to the office, it is for a pain complaint. Headache, neck pain, low back pain, sciatica, carpal tunnel... The pain is often the focus of the patient's mindset, and they don't often have any thought of what comes after the pain.
Recreational Cannabis Use and TCM
Many people are drawn to cannabis for its effects physically, mentally and emotionally. Medically, cannabis has some legitimate uses, however the scope of this article is limited to the recreational use of cannabis.
Primary Spine Care: Addressing Concerns & Criticisms
The Dec. 1, 2013 issue of Dynamic Chiropractic included an article describing the implementation of a training program for primary spine practitioners (PSP) within a metropolitan region and supported by a large BC/BS plan.
The Need for a New Medical Model: A Challenge for Biopsychosocial and Ecopsychologica Medicine
Chinese medicine speaks of alignment between humans, heaven and earth. It is a complex view with a focus upon relationship. These are comprehensive ideas with no specific terms in contemporary medical practice.
Interpersonal Skills 101: Enhancing the Value of Our Patient Interactions
Recently, I read an interesting article in our local newspaper titled "The Value of Human Interaction." The article presented comments from a senior editor for Fortune magazine who discussed "Civility in the Business World."
The Dietary Supplement Research Dilemma
I do not care what the truth is, one way or another; I just want to know it. And when it comes to dietary supplements, the truth can be hard to find for a number of reasons.
Low Back Pain: Posture and Movement Analysis
When performing static and dynamic movement analysis of the lumbopelvic hip area, begin with standing visual posture analysis of the pelvis, and then perform lumbar range of motion and assess what you might see during normal versus abnormal lumbar flexion motion.
Atypical Femoral Fractures and Bisphosphonate Use: What to Watch For
Bisphosphonates (BP) are popular drugs, with more than 8 billion in sales in 2008; however, profits have declined as patents began expiring. Nonetheless, BP remain the most commonly prescribed drugs for patients at risk of osteoporotic fractures, with several million prescriptions written every year.
September, 2010, Vol. 10, Issue 09
The Life of Per Henrik Ling
By Judi Calvert, LMP
In the early 1800s, Peter Henry Ling (also Per Henrik Ling) was perhaps the first to discover what countless others have since learned in the past centuries: massage is critical for healing pain.
Though somewhat controversial, Ling is widely considered the "Father of Massage". Ling's life work was developing a series of gymnastic movements to help relieve chronic pain. Like many massage therapists and body workers today, he used his own experience with pain and injury to create styles and techniques that formed the foundation of his practice and, ultimately, of massage itself.
Ling was born on Nov. 15, 1776 in Smaland, Sweden. His father was a so-called curate, a member of the clergy in charge of the town parish. Ling was a devoted student who spent his days studying with a strict tutor before attending school in the town of Vaxjo.
After he left school, he continued to study while traveling the country. At times he was reduced to poverty, and eventually returned to Smaland, where he passed his theological examinations in 1797. For the next three years, he served as a tutor for several families.
In 1800, he left Sweden to travel internationally. It was a different kind of education for the accomplished scholar, and he was exposed to experiences that helped shape his life. He learned to speak several languages, and even took part in a naval battle as a volunteer on a Danish ship. When chronic pain and financial troubles forced him to return to Sweden, he continued his education by studying the art of fencing.
Ling had a passion for his newfound skill. Yet he realized that, though fencing was a valuable fitness exercise, it alone couldn't heal his body. Despite his youth, he was afflicted by physical problems such as rheumatism and lung disease, and had developed gout in his arm. He began doing a series of passive movements that involved stroking, pressing and kneading the body. Eventually, he noticed that they had a positive effect on his health.
Ling saw potential in these movements, which he called medical gymnastics, and wanted to educate people on his "suitable systematized exercises." He felt that, by performing these movements, the body and the mind would feel whole.
He not only believed that anatomy and physiology were the "necessary basis of gymnastics" but also that the effects the movements produced upon the "body and psychological condition of man" must be studied in great detail. He set out to do just that, and founded the Royal Central Gymnastic Institute in 1813.
Ling truly cared about helping people, and devoted the rest of his life to building on the system he had created. Like therapists, teachers and educators today who have spent many years in the field, he undertook his work because he recognized the value of touch. He never gave up on his values, and was dedicated to undertaking his study "by the most careful and untiring analysis of details."
He was praised for his personal qualities as well. Mathias Roth, one of Ling's students, wrote: "Ling was a man of high moral tone, pious, sincere, honest in all his dealings with his fellow man. His intellectual powers were of a very high order; he loved with the same energy with which he worked, the objects of his home-affections, his friends, the poor, his country, and mankind."
Father of Massage?
Many of the books written during the 1800s pay tribute to Ling as a groundbreaker. But was Peter Ling the Father of Massage, or simply the founder of medical gymnastics? Or was he both? The question lingers as to whether he outright created the techniques or if he gleaned information about these movements from what practitioners in other countries had been doing for centuries.
In Axel V. Grafstrom's 1898 A Text Book of Mechano-Therapy (Massage And Medical Gymnastics), he calls Ling the "father of mechano-therapy," rather than the Father of Massage.
But Nellie Elizabeth Macafee, an RN who wrote Massage: An Elementary Textbook For Nurses in 1920, was unequivocal in her deference to Ling, saying that his genius lay in "systematizing both massage and gymnastics and influencing both physicians and laymen in Sweden and other countries to such an extent that all recent elaborations claim to have as their origin 'The Ling System', if they wish to emphasize their superiority over other methods."
In the 2010 edition of his book, Theory and Practice of Therapeutic Massage, Mark F. Beck wrote, "Per Henrik Ling is known as the father of physical therapy." He continues: "Per Henrick of Sweden developed medical gymnastics later known as the Swedish Movement Cure and the precursor to Swedish Massage."
Indeed, it has been written in several books that Ling enfolded massage into his movements, but that it was only a small part of the overall treatment.
Ling's system addressed the mechanical aspect of movement, provided a curative outlet in the form of medical gymnastics and included passive movements that were later known as massage. And though he devoted his life to his system, he left little written record of it. However, it's clear from what he did write that the manipulations of friction, kneading, stroking, cupping, clapping and others were included within the exercise system known as medical gymnastics, though he did not refer to it as massage or rubbing.
In 1986, Patricia Benjamin, former historian for the American Massage Therapy Association, discovered from translations of Ling's Notations to the General Principles of Gymnastics, that no French terms related to massage were used by Ling or the Royal Central Gymnastic Institute, implying that Ling's movements were not, in fact, intended strictly as massage techniques.
Benjamin found that the French terms effleurage, petrissage, and tapotement, along with friction used by massage therapists today, did not originate with Ling. Instead, they are attributed to Dutch practitioner Johann Georg Mezger (1817-1893). Mezger and his followers organized the manipulations into simpler divisions and labeled them with the French terms.
However, Benjamin wrote that "Ling's medical gymnastic system was the seed of Swedish massage brought to this country in the early nineteenth century."
Though Benjamin's scholarship seems to disprove the idea that Ling was the sole founder of Swedish massage, it's clear that his work laid the foundation for those who came after him. He will be remembered for bringing together many of the techniques we now categorize as Swedish massage, regardless of whether he is considered its founder. He demonstrated that gymnastic movements could be a critical remedy for health problems and was dedicated to helping people in pain.
Ling discussed his life's work on his deathbed until the very last hour, giving instructions to his pupils about the science to which he devoted his life. He died on May 3, 1839. Massage wouldn't be what it is today without his remarkable contributions, and he is a man who should be remembered.
Click here for more information about Judi Calvert, LMP.
Join the conversation
Comments are encouraged, but you must follow our User Agreementcomments powered by Disqus
Keep it civil and stay on topic. No profanity, vulgar, racist or hateful comments or personal attacks. Anyone who chooses to exercise poor judgement will be blocked. By posting your comment, you agree to allow MPA Media the right to republish your name and comment in additional MPA Media publications without any notification or payment.