In the 1880's, massage therapy was first introduced from Europe. It had been developed by Dr. Albert Reibmayr of Austria. Jiko Nagase, an army surgeon, tried to apply Reibmayr's massage techniques as regular therapy at his hospital. It was the first time that this therapy was used in Japan, but details are not clear, so this paper intends to clarify this therapy's theory and techniques in order to utilize it in clinical practice as a method of physiotherapy.
We used a compendium of massage (5th ed. 1893) and “Die Tecknik der Massage” (5th ed. 1892), illustrated by Reibmayr, as the basis of our study.
(1) Reibmayr's massage techniques were being developed in Europe then because the procedures were described in French and joint movements, “Bewegung, ” came from Germany.
(2) Reibmayr classified his massage therapy into four basic procedures (Effleurage, Massage à Friction, Pétrisage, and Tapotement) according to the classification system of Mezger (from Holland).
(3) He explained the effects of his massage therapy in combination with joint movements, particularly passive joint movements, based on the exercise method advocated by Ling (from Sweden).
(4) He emphasized the massage therapy and mechanical and reflex effects based on physiological research in those days.
(5) He found that massage therapy improved the function of the circulatory and nervous systems, and stimulated metabolism as a whole. According to this discovery, he advocated doing neck massage, abdominal massage, and preliminary massage.
(6) He recommended the application of his massage therapy to various fields (internal medicine, surgery, obstetrics, gynecology, etc.) as physical therapy. In order to advance the usefulness of current medical massage therapy, it is important to recognize these procedures' effects and to apply them more in clinical practice.