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An excerpt from the INTRODUCTION:
Manual treatment for disease has to a certain extent existed since the creation. Man had, by instinct, acquired the art of manipulation long before nature yielded her secrets in medicine. This is still the practice among many nations. In Sweden, even at the 'present time, certain manipulations are used among the peasants for cramps, swellings, etc. The Swedes seem never to have lost the art—but recently revived in other countries.
Amiot and Dally speak of a perfect system of gymnastics among the Chinese three thousand years before the Christian era. They maintained that gymnastics, by preventing stagnation, produced an even and harmonious movement of the fluids in the human body, which is necessary to health. Not only did they use gymnastics to preserve health, but they also had a thorough knowledge of their therapeutic effects. From each of the natural positions they placed the body and limbs in certain derivative positions, which modified the movement of the fluids and were, of course, important in different diseases.
The priests of Egypt used some manipulation in the form of kneading and friction for rheumatic pains, neuralgias, and swellings.
The Hindoos, also, had some knowledge of their therapeutic importance; but the masses were soon mystified-by the priests, who by incantations and magical words, led them to believe they were invented by the gods.
Even the Persians used a few movements for different affections.
The Greeks were the first to recognize gymnastics as an institution—a fact of much importance to the free states. Here they were auxiliary to the development of the people both socially and politically. The gymnasts were political, pedagogic, esthetic, and therapeutic. The philosophers and the physicians recommended manual treatment. Plato even divided it into active and passive movements, and especially recommended the latter. Some physicians practised the movements themselves; but there arose a class of people, called Pädotribes, some of whom acquired great skill in the manipulation of the human body.
Although the Romans imitated the Greeks to some extent, they rather preferred calisthenics; yet the manual method was more extensively practised in Rome under the emperors than it had hitherto been by any other nation.
Thus we see that among the ancients the most common movements were a few passive manipulations, while in the Middle Ages the gymnastics of an earlier period were more or less forgotten.
bound: 216 pages
publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (February 16, 2014)
isbn: 1495979652, 978-1495979651,
weight: 13.6 ounces (