About how massage was common in Rome in the first half of the 1st century. n e., when Celsus lived, the lines with which Celsus begins the chapter on a healthy person testify: “A healthy person who feels good … needs neither a doctor nor a massage therapist.”
The famous Claudius Galen, the head physician of the school of gladiators in Pergamum (who lived in 131–201 CE), established nine types of massage. He described the technique of stroking, rubbing and kneading muscles. The Romans generally attached great importance to rubbing the whole body, and their doctors promoted this massage technique in their daily lives. Here’s how Galen describes the rubbing technique: “After removing the dress from the patient, his body is rubbed with cloth, then oil.
When the skin turns slightly red due to gentle friction, they begin to rub the body covered with oil with a bare hand and not too much and not too weak to bring the body to relaxation or exhaustion; strong young people can have more friction. Friction is then carried out with strong hands in various directions: from top to bottom, from bottom to top, across, horizontally. “