Massage

has for centuries played an important role in Japanese medicine,-it, acupuncture, and the moxa being universally credited with more than all the many virtues which Beecham, among ourselves, claims for his pills, and "Mother Seigel" for her syrup. The shampooers, popularly known as amma san, also occupy a conspicuous place in Japanese social life. Immemorial custom limits the profession to the blind, who thus support their families, instead of, as is mostly the case in Western countries, being a burden to them. Such sums are they enabled to accumulate, that they often turn money-lenders as well and are correspondingly hated.

Till about the year 1870, all the shampooers in Japan formed one immense guild under two provosts, one of whom lived at Yedo, the other at Kyōto. This guild possessed various legal privileges, and admittance to it took place on the passing of certain tests and the payment of fees. It was divided into several grades, the rise from grade to grade being conditioned by new tests and higher fees. For the highest grade to which any ordinary blind mortal could aspire-the grade next under that of provost-a fee of $1,000 was exacted. This organisation is now fast falling into decay; but the melancholy whistle of the blind shampooer, as he slowly gropes his way along the street at night, staff in hand, is still one of the characteristic sounds of every Japanese town.

Massage is much to be recommended to tired pedestrians and to persons suffering from lumbago, rheumatism, and other pains and aches. The old-fashioned Japanese shampooers, however, make the mistake of shampooing down instead of shampooing up. A portion of the good done is thus neutralised, one object of scientific massage being to help back towards the centre the blood which is lingering in the superficial veins. This fact is now beginning to be known and acted on in Japan,-one of the fruits of German medical tuition.

Book recommended - Dr. W. N. Whitney Notes on the History of Medical Progress in Japan, published in Vol. XII. Part IV. of the "Asiatic Transactions", p. 331 et seq.