Mezger, Johann Georg

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Mezger, Johann Georg Gender: M
born on 22 August 1833 at 03:00 (= 03:00 AM )
Place Amsterdam, Netherlands, 52n22, 4e54
Timezone LMT m4e54 (is local mean time)
Data source
BC/BR in hand
Rodden Rating AA
Collector: Koppejan
Astrology data s_su.18.gif s_leocol.18.gif 28°43' s_mo.18.gif s_scocol.18.gif 26°45 Asc.s_leocol.18.gif 08°05'

Johann Georg Mezger (made in 1870 a Kurort of the Amstel hotel)
photo: Massimo Catarinella, license cc-by-sa-3.0


Dutch physician, who introduced physiotherapeutic massage techniques.

Mezger was the son of a German butcher Johann Georg Mezger (10 February 1801 - ? ) and Etje Nijland (13 June 1810, Vollenhove - 29 March 1880, Amersfoort). He was the third of ten children. His father had moved from Württemberg to Amsterdam. He first worked in his father's firm and also studied Gymnastics since 1856. During his study he came into contact with the physiotherapeutic treatment of skeletal deformities by the Amsterdam orthopaedic Dr. Dusseau, who used Gymnastics as a treatment. Mezger turned out to have golden hands. Dusseau stimulated him to study medicine (1860). Mezger started to learn for "chirurgijn" (barber surgeon) at the Clinical School, later followed the academic medicine study at Leiden University. During his study he visited Parow in Germany.

On 15 September 1868 he dissertated in Leiden on "De behandeling van distorio pedis met fricties" (the treatment of ankle distortion with friction). Normally ankle distortions spontaneously heal with rest, but sometimes complications like Complex regional pain syndrome (earlier called post traumatic or Sudeck's atrophy, Gelenkneuralgie) occur. Physicians also proposed rest for these complications, but Mezger was an opponent of active treatment. He became an assistant of the physicist and professor in medicine Jan van Geuns (5 July 1808, Amsterdam - 5 December 1880, Amsterdam).

Mezger's active approach was distrusted by his colleagues, but got the attention of the press and the general public. On 12 January 1870 the "Rhein und Ruhr Zeitung" described a woman in Bonn who had had been bedridden for years after a fall, who was mobilised by him again.

In 1870 Mezger started a clinic in the Amstel Hotel in Amsterdam. It relieved the financial problems for the too large and expensive set up hotel, as Mezger's clinic attracted Royal and nouveau rich clients from all over Europe. The royalties in the luxurious hotel had to wait, as Mezger held the principle that farmers should be helped first, as they had to work as fast as possible. The poor he helped sometimes gratis, but the elite in the Kurort had to pay.

But nevertheless, the royalties adored and decorated him. On 22 may 1870 he became "Officier in de Orde van de Eikenkroon" for successfully treating the eldest son of King Willem III. He also visited Bonn to treat the then 13 years old later King Gustav V of Sweden for a hip trauma. He promised the parents that the child could walk within three weeks after a treatment in Amsterdam. The Prince arrived 21 November 1871 in Amsterdam, was massaged twice a day and could walk again after ten days. Mezger got in 1871 the Polar Star order (Nordstjärneorden) for this remarkable cure. In 1873 he received the Order of St. Olav, in 1875 he was knighted in the Order of the Dutch lion, in 1878 he received the Hausorden der Wendischen Krone, in 1881 he became 1st Class Commander in the order of the Polar Star and in 1886 he received the Order of Saint Stanislaus.

Other famous patients were the Austrian empress Elisabeth (Sissi), baron Lionel Walter Rothschild, empress Eugénie (spouse of Napoleon III), queen Elisabeth zu Wied of Rumania, Louise of Sweden (Queen of Denmark) and the Dutch man of letters Joseph Alberdingk Thijm.

Swedish physicians visited his clinic. The so-called "Swedish massage" was born here. German and Russian physicians followed. Mezger approached the painful spots in the muscles and ligaments and treated them with "effleurage" (to skim or to touch lightly on), "petrissage" (to knead) and for all with friction. He used a cold massage cream as intermediate.

Deep friction massage is now an established technique to maintain the mobility within the soft tissue structures of ligament, tendon, and muscle and prevent adherent scars from forming. But without the visualising techniques of today, the knowledge of injured soft tissue structures in his time was scarce, as nobody died of it and could have an autopsy. The Bonner surgeon and physiotherapy pioneer Von Mosengeil supported him, but Billroth in Vienna became a sceptic. Also the German physician Dr. H.F. Witt wrote of him in 1875: He had "eine grosze Kraft in den Fingern" and feared he contracted the heart as he "z.B. Gelenkcontracturen kleiner, graciler gebauter Mädchen und Knaben mit einer Kraftanwendung der sehr muskulös gebauten Dr. Mezger behandeln sah, als ob notwendig die kleinen, zarten Knochen ihm unter den Fingern zerbrechen muszten."

In 1874 the Swedish Princess Louise enabled him to build a new Kurort in Nieuwendam, more away from the polluted Amsterdam city. In 1875 were finished the still existing buildings on the Nieuwendammerdijk 300-308.

In 1882 Mezger moved to Den Haag, where he treated patients in hotel Des Indes. In December 1885 he travelled to Rome, to treat pope Leo XIII. Bot the pope had a kidney disease, that could not be treated manually. In 1886, he visited St Petersburg to treat the tzarina.

End 1888 he moved to Wiesbaden, attracted by promises that a large Kurort would be built for him. This turned out to be a disappointment and he had to take the Prusian Nationality and start law suits to get things done. In 1893 he left Biesbaden en went to Paris. In 1894 went back to Holland, where he had a villa "Irma" in Domburg. His last years he stayed in the summer in Domburg and the winter in Paris.

Mezger married on 17 December 1868 me married in Amsterdam the 20 year old Maria Helena Reelfs. They got a son named him Johann Georg Mezger (9 February 1871, A'dam - 30 October 1902, Lochem). After her early death he married on 20 February 1874 at Middelburg Pieternella Johanna Borsius (1852). They got three children.

He died of disease in Paris 3 March 1909.

Link to Dutch Wikipedia


  • Work : Published/ Exhibited/ Released 15 September 1868 in Leiden (Thesis: "De behandeling van distorio pedis met fricties")
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  • Relationship : Marriage 17 December 1868 in Amsterdam (Maria Helena Reelfs)
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  • Work : Gain social status 12 January 1870 in Düsseldorf ("Rhein und Ruhr Zeitung" published a remarkable cure of a bedridden old lady.)
    chart Placidus Equal_H.
  • Work : Prize 22 May 1870 (Knigthed as "Officier in de Orde van de Eikenkroo)
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  • Family : Adopted a child 9 February 1871 in Amsterdam (Johann Georg Mezger)
    chart Placidus Equal_H.
  • Work : Gain social status 1 December 1871 in Amsterdam (Managed to get Prince Oscar Gustaf Adolf (16 June 1858 – 29 October 1950) walking again.)
    chart Placidus Equal_H.
  • Relationship : Marriage 20 February 1874 in Middelburg (Pieternella Johanna Borsius)
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  • Death of Child 30 October 1902 in Lochem (Johann Georg Mezger)
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Source Notes

Koppejan quotes BC in Dierenriem.

Het blijft kwakzalverij


  • Lifestyle : Work : Travel for work
  • Vocation : Medical : Chiropractor (Chiropracter and physiotherapist avant la lettre)
  • Vocation : Medical : Physician
  • Notable : Awards : Other Awards (Knighted many times)
  • Notable : Famous : First in Field (Swedish massage and other physiotherapeutic techniques.)
  • Notable : Famous : Newsmaker (Unexpected cures)
  • Notable : Famous : Top 5% of Profession