Archaeological ruins and ancient texts show that handshaking – also known as dexiosis – was practiced in ancient Greece as far back as the 5th century BC; a depiction of two soldiers shaking hands can be found on part of a 5th-century BC funerary stele on display in the Pergamon Museum, Berlin (stele SK1708) There are various customs surrounding handshakes, both generically and specific to certain cultures: The handshake is commonly done upon meeting, greeting, parting, offering congratulations, expressing gratitude, or completing an agreement.In sports or other competitive activities, it is also done as a sign of good sportsmanship.
If it is done to form an agreement, the agreement is not official until the hands are parted.
A medical study has found that fist bumps and high fives spread fewer germs than handshakes.
In light of the 2009 H1N1 pandemic, the dean of medicine at the University of Calgary, Tomas Feasby, suggested that fist bumps may be a "nice replacement of the handshake" in an effort to prevent transmission of the virus.
Customs surrounding handshakes are specific to cultures.
Different cultures may be more or less likely to shake hands, or there may be different customs about how or when to shake hands.
Following a 2010 study that showed that only about 40% of doctors and other health care providers complied with hand hygiene rules in hospitals, Mark Sklansky, a doctor at UCLA hospital, decided to test a "a handshake-free zone" as a method for limiting the spread of germs and reducing the transmission of disease.