History of Physiotherapy?
At least as early as the days of Hippocrates, massage was used and the history
of physiotherapy was begun. The practice of
physiotherapy has evolved through the centuries from the earliest forms
to the complex system of treatment it is now.
In 460 B.C. Hector was using a type of physiotherapy
called hydrotherapy, or water therapy. Professionals use this
type of therapy today, although it is more specialized for each type of
condition that the patients have.
In 1894, there is the first evidence of a group of nurses in the
history of physiotherapy with a Chartered Society. Within
twenty years, physiotherapy programs were set up in other
countries. New Zealand's started in 1913 and America's in
The first American professionals in the history of physiotherapy were
from the Walter Reed College and Hospital in Portland Oregon.
Rather than being called physiotherapists, they were called
reconstruction aides. These aides were nurses and they had a
physical education background. They were important in the
recovery of many World War I veterans.
Research has been done throughout the modern history of
physiotherapy. In fact, right near the very beginning, a
research study was done in the US. It was published in
1921. Physiotherapy research continues today in a myriad of
Also in 1921, the Physical Therapy Association was formed by Mary
McMillan. This group later became the APTA, arguably the most
influential organization in the American history of
The Georgia Warm Springs Foundation was started in 1924 to deal with
the ever-growing epidemic of polio. The foundation offered
physiotherapy for these patients. Sister Kinney was known
nationally for her work with polio victims. She practiced at
the Mayo Clinic. The polio epidemic was a turning point in
the history of physiotherapy.
After the polio epidemic had waned, the treatments of choice were
massage, exercise, and traction. In about 1950, chiropractic
manipulations came on the scene in the history of
physiotherapy. This was most common in Great
After that time, the history of physiotherapy moved
from hospitals into other arenas of service. There were, and
are, physiotherapists working in clinics, private practices, nursing
homes, and schools. The Orthopedics specialty of
physiotherapy was born about this time, also.
The International Federation of Orthopaedic Manipulative Therapy came
onto the scene, and began making changes and has influenced the
profession ever since. Mariano Rocabado was a physiotherapist
who had a profound impact. Freddy Kaltenborn, from Norway,
influenced physiotherapy on the east coast of the US. At the
same time, Geoffrey Maitland of Australia changed the way training was
done in the history of physiotherapy.
The focus during the 1980s history of physiotherapy was on
technology. New procedures came about that used computers,
ultrasound, electrical stimulation, and other devices. By the
1990s, interest had shifted to manual therapy, with Freddy Kaltenborn
again leading the way.
During the history of physiotherapy, training and practice have changed
and improved. Many brilliant pioneers have left their marks
in the literature and organizations of the field.
Physiotherapy is a well-respected profession as a result.
For more great information about Physiotherapy Check out this video on Body Contouring