More Detail On Physical Therapy History

Having your mobility impaired can be frustrating whether mobility impairment comes because of an illness or from having been in an accident. People who take part in sports, people with serious neck or back pain, those who have suffered a stroke and those born with certain medical disorders can all benefit from physical therapy. Physical therapy history goes back a long way and has evolved to treat many problems successfully.  With some research you will find that different types of physiotherapy were already being used centuries ago, and in fact Hippocrates promoted massage as well as hydrotherapy centuries ago.

If you are in hospital, you may have a physical therapist who will evaluate your bed mobility, and they will advise you on ways to get in and out of bed and how to also  perform certain exercises to keep your muscles strong and flexible while you are in the hospital.

Physical Therapy Has Always Used Natural Therapeutic Methods

Physical therapy has evolved from centuries of using natural therapeutic methods, and today the modern form of physical therapy began to really come into its own after the first World War when injured soldiers were in need of these type of services to relieve pain and to restore mobility to  injured limbs. The outbreak of poliomyelitis in the 1950s brought on many patients, both child and adult, in need of therapy. People affected by the disease who desperately in need of something that would help them to regain their  independence and their ability to earn a living by being mobile.Physical Therapy History

Today modern physical therapists are still using cold and heat, electricity as well as massage to restore strength. Massage is a physical therapy that relaxes and strengthens the soft tissues of the body, using a variety of hands-on-techniques. The soothing massage helps to relax the mind as well as the body, relaxing muscles, easing stiff joints and promoting circulation. Other benefits to this physical therapy is that it stimulated lymphatic drainage. Physical therapy history has always included massage, which is one of the oldest forms of remedial therapy and has been practiced for thousands of years. Ancient Chinese medical texts written more than 5 000 years ago make references to massage, and there is also evidence that it was practiced in India, Japan and Egypt more than 3 000 years ago.

Different Types Of Massage

More than 100 different types of massage are practiced today, and the most common forms are based on the principles of Swedish massage established by Peter Hendrik Ling. Some massage techniques are Effleurage, which is a stroking movement that soothes and relaxes, as well as Pettrisage which is a kneading movement that stimulates the tissues. There is also Friction, which is small circular movements aimed at releasing tension and blockages. Modern massage techniques include therapeutic massage, sports massage, infant massage, deep tissue massage, shiatsu, reflexology, aromatherapy and applied kinesiology. Massage is effective for treating disorders like sprains, strains, arthritis, anxiety, backache, swelling and insomnia and is also safe to use during pregnancy. Infant massage is a very specialized form of massage.

The physical therapist is well learned in the muscles and joints and how to exercise them and devices that apply pressure and on which resistance can be adjusted are used in the exercise program.

A Hands-On  Non-Surgical Treatment

Osteopathy is also a type of physical therapy and is a manipulative therapy that works on the body’s structure, skeleton, muscles, ligaments and connective tissue. Tension in muscles and misaligned bones place a strain on the body, and by adjusting the framework, this strain is relieved which allowing the free functioning of all the body systems. Physical injury, poor posture and emotional states such as anxiety can cause misalignment or muscular tension. Osteopathy used a variety of manipulative techniques to relax tight muscles and realign bones. Direct treatment techniques include soft-tissue massage, to release tension or fibrous knots cause by tension, articulatory movement techniques, where the joints are moved passively , often in a stretch; high -velocity thrust techniques which are sudden movements used to click joints back into position.

The physical therapist will take the patient’s history and conduct a physical examination which is made up of posture evaluation. The therapist will test movement and joints and will indicate the extent of the problem and what manipulative techniques are required.

Massage And Exercise Go Way Back

Looking at physical therapy history, in 1894, English nurses formed the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy, and soon after other countries began with their own training programs. In the United States way back in 1914, physical therapy was introduced at the Walter Reed Hospital in Washington DC, and in fact some of the first physical therapists graduated. The history of physical therapy is interesting. Early Greek and Roman writings also make reference to the benefits of water, exercises and massage, and today’s common practices of using exercise, massage, water, heat and cold dates back to Greek culture and Hippocrates. In Europe, from the 1500s, the use of exercise to treat muscle and bone disorders and disabilities progressed so that by the 1800s, they were used for a variety of orthopedic diseases and injuries.

Physical Therapy Used To Treat Those Injured During Wars

American orthopedic surgeons trained young women graduates of physical-education schools to care for their patients, and reference is made to these young women treating patients in 1916 when an  epidemic of poliomyelitis struck. After World War II physical therapy became very popular and was used in the care of patients injured in the war. A special unit of the Army Medical Department also developed fifteen training programs to respond to the need for medical workers with expertise in rehabilitation.  In 1921, Mary McMillan founded the American Women’s Physical Therapeutic Association. The name later changed to the American Physical Therapy Association, also known as APTA. Mary was known as The Mother of Physical Therapy.  The year of 1921 will also be remembered in history because it was the year when  national accreditation of physiotherapy programs was introduced.   Physical therapy in the 1950s was highlighted during the Korean War as well as  continued polio epidemic. A vaccine for polio was developed to put an end to polio, but those who had contracted polio before the vaccine continued to need physical therapy treatment.

By 1959, there were state regulations for physical therapists  in many of the states  which actually led to the first national examination in 1954 and by 1967 most of the states required licensure laws. Physical therapists began to discover new options to improve patient function, and advances in technology began to ensure that the techniques and treatments began to change and improve, and Congress adopted the Education of All Handicapped Children Act in 1975, opening up new new avenues for physical therapists within the public school system. Changes in the USAs health care delivery system throughout the 1990s, influenced physical therapy and different Acts over the years have been implemented to challenge  physical therapists to provide quality services to patients.

Some Physical Therapy History From University Of Kansas

The physical therapy program at the University of Kansas Medical Center had their  first group of students admitted into their program in 1944 already and they received their first accreditation in 1945. In 1988 the University of Kansas was the first to offer an entry-level Master of Science in Physical Therapy but by 1990 the Bachelor of Science degree was phased out. In June 2004 the university launched their new three-year Doctor of Physical Therapy  program which ended the future for the Master of Science degree. After their most recent review by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education, they were awarded full accreditation for a period of 8 years, and today their exceptional faculty produces research papers each year.

Mobility Impairment Is Found in People Of All Ages

Mobility problems, contrary to what many people think, are not reserved for the elderly, but for treating young adults, children as well as tiny babies.  On top of that mobility impairment can also be as a result of someone being born with something like cerebral palsy, and in this instance, the movement of your arms and legs are limited.  Those people with diabetes could also become immobile, because of problems with blood circulation.

Physical therapy is offered by physical therapists who are licensed health care professionals. These medical professionals have different levels of training, and have master’s or doctorate degrees in  physical therapy.  The evaluate and create a physical therapy treatment plan; tailoring a plan to each  individual’s needs.

Physical therapy is enormously useful in treating many different medical disorders as well as sport injuries, cardiopulmonary diseases as well as neurological and muscular illnesses.

Some disorders that can cause problems with mobility are:

  • hemiplegia – paralysis on one side of the body because of a stroke or brain injury
  • cerebral palsy – a disorder which brings about  bad coordination and involuntary movements of the muscles
  • multiple sclerosis – a disorder of the nervous system and deterioration of the nerve tissue
  • quadriplegia – damage to the spinal cord in the cervical region causing impairment to the hands and arms
  • paralysis – the loss of feeling in certain parts of the body
  • paraplegic – paralysis of the lower extremities; loss of sensation and possibly loss of bowel and bladder control

Physical therapy can really be a relief-treatment for those who are finding it hard to move around and complete their everyday tasks, and this in itself brings about feelings of helplessness and depression. Sometimes even attempting to move around can bring about tremendous pain, whereas physical therapy can certainly improve and even restore your physical function and your fitness levels. Physical therapists have as their goal to make your life easier, and with effective physical therapy from reputable and accredited physical therapists you will soon be helping yourself in and out of bed and also be able to negotiate moving up a flight of stairs on your own.

Where Can I Fet Physical Therapy?

There are a number of places where you can get physical therapy, and some of these are nursing homes, clinics, hospitals, schools, at sports clubs and even in your own home. Remember to look out for certified physical therapists so that you get the best treatment you can, You will want a therapist who has experience with your particular health problem.  There are physical therapists who are  board-certified in specialized areas like sports, orthopedics,  geriatrics, and neurology. They also specialize in bones, ligaments, muscles, tendons and joints. 

How Do Physical Therapist Determine Your Problem?

Your physical therapist  will first examine you and determine your mobility and flexibility before they design a treatment plan for you. Once they have established this they set about creating a program that with restore your strength, flexibility, endurance and balance. The mission of the therapist is to also reduce your pain when you do start to move around. Physical therapy always includes exercise, and these exercises can include stretching, weight lifting and walking. Not only does the physical therapist give you exercises to do at the clinic or hospital, they also show you and teach you how to continue doing the exercises at home. Apart from the exercises, treatment will also include manual therapy like electrical stimulation, ultrasound and hot and cold treatments.


They beauty of physical therapy today is that by having physical therapy from highly qualified physical therapists, you can actually avoid having to have surgery. It has always played an important role in  health care, contributing to a worthwhile quality of life for patients by keeping them healthy and active, and that huge draw card, the avoidance of surgery. In the 21st century, physical therapy is still being widely used and is in great demand, only these days the treatment is far more effective. Physical therapists today undergo thorough and intensive training, and physical therapists are accomplished professional practitioners who add quality of life to their patients. When you are battling with mobility impairment and you are in pain, try putting yourself in the capable hands of  physical therapists and see how life takes on new meaning as you become more able to do all those day to day tasks on your own.

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