A Brief History of Physical Therapy

Physical therapy is a well-established and well-known branch of the medical field and has been long praised for the relief it offers so many people. It has become such a common and integral part of medicine that its history might surprise you. The road to creating a well regulated landscape for physical therapists to work wasn’t a short one.

Ancient beginnings
Physical therapy can trace its roots all the way back to ancient Greece. Storied medical figures such as Hippocrates used massage, heat, and hydrotherapy as common techniques. As time progressed similar methods took shape in Europe as methods of treating bone disorders and in the 1800s the usage had spread even more.

War and Polio
The history of physical therapy is very much intertwined with a few major events of the early 1900s. Around 1916, polio became a widespread disease in the United States. In the struggle against this disease, muscle testing and re-education became a necessity and helped to develop the field of physical therapy.

While some Americans were dealing with polio, others became deeply entrenched in World War I. With such major conflict came devastating injuries. In an effort to help wounded and recovering soldiers, programs were developed and carried out that later became known as physical therapy.

This field saw another major boost during World War II just a couple of decades later. With more injured soldiers came a greater need for medical care. In 1946, Congress’ Hill Burton Act increased the number of hospitals around the country, and in turn increased the number of practicing physical therapists.

After the war, physical therapy grew as a field, gaining autonomy. Standards were developed for regulation and licensure. Physical therapists started expanding practice outside of medical campuses.

Since the 1950s, the field of physical therapy has developed with much the same speed as the rest of the world. Technology has allowed for great improvements, and new treatments have emerged to aid in recovery from new surgical practices.

Life Fitness Physical Therapy
If inactivity in the workplace has left you dealing with back, shoulder, or neck pain, Life Fitness can help. We’ll advise you on safe workplace practices and help strengthen your problem areas to relieve pain.

Schedule an appointment with Life Fitness Physical Therapy to start taking steps to a healthier life. Call 410-368-1026 or click here to schedule an appointment. You can also follow our Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, and Google+ accounts to keep up with us.