History of Physiotherapy

Posted on: April 10, 2019, by :
shoulder physiotherapy

Physiotherapy is a method of treatment lack of mobility, physical injuries, skeleton problems, etc. It has a long history and that’s why the third most popular medical profession in the world. Some people use the word kinesiotherapy but they mean the same thing so both terms are equal.

What was physiotherapy like in the beginning?

In China and India, people knew how powerful one massage could be and use it regularly to cope with physical pain. In addition, scientists report that in India people also used hydrotherapy and exercises.

Are you familiar with the name Kung Fu? Probably you are but you know it as a martial art. In fact, it is a system of exercises, which were used in 1000 B.C. to correct body posture and breathing. Ancient Indians also use exercises to treat body posture and pain. Some pieces of evidence point they have treated arthritis with exercises.

physiotherapy as part of martial art

In Ancient Greece, physiotherapists used weight lifting and walking to cure febrile conditions.

Even Hippocrates used exercise as a method to improve the physical well being of his patients. Hector and Aristotle used hydrotherapy and oil massaging, so we can draw a conclusion they have naturalized the physiotherapy in 500 B.C.

Gymnastics appeared in Romans in 180 B.C. as a simple method for improving strength. If we look carefully, we will notice that ancient people know how powerful exercises could be and used them. They didn’t know what exercises can build more muscle mass. This knowledge came later, around 1723. French professor, Nicholas Andry, noticed that muscles in arms and legs become bigger when people exercise harder. The first name, which is linked to the term “Physiotherapy”, is Per Henrik Ling – he presented his Swedish movement. He spread his technique all over the world and in China it became part of one of their martial arts. Step by step the Swedish movement was transformed into Swedish massage. In addition, George H. Taylor presented in USA massage techniques, which were able to relieve pain. Per Henrik Ling was really proud of his technique and it has its own benefits but there was one big disadvantage – patients need gymnast to perform exercises. This means that the patient couldn’t exercise by himself. At the end of the XVIII century, Gustav Zander created exercise machines. This was extremely helpful and replaced the need for a gymnast during the physiotherapy.

At the beginning of the XIX century, different schools and education programmes offered physiotherapy education all over the world.

The first school was in New Zealand, the second one was the USA and during the First World War, physiotherapists were needed everywhere so schools were opened everywhere. An interesting fact was that people called physiotherapy “mechanotherapy” because they used Gustav Zander’s machine.

In 1920, many children had polio and physiotherapy was more than necessary. The Second World War followed and physiotherapy helped with many injured soldiers. Mary McMillan created “American Women’s Physical Therapeutic Association”, which is still functioning. In the middle of the XIX century, physiotherapy became so popular that they started to practice it outside the hospitals in special medical facilities.

Medicine is constantly developing, physiotherapy also. Today, the world is familiar with electrical stimulators, cardiopulmonary, hydrotherapy, and etc. Today physiotherapy providers, like the ones at PhysioActive are happy to have great acceptance all over the world. They help a lot of people with serious illnesses and injuries. It helps children, athletes and elder people to get their mobility back and to enjoy their lives and movements. Physiotherapy is essential for reaching the optimal stage of one sports activity. Without it, recovery after car incidents wouldn’t be so fast and easy.