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What is the history of Physical Therapy ?


In ancient
Greece, around 460 B.C, Hippocrates, was supposed to have first practiced Physical Therapy. Hippocrates is also known as the father of modern medicine. He used to prescribe massage as a means to alleviate pain and to treat many ailments, that the Greek people faced  at that time. Hector was another physician, of those times, who thought water could be used to massage, soothe and help to heal people. Today this is called hydrotherapy.

Modern physical therapy began at around 1894, when in England, the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy began. They were established by medical nurses and care givers, who had practiced this form of treatment on their patients,  and now officially opened their first society. There were nurses and care givers, in other parts of the world who were like them, and had used physical therapy, along with traditional medicine.  They took cue from them and started their own societies and associations, and officially started spreading the message. Soon physical therapy was getting known, and gaining popularity around the world.

In America, in 1921, a physical therapy association was established and published its first journal. It was founded by nurses, who formed a body and elected, one of them called Mary McMillan, to lead it. It later changed its name to American Physical Therapy Association or its acronym APTA, as it is known today. It was the pioneer of physical therapy in America and currently has more than 76,000 members.

In the decade of 1920, Poliomyelitis, a serious form of muscular atrophy and deformity, reared its head in America. It took decades to bring it under control, and physical therapy played an important part in it, to rehabilitate patients, and help them lead as much a  normal life as possible. During and after that, Physical Therapy has gained more understanding and respect, even from traditional medicine, and has become an integral part of many treatments.




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