In Recog­ni­tion of World Phys­io­ther­apy Day

The Star (St. Lucia) - - LOCAL -

Septem­ber 8 was ob­served world­wide as Phys­io­ther­apy Day and the Phys­io­ther­apy As­so­ci­a­tion of Saint Lu­cia is seek­ing to bring aware­ness here to this science. Phys­io­ther­apy is a science evolved from ev­i­dence-based re­search, and the di­ag­no­sis and treat­ment of in­juries or dis­eases by us­ing mostly phys­i­cal means. Its ori­gin and history are quite in­trigu­ing.

Could Hip­pocrates, a physi­cian who prac­ticed el­e­ments of phys­io­ther­apy like man­ual ther­apy and mas­sage as early as 460BC, have been one of the first phys­io­ther­a­pists?

El­e­ments of phys­io­ther­apy con­tin­ued to progress in Europe dur­ing the 1500s–1700s by us­ing ex­er­cise to treat mus­cle and bone dis­or­ders and dis­abil­i­ties. By the 1800s, ex­er­cise and mus­cle reed­u­ca­tion were uti­lized for a va­ri­ety of orthopaedic dis­eases and in­juries.

Phys­io­ther­apy has been de­vel­op­ing since then to be­come what it is to­day. How­ever, the ear­li­est for­mal doc­u­mented ori­gins of phys­io­ther­apy as a pro­fes­sional group date back to Per Hen­rik Ling, ‘Fa­ther of Swedish Gym­nas­tics’, who founded the Royal Cen­tral In­sti­tute of Gym­nas­tics (RCIG) in 1813 for mas­sage, ma­nip­u­la­tion, and ex­er­cise. Other coun­tries soon fol­lowed.

In 1894 four nurses in Great Bri­tain formed the Char­tered So­ci­ety of Phys­io­ther­apy. The School of Phys­io­ther­apy at the Univer­sity of Otago in New Zealand was es­tab­lished in 1913. In the United States in 1914 Reed Col­lege in Port­land, Ore­gon grad­u­ated “re­con­struc­tion aides.” In 1918 the term “Re­con­struc­tion Aide” was used to re­fer to in­di­vid­u­als prac­tic­ing phys­io­ther­apy.

It was through the po­lio epi­demic in 1916, with the need for mus­cle test­ing and mus­cle re-ed­u­ca­tion to re­store func­tion, that phys­io­ther­apy grew dra­mat­i­cally. Dur­ing World War I the Army rec­og­nized the need to re­ha­bil­i­tate sol­diers in­jured in bat­tle. “Re­con­struc­tion Aide” train­ing pro­grammes were de­vel­oped to re­spond to the need for med­i­cal work­ers with ex­per­tise in re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion. It was here that the pro­fes­sion of phys­io­ther­apy, as it was later termed, be­gan.

To­day’s phys­io­ther­apy pro­fes­sion boasts con­fi­dent, ac­com­plished, pro­fes­sional prac­ti­tion­ers on the cut­ting edge of health care. Ex­ten­sive ed­u­ca­tion, clin­i­cal ex­per­tise, and a “hands on” ap­proach give phys­io­ther­a­pists a unique, in­di­vid­u­al­ized man­ner.

Saint Lu­cian phys­io­ther­a­pists made their own history when on 30th May, 2015 the Phys­io­ther­apy As­so­ci­a­tion of Saint Lu­cia Inc. be­came an of­fi­cial mem­ber of the World Con­fed­er­a­tion for Phys­i­cal Ther­apy (WCPT).

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