In Recognition of World Physiotherapy Day
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).