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Physical Therapy Through the Years

October is National Physical Therapy Month. Physical therapy is used to treat patients for different types of pain caused by injuries, trauma, or sickness. It is used as a natural form of healing. Physical therapy has been around for centuries, but have you ever wondered how it became what it is today?

The earliest recordings of physical therapy being used were thousands of years ago. They were found by historians in India, China, and Greece as written messages and images. In China, a form of physical therapy was used to help with body positioning and breathing. Later, it spread to Romans as a way to improve physical strength.

In the beginning, physical therapy techniques were taught in books. Around 1860, it was finally introduced to the United States and Europe through a technique called, Tunisia, which was based on martial arts. In 1864, machines were created to help with the physical therapy movements when assistance was needed. In Great Britain, the first group of physiotherapists was introduced in 1894 by four nurses.

By 1913, the first physiotherapy school was opened in New Zealand. Throughout the first World War, physical therapy techniques were used to treat injured soldiers, which helped to spread the techniques even further around the world. In 1921, Mary McMillan (known as the mother of physical therapy) began the “American Women's Physical Therapeutic Association.” Beginning in the early 1950, physical therapy was finally being utilized in hospitals and by late 1950 it was being used outside of hospitals, in the real world as well. By 1980, devices and tools were being used all around hospitals to help perform physical therapy on anyone in need.

Physical therapy is now used everywhere you look, in high schools for sports injuries, in hospitals and doctors' offices, and patients can even teach themselves some simple physical therapy exercises. Anyone can benefit from it, even children. The field was first recognized by women and today it still remains to be predominantly women at 67% female. Physical therapy has been around for thousands of years as a way to help people heal from pain. It has changed from being a small practice based on martial arts into a worldwide practice that is used daily by people of all ages. Physical therapy is very beneficial and can help everyone.

Advanced Home Health is a local, family-owned, home health and home care provider located in Western PA, servicing Allegheny, Beaver, Butler, Lawrence, and Washington Counties.

To learn more visit: or call 412-344-4100.


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