History of Physical Therapy

  • 460 BCE


    The idea of manipulating the human in order to achieve pain reduction was introduced by Hippocrates in 460 B.C. That was where the idea of massaging started to evolve into physical therapy.
  • Registration

    In 1887 Sweden's board of Health and Welfare registered Physical Therapists officially.
  • Nurses

    In 1894 there were four nurses who created the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy in Britian.
  • Teaching

    In America, specifically Oregon, physical therapy was being taught in college for the first time.
  • Rehabilitation Therapy

    By this this time physical therapy was being performed regularly around the world to help the wounded during World War I. This is when physical therapy was known by the name, 'rehabilitation therapy'.
  • Polio

    In the 1920s during the polio outbreak a demand for physical therapy and physical therapist was ramped. Improvements were noted over several years due to the physical therapy that took place, reinforcing its importance.
  • Mary McMillan

    This was a big year for physical therapy because of an important research paper that was published in the United States. Mary McMillan, who was the first physical therapy aid, created the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA). Due to her contribution in the health field at that time she adopted the title, 'Mother of Physical Therapy'.
  • Hospitals

    Before the 1950s physical therapy was not performed outside of the hospital setting. In the later 1950s doctors that worked outside hospitals began practicing on their own.
  • Specialization

    This was the year manual therapy (physical therapy) was very popular and recognized in the medical field. Leading to the specialization in the field of physical therapy for the first time.
  • Specializations within Physical Therapy

    During the 1980s after physical therapy was already established as a separate branch of the medical field, further diversification took place within the specialty. Physical therapy now had many specializations within itself such as, sports therapy, cardiopulmonary, and neurological therapy.
  • The AAOMPT

    In 1991 The American Academy of Orthopedic Manual Physical Therapists was Freddy Kaltenborne, a physical therapist that moved from Norway.