The History Of Physical Therapy



H and H

460 BC

Hippocrates and Hector used and studied water treatment and massage therapy on their patients.

The Society


Four British nurses started the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy which would soon be copied by other countries.

The Early Days


The School of Physiotherapy of the University of Otago in New Zealand and Reed College in Portland were created. These were the first universities that taught PT.

Reconstruction Aides


World War I had many injured soldiers who grew well from this treatment so the industry ballooned. The industry was then called “rehabilitation therapy” and the people employed to give it were called “reconstruction aides”. Basically they were nurses who had training in physical education and massage therapy.

The First Momma


A journal called “PT Review” starred an article on physical therapy. Another group called the “American Women’s Physical Therapeutic Association” (later changed to American Physical Therapy Association–APTA) was established by Mary McMillan, a physical therapy aide. She became known as “the mother of physical therapy”.

El Presidente


The Georgia Warm Springs Foundation suggested that physical therapy be used in the treatment of polio. U.S. President F.D.R was a polio victim and spent a lot of time in Warm Springs.

Growing Up


Massage, exercise and traction became common treatments in the field of physiotherapy.

In the Outside World


British Commonwealth countries began the practice of manipulative therapy for people with the affliction of spine and joint problems and pain. It was during this decade that PT began to be used outside hospitals. Schools, universities, nursing facilities and rehab centers also administered these treatments.

The Federation


Doctors began specializing in physical therapy. APTA formed an Orthopedic Section for those specializing in Orthopedics. A new organization called the “International Federation of Orthopedic Manipulative Therapy” popularized manual therapy.



Medical science began using computers in the field of physiotherapy. Objects such as electrical stimulators were created which greatly enhanced the treatment.

Going Into Rehab


The HANDTUTOR was created for hand, wrist and upper limb injury rehab.

Oops I Did It Again


Additional TUTOR physical therapy products called the ARMTUTOR, LEGTUTOR and 3DTUTOR were devised to allow patient rehabilitation for other parts of the body affected by stroke, brain/spinal cord injuries, Parkinson’s, CP, MS and other upper and lower limb malfunctions.