It is almost 2010.  Lets take a step back and look at what all has been accomplished to get us here.

Quick history of the physical therapy profession:

460 B.C. = Hippocrates and other physician figures advocated massage, hydrotherapy and manual therapy.

1813 = Royal Central Institute of Gymnastics exposed manipulation, exercise and massage showing earliest documentation of actual physical therapy.

1894 =  Nurses in England formed the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy.

Early 1900’s = Formal rehabilitation started in hospital settings.

1913 = School of Physiotherapy formed at the University of Otago in New Zealand.

1914 = “Reconstruction Aides” were formed at Reed College in the United States (Portland, Oregon).

1921 = Mary McMillan, the “Mother of Physical Therapy” organized the American Women’s Physical Therapeutic Association.  This later changed in 1930s to the Physical Therapy Association (now APTA).  National body was accredited and education standards were established for university physical therapy programs.

1921 = The PT Review published first physical therapy research in the U.S.A. (research started)

1924 = Physical therapy was solicited as a treatment approach for polio (due to large outbreak) with the existence of Georgia Warm Springs Foundation.  Treatment to physical damage from soldiers and polio became main problems treated for next 20-30 years.

1940s = Exercise, massage and traction were main treatment approaches.

1950s = Manipulative techniques were being used but still mainly in Britain.  First known evidence to combine exercise and manipulation.

Late 1950s to 1960s = Physical therapists moved outside of hospital settings into rehabilitation centers, outpatient orthopedic clinics, public schools and skilled nursing facilities.

1974 = Orthopedic Section of the APTA and International Federation of Orthopedic Manipulative Therapy (which now is named International Federation of Orthopedic Manipulative PHYSICAL Therapy) were formed.  Manual therapy has then progressed exponentially.

1980s = Technology was introduced with electrical stimulation devices, ultrasound machines, iontophoresis and isokinetic units.

Over the past two decades, the profession has developed into a doctorate program, includes over 75,000 members in the APTA, contains seven specialist certifications from Pediatrics to Geriatrics, pushed research and evidenced-based practice into dozens of peer-reviewed journals and given the current practitioners the opportunity to excel professionally.

A long way from reconstruction aides.

Will WE meet the Vision?

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