What are the origins of Physiotherapy?

Physiotherapy was first documented in Greek history when the use of massage was proposed and also Hydrotherapy (exercises in water). However, the current profession started to evolve in the early 19th century in Sweden who used massage, manipulation and exercise . The first formalised Physiotherapy society was set up by some nurses in UK who recognized the need for an independent profession. Schools opening in the UK, New Zealand and the USA in the early 20th century.

Physiotherapy really gained recognition and became established after the First World War, treating injured soldiers with remedial exercises and also using exercise to help treat disabled children suffering from Polio. It has worked alongside the medical profession and therefore its benefit to patients has been recognized since this time.

The profession developed over the 20th century, manipulative techniques started to be used in the 1950’s and then with the progression of technology and computers in the 1980’s there was a shift to use of electrotherapy, ultrasound, muscle stimulation and other devices. The profession then took a shift back towards manual therapy , constantly looking at research to lead and support its evolution. It has influences from many spheres of manual therapy. It is constantly evolving in keeping with the latest evidence in medical science.