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The Very Beginning- Early history of Physical Therapy
Physical therapy's first documented account is from the old master of medicines- Hippocrates. In the year 460 BC, Hippocrates introduced the idea of manual manipulation for pain relief. Since then, physiotherapy has evolved from simple massage to a complex portfolio of therapies with many specialized applications.
In Ancient Greece circa 460 BC, Hector practiced a physiotherapy technique called “hydrotherapy” – which is Greek for water treatment. The Greeks, however, were not the only people practicing physical therapy; ancient writings from Persia, China and Egypt also describe the benefits of exercise, movement and massage for ailments.
For centuries, the field of physical therapy saw relatively little advancement. It wasn't until the nineteenth century that a cohesive group of physical therapy practitioners was formed.
Until the early 1950s, physical therapy was performed only in hospitals. It was only in the late 1950s that physical therapists started treating the patients beyond hospitals. In 1974, many doctors in the United States specialized in physical therapy. A separate division - the Orthopedic Section - was formed in the APTA, for the physical therapists who had specialized in Orthopedics.
The manual therapy was popularized worldwide in 1974, when the ‘International Federation of Orthopedic Manipulative Therapy’ was established. Further development in the field of physiotherapy was recorded in the 1980s, when the use of computers became prevalent in Medical Science. Various devices, such as electrical stimulators, were introduced for practising physiotherapy, which increased the effectiveness of the treatment.
During the next two decades, the profession of physical therapy increasingly diversified. Specializations, such as cardiopulmonary physical therapy, skin therapy, neurological therapy and sports therapy, were recognized by APTA , and the discipline continued to become more widely regarded.
Today, physiotherapy is used to treat a variety of ailments and conditions. Patients may seek treatment for back pain, osteoarthritis, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, bursitis, muscle strains, Guillain-Barre syndrome, balance conditions, asthma, fibromyalgia, wounds, burns, rheumatoid arthritis and a host of other conditions. The goals of physiotherapy depend on the patient’s unique needs, but common desired outcomes include a reduction in pain, increased range of motion, increased endurance and strength, restored independence, a reduction in stress and a greater quality of life for the patient.
As computers became more prevalent in the medical world, the field of physiotherapy evolved even further. The advent of the electronics age made possible by ever smaller components allowed for the introduction of new devices to use in therapy. Electrical stimulators as well as ultrasounds are examples of some of the devices that increased effectiveness in treatment. While the field of Orthopedics has continued to grow in effective treatments and therapy, another area of specialization has formed.The field of Sports Medicine has developed into an extremely effective means of treating injured sports players. With doctors and therapists treating sports participants whether they're school players or the stars of world class games, the techniques of physical therapy continue to find patients to heal.
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