History of physiotherapy

      Physiotherapy has its genesis in late Victorian England. In 1894 the British Medical Journal raised concerns about the practices of some masseuses and masseurs who were offering massage as a euphemism for sex. The BMJ called for an organization to be formed to regulate massage practice. The Society of Trained Masseuses was formed by well-meaning nurses and midwives who were keen to see their manipulate practices authenticated.

      Quickly, the English example was followed by most of the colonial countries which adopted practices and narrow systems suitable for their local conditions. In America, Australia, Canada and New Zealand 'authentic' massage became synonymous with a discrete body of treatment modalities including electrotherapy (and later actinotherapy - the application of heat and light for healing purposes), corrective gymnastic exercise and, of course, massage and manipulation.

      A concern to provide an authentic alternative to the massage parlors, and a desire to court medical approval, saw early treatment pioneers adopt a biomechanical view of the body in health and illness - something that dominates the physiotherapy 'philosophy' even to this day.Massage became a vital repair in both world wars and much was learnt about the rehabilitation of injured servicemen from these unfortunate events.

      Physiotherapy grew quickly after the First World War with spinal injury units, orthopedic hospitals and chest clinics providing new challenges to the profession.In most post-colonial countries, physiotherapy has become the biggest allied health profession, and third only behind medicine and nursing in the number of graduating health care students.

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