A Guide To Careers: Physical Therapy

This is an online guide to becoming a physical therapist. From highschool, to college, to careers and beyond!
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 3. History

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Join date : 2010-03-06

PostSubject: 3. History   Sun Mar 07, 2010 12:04 am

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What follows is a very brief history of how Physical Therapy was started:

Physical Therapy is a relatively new field compared with many of todays other career choices. The "discovery" of physical therapy has been accredited to the Polio outbreaks of the 1920's and '30's and the wars that followed such as the World Wars.

In the early 1900's when the polio outbreaks began, the only treatments available were isolation, bed rest, and splinting. When a person was diagnosed, they would be immediately quarantined, and immobilized by splints, and then required a prolonged period of bed rest. The prolonged bed rest, and the immobilization of the spine weakened the patients muscles. When they were released from quarantine, their muscles and flexibility would be in very poor condition. This led to the very first treatments by physical therapy.

The second event was World War I. Helping the soldiers during the war were 2 specialized divisions: The Division of Orthoscopic Surgery, and The Division of Physical Reconstruction. Eventually, this paved the way for research in the field on ways the 2 divisions could treat soldier's injuries.

This research showed that massage and hydrotherapy, and trained professionals were effective in treating many of the injuries. Soon after that, several colleges were chosen to start training professionals from "schools of physical training and allied therapies." The first universities to offer this training were the Boston School for Physical Education, the New Haven Normal School in Connecticut, the Normal School for Physical Education in Battle Creek, Michigan, Posse Normal in Boston, Massachusetts, the Teacher's Physical Education Program at Oberlin College, Ohio, and the Physical Education Department of Leland Stanford Junior University in California.

By 1919, 45 hospitals in the country were employing these trained "reconstruction aides" in physiotherapy programs. The programs were quite successful. Nearly half of all of the Americans wounded in the war (nearly 50,000) were treated at these 45 hospitals. The budding treatment program consisted of exercises, including corrective exercises, passive exercises, sports and games, massage, hydrotherapeutic modalities, and assistive and adaptive equipment.

Those exercises, and hospitals were the very beginnings of physical therapy as we know it today. While the profession continued to change, and evolve throughout the century, the principal remained the same.
Now, in the 21st century, we use more advanced techniques, evolved from those used to treat the veterans of World War I.

Next is a list of personality traits that will help you identify if this is a career for you.
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3. History
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