Andalusia, Alabama
1105 Western Bypass
Andalusia, AL 36420
(334) 222-5785

A Brief History of Physical Therapy December 17, 2018

Andalusia, Covington
A Brief History of Physical Therapy, Andalusia, Alabama

Physical therapy has been an invaluable resource for people dealing with chronic pain and disabilities, and the techniques used have been honed for well over two thousand years. The harmony of the human body has long been a goal of humanity, as you can see below.

Physical Therapy Throughout the Centuries

Ancient Greece

The first documented instances of physical therapy date back to ancient Greece. Around 460 BC, Hippocrates reported using manual manipulation to achieve pain relief for patients. Galenus and Hector are also thought to have used hydrotherapy, massage, and other techniques.

Though documents are sparse, ancient cultures in Persia, China, and Egypt are also thought to have used aspects of physical therapy to aid recovery and alleviate joint pain.

The 1800s

Per Henrik Ling, the “father of Swedish gymnastics,” was the first to found an organization for physical therapy—the Royal Central Institute of Gymnastics—in 1813. As practices developed throughout the century, Sweden’s National Board of Health and Welfare officially recognized physical therapists in their medical registry, setting the example for other countries. In Great Britain, four nurses founded the Charted Society of Physiotherapy in 1894, further establishing physical therapy as a medical practice.

The 1900s

physical therapyFollowing World War I, there was a high demand for physical therapy to help those that were injured in combat. Alongside the polio outbreak in the 1920s, physical therapy became a go-to treatment, and extensive research was conducted to develop new ways to treat patients.

Gradually, outpatient care practices developed following World War II, and the International Federation of Orthopedic Manipulative Therapy further spread the practice across the globe. The American Physical Therapy Association has since recognized a number of sub-fields, such as sports medicine and skin therapy, and physical therapy remains a crucial complementary treatment in recovery.


If you’re living with back pain, have suffered a work injury, or simply need pain relief in Covington County, AL, our team at Physical Therapy of Andalusia can help. We bring over 39 years of experience to our practice, and you can be confident a physical therapist will work closely with you to reach your goals and build a personalized plan. Call (334) 222-5785 to schedule a consultation and visit our website to learn more. You can also connect on Facebook for news and health updates.

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