World Physiotherapy Day – celebrating the pioneers of the profession

Sep 8, 2021

Today marks World Physiotherapy day.  Every profession has those who inspire.

In celebration we took a look back at some of the pioneers of the profession.

Per Henrik Ling is known as the “Father of Swedish Gymnastics,” who founded the Royal Central Institute of Gymnastics (RCIG) in 1813 for massage, manipulation, and exercise. He was perhaps the first to notice how massage and physical exercises are critical for healing many chronic and acute forms of pain.

In response to what became known as “the Massage Scandals of 1894” The Chartered Society of Physiotherapy was established as the Society of Trained Masseuses by four nurses – Lucy Marianne Robinson, Rosalind Paget, Elizabeth Anne Manley and Margaret Dora Palmer with an emphasis on high academic standards and a medical model for massage training.[2]

Mildred Elson was the founding president (1953-1956) and a driving force in establishing the World Confederation of Physical Therapists. She believed strongly in the benefits of physiotherapists working together nationally and globally.

This video from World Physiotherapy shows a short introduction to the First International Congress of the World Confederation of Physical Therapy   where Mildred states that there are no barriers in language or communication but that a common bond and interest is shared in physical therapy for the patient.

The legacy of these people is felt every time we treat a patient. My pride comes from the impact I know physiotherapy can have on so many areas of people’s lives.

We mention this often but it is worth noting that we believe our job extends beyond relieving our clients of pain.

We believe and strive to help our clients be pain free, fully mobile, strong, healthy and happy, the best, or some might say, Optimal, version of themselves.


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