Fun Facts about Physical Therapy:

  • Physical therapy began as a female-only profession.

Begun in 1921 (in part in response to WWI), the first professional association was known as the American Women’s Physical Therapeutic Association. With 274 members, and its first president—Mary McMillan—physical therapy was known as a “women’s health” profession. However, in 1922, the name was changed to the American Physiotherapy Association, and men were allowed to join. Currently, the organization goes by the moniker of the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) and represents over 95,000 in the U.S. alone. You go, girls!

  •  Many of today’s physical therapy techniques are actually thousands of years old.

Hippocrates (yes, the Greek philosopher) and later Galen are believed to be among the first to advocate the use of massage and hydrotherapy as far back as 460 BC. It’s not all Greek to us, though; other ancient writings from Persia, China, and Egypt also describe the benefits of exercise, movement, and massage for ailments.

  • There are numerous types of physical therapy.

Lumping all physical therapists under one label is both inaccurate and unfair to them. Like any other form of healthcare, there are a number of specialties that address different types of injuries and various parts of the body. Examples include: orthopedic, acute care, post-operative care, cardiovascular and pulmonary rehab, lymphedema management, wound care, and neurologic rehabilitation.

  • Physical Therapy (PT)—otherwise known as physiotherapy.

    Is defined as the treatment of disease, injury, or deformity by physical methods including massage, heat treatment, as well as exercise. Instead of relying on drugs or surgery, this more natural form of self-healing is often used to help improve quality of life and range of motion in patients who have experienced a significant physical set-back. But there’s more to physical therapy than meets the eye!

  • Physical therapy can reduce treatment costs for patients.

According to the Health Services Research journal, patients with lower back pain who turned to physical therapy as a treatment first reported, on average, 72% fewer costs within the first year than those who did not. Another study by the University of Pittsburgh found that patients who received physical therapy and patients who underwent spinal surgery had the same end levels of recovery; but the physical therapy patients spent roughly half of their operated-on counterparts did.