A few months ago a new international group was formed by people interested in the history of physiotherapy.
The International Physiotherapy History Association (IPHA) is a collection of clinicians, policy-makers, researchers, students and teachers, who are interested in bringing physiotherapy history alive.
The group will be working over the next few years to promote the history of physiotherapy as a resource for present-day practice, professional decision-making, management and leadership, teaching, and regulation; to celebrate our past; challenge the profession to learn from its history; and support the safe archiving for future generations.
But why now?
Well perhaps the group has been formed because physiotherapists are now much more interconnected than before. People know more about physiotherapy in different countries and the historical similarities and differences between physiotherapy in North America, Germany, Korea and Colombia, for example, are becoming clearer.
And when people propose new ways of working, we’re often reminded that history repeats itself and that there’s really nothing new out there, only the context in which our practices used to operate. So perhaps there are lessons from the past that can be utilised to help us decide what to do in the present?
More than this though, history is a powerful tool for critical thinking. It is an analytical vehicle par excellence. There’s a lot more interest in the way physiotherapy is preparing for the future, so naturally people are asking how we got here. Not surprisingly, the IPHA is replete with CPN members, with a number of us forming part of the Executive.
History is no longer the preserve of dowdy academics working in dusty libraries, but is a vibrant, radical, political and powerful tool for understanding yourself as a professional and your profession as a whole.
Better still, membership of the IPHA is entirely free.
If you’d like to be added to the contact list and find out more about the Association, email firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll be in touch soon.