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 … [Read more...] about Are you interested in the history of physiotherapy?
David Armstrong described in his brilliant book A New History of Identity how exercise and specifically posture had been utilised as tools of social engineering in the late 19th century (Armstrong 2002). When we think of a person's attitude today, we often think of it as being about their response to authority, but it was originally a term used to describe a child's standing posture. Towards the end of the 1800s governments throughout Europe and North America grew increasingly concerned about the fitness and strength of its citizens and began to think about ways to discipline children before they became slovenly. Military-style drilling and massed social calisthenics were encouraged, … [Read more...] about Reading personality into people’s movements
Last week, we had the first meeting of executive of the new International Physiotherapy History Association (IPHA), and one of the items on the agenda was a proposal to host a Focused Symposium on physiotherapy history at next year's WCPT Congress in Geneva. We've got some fabulous ideas for topics, including possible talks on the history of non-medical prescribing, the roots of manual therapy, the German gymnastic movement in 1920s and 30s,and the history of needling therapies. Thinking about a theme that ties them together has been an interesting process. Physiotherapy's longstanding affinity with biomedicine might well win out, but an equally powerful discourse running through … [Read more...] about Women’s work – the handmade history of physiotherapy
I'm preparing for a keynote lecture at the APA Conference in Sydney in a couple of weeks time, looking at aged care as a 'bellwether' of the physiotherapy profession at large. (Spoiler alert if you're going) I'm going to argue that if we can work out how to provide meaningful physiotherapy to older adults, we'll fix a lot of the problems now besetting the rest of the profession (abstract here). Part of the joy of this kind of work is the opportunity it gives you to think 'otherwise' about seemingly obvious, taken-for-granted things, like ageing as a natural biological process, or our inalienable role as the leaders of rehabilitation for the elderly and disabled. Testing why we think … [Read more...] about An accident waiting to happen
At WCPT in Cape Town there was an incredible turn-out for a 7am Monday morning meeting of people interested in the history of physical therapy. The upshot of the meeting was that we agreed that we needed to form an international physical therapy history group. And so, we've started asking who would be interested in coming along for the ride. So far we've got 37 'members' across more than a dozen countries covering all five continents. The intention is to form a network - not dissimilar to the CPN - but perhaps functioning a little differently. The focus will probably be on raising the profile of history in and around the profession; establishing an interactive archive of … [Read more...] about Are you interested in the history of physical therapy?
Not so long ago, physiotherapists had a very close, perhaps paternalistic, relationship with the medical profession. But it seems now that our quest for professional autonomy is pushing us further away from physicians and surgeons. There are few in the profession, I think, that would dispute the obvious benefits of greater independence for physiotherapists, but this is a critical ideas blog, so I'm going to do just that. Physiotherapy has, for much of its history, been wedded to medicine. Indeed, the modern physiotherapy profession only survived and later prospered because its founders made subservience to medicine a condition of entry. Memberhip of the Society of Trained Masseuses … [Read more...] about Doctor knows best
There's been a recurring theme in many of my blogposts this year, and a Facebook post by Adam Meakins on Wednesday summed it up beautifully. In the post (here), Adam was responding to an earlier post by Brent Brookbush promoting a new educational video of a muscle tissue release technique, to which Adam made this comment; The continued illusion or delusion of therapists thinking they can find 'nodules' 'trigger points' 'knots' 'taut bands' 'scar tissue' ''gristly bits' 'snotty shit' 'gammy areas' still astounds me in 2016... these are just soft tissue sore spots of an unknown origin... Meakins (2015) http://bjsm.bmj.com/content/49/6/348.full.pdf The issue that I've been grappling with … [Read more...] about Sore spots