National Physical Therapy Month

Did you know that October is Physical Therapy Awareness month? Movement is a vital aspect of survival and health for the human body and physical therapy is most often prescribed as part of the whole body healing from cancer, illness, or other injuries that have happened during your stint with life. Physical Therapists and Physical Therapist Assistants help the patient work towards whole body health by helping them to be as active as they can and overcome any physical obstacles in their way.

Physical therapy can occur in a myriad of ways, styles and in different locations. When people think of “physical therapy,” they often think of body exercises like arm activities, leg activities, those activities designed to boost heart strength and health, and help with relearning to walk and function as one did prior to their illness or injury. But there are also physical therapy activities designed to help with sexual dysfunction and issues that arise to our reproductive areas!

Some of these physical therapy exercises that we address at Reclaiming Intimacy deal with Kegel exercises, pelvic floor therapies, Prostate massage therapy, Dilator therapy, incontinence therapies and more. While some of these therapies do require a professional to get you started, many of these therapies can be begun in the privacy of your own home on your own accord.

The Timeline of National Physical Therapy Month

  • 460 BC- The father of medicine documents physical therapy. Hippocrates introduced the idea of manual body manipulation for pain relief.
  • 1887- Physical therapy is officially recognized. First in Sweden, the National Board of Health and Welfare officially registered physical therapists as they did doctors.
  • 1921- Therapists organize together. The first physical therapy aide, Mary MacMillan, establishes the American Women’s Physical Therapeutic Association. That association is now today’s American Physical Therapy Association, or APTA.
  • 1970s- Specialized therapies emerge. After orthopedic manipulative therapy gained recognition, more highly specialized fields appeared. These included cardiopulmonary physical therapy, skin therapy, and sports therapy.
  • 1992- A week became a month. The National Physical Therapy Week, which was first observed in 1981, became National Physical Therapy Month.

How to Observe National Physical Therapy Month

To observe National Physical Therapy month, many people choose to take personal action. The top three things that many do are:

  • Stretch yourself! Finds new ways that you can practice self-care and broaden your own horizons. If you have always been intimidated by Yoga, or learning new massage techniques, or wanted to try a dance class but just never did- do it now! Now is the time! Let this month be your month to step out of your comfort zone and get that body moving again.
  • Reach out to your own or support other local physical therapists. Many of you reading this probably do not have a physical therapist, or may be freshly starting your physical therapy. If you do have, or know, a physical therapist, reach out to them and ask about their job, their training, and their favorite aspects of being a physical therapist. THANK them for the difference they work to make in so many patients’ lives.
  • Participate in your community. Consider hosting your own National Physical Therapy awareness month event, volunteer at a pro-bono therapy clinic, or serve the community by getting your body moving and clean up local parks or nature preserves. Do anything that gets you up and moving and recognizes physical therapists in your community!

What are the Top Benefits of Massage Therapy

These are the top five interesting and possible unknown facts about massage therapy, which is a type of massage offered in physical therapy settings.

  1. Massage makes you happy! Massage helps to release natural endorphins, which are your body’s natural pain killers that also give you a general sense of well-being.
  2. Regular massage can increase your quality and length of life. For instance, Bob Hope lived to be 100 years old, and enjoyed himself a three-hour massage every day of the week!
  3. Massage can help athletes reach their peak performance. Sports massage is geared towards those people who are involved in regular sports activities. This type of massage helps to prevent and treat injuries athletes get.
  4. It is more than simple pampering. In addition to handling the aches and pains of life, massage therapy has also proven effective in treating stress, anxiety, depression, and has been shown to improve post-traumatic stress disorder.
  5. There is a massage style and type for just about every need or issue. While the gentle Swedish techniques for massage may be the most well-known in the United States, there are many different sub-types of massage to help combat different modalities. These can include hot stone therapy, deep tissue massage (which focuses on deep tissue and connective tissues) and knotted body massage.

Why is National Physical Therapy Month Important?

There are three main reasons that National Physical Therapy Month is so important to patient care and overall education. They are:

  • It allows patients’ the opportunity to practice self-awareness. The more conscious we are of our own physical habits, the more likely it is that we will take the steps necessary to changes those other steps that may be leading up to chronic aches, pains, or injuries. An example would be noticing that you sit with your body slumped while working, you can work towards correcting your posture, which will help you to avoid muscles aches and injury from the repeated behaviors.
  • It helps all to understand the impact of physical therapy. Physical therapy can make it possible to recover more quickly from injuries, surgeries, and other issues, while helping to reduce the need for narcotic or heavy pain medication and other drugs. Physical therapy allows for the induction of emotional healing and ease, as well.
  • It reminds us to focus on our selfcare. It does not matter if you are recovering from cancer, a recent surgery, or an injury- you can still benefit from spending this entire month taking care of yourself. Physical therapy time is often done on a one-on-one basis with your therapist, thusly giving you some “me” time before and after your appointments. Many patients use this “me time” to do something for or with themselves. Some dive into a new book, others might take an outdoor hike, while many might grab a coffee and some peaceful quiet in their vehicle.

Resources Used:

Reclaiming Intimacy

National Today


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