National Physical Therapy Timeline
The father of medicine documented physical therapy
Hippocrates introduced the idea of manual manipulation for pain relief.
Physical therapy was officially recognized
Sweden’s National Board of Health and Welfare officially registered physical therapists.
Therapists got organized
Mary MacMillan, the first physical therapy aide, established the American Women’s Physical Therapeutic Association, which would later become today’s American Physical Therapy Association (APTA).
Specialized therapies emerged
After orthopedic manipulative therapy gained recognition, more and more highly specialized fields appeared, including cardiopulmonary physical therapy, skin therapy, and sports therapy.
A week became a month
National Physical Therapy Week, which was first observed in June of 1981, became National Physical Therapy Month.
Recommended Reading: Mary McMillan – The Mother of Physical Therapy (written by Mary Farrell and Marta M. Mobley
Physical Therapy provides you the opportunity to practice self-awareness. Physical Therapy assists in correcting your posture, reducing your aches and pains, and can help you recover more quickly from injury or surgery.
We asked our PTs to share their favorite exercises. Here are their responses!
The information below is for educational purposes only. They are not a substitute for physical therapy or medical care. Before you try these or any other exercise, please consult your physical therapist or physician.
What's your PT's favorite exercise?
My favorite is called Captain Morgan’s, because it works on balance, the core and the outer hip muscles all at the same time. I like that it is done in standing, as most of the time we are standing and walking. Strengthening the outer hips and core along with achieving better balance in this functional position help us to walk correctly avoiding the trunk leaning and helps us propel ourselves forward. We are all tracking our steps, so walking more effectively gives us more steps/day.
My favorite is the plank. Done correctly, they’re fun and a healthy mainstay because they essentially work every muscle group. Increasing strength and endurance of muscles that support your spine, pelvis and posture. I prescribe to an athletic form of Yoga that incorporates multiple planks as a foundational movement. I am grateful to bring CoYo (Core Yoga) to BEST PT.
Lateral Step Down
My favorite is called the lateral step down. A great exercise that targets almost everything. Works on your glutes, quads, arch strength, posture, and balance.
Scapula Rows & Retractions with a Squat
My favorite are scapula rows and retractions in a squat. It works multiple muscles groups at the same time helping me with shoulder blades, core, gluts and many other muscles groups strengthening simultaneously allowing for better posture!
Single Leg Stance (SLS)
A favorite of mine is the single leg stance (SLS). Crucial for balance and versatile in what it does, the SLS can be modified in many different ways to match the balance needs of the person and to strengthen the legs. The SLS is a key ingredient to gait, balance, and any standing functional movement.
My favorite is the modified dead-bug: Air bike with B shoulder flex with a 5 pound dumbbell. Works on abdominal strength, neutral spine and controlling overhead motions.
Squats are my favorite because it is an activity that is done daily. Whether getting out of bed, out of a chair, or out of your car – you are squatting. There are many variations to choose from. Whether it’s a back squat, front squat, box squat, goblet squats, or squat jumps (to name a few) I am able to modify this exercise and find what is most appropriate for my patients.
My favorite is the lunge. Lunges are a popular exercise because they can improve strength, flexibility, core, and balance all which are important for daily activities such as getting up and down from the floor and with walking and running. To achieve health benefits and reduce the risk of injury, it’s important to do all lunge variations with proper form. According to Harvard Health, the lunge, squat and plank in your daily workout can help improve posture.
Out of the many exercises I utilize for both myself and my patients, the bridge is one of my absolute favorites. It’s a great strength exercise for your gluteus maximus which helps with walking as well as more intense exercises like climbing stairs and hills. This exercise also helps all the core muscles and is especially good for anyone who sits for prolonged periods. It can be modified in different ways to match the strength of the person. The bridge is an exercise you can incorporate to build functional strength.
Scapular Retractions with a Resistance Band
A favorite is scapular retractions involving a resistance band. They are highly effective as warm-ups that can help focus you before beginning more rigorous exercises. They help to strengthen your middle and upper back muscles.
My favorite is the pallof press which targets your internal and external obliques, rectus abdominals, glutes, and lower back as one unit. It also trains your hips to stay in place and resist rotation. It is a great core stabilization exercise.
Disclaimer: The information in these videos or photos is intended for informational and educational purposes only and in no way should be taken as the provision or practice of physical therapy, medical or professional healthcare advice or services. The information should not be considered complete or exhaustive and should not be used for diagnostic or treatment purposes without consulting your physical therapist physician or other healthcare provider. The owners of this website accept no responsibility for the misuse of information contained within this website.
To read more about our therapists, check out 2021’s posting:
“Getting to know your physical therapist”
To read more about our therapists, check out 2020’s posting:
“Why I Became a Physical Therapist”