Manchester and the history of Physiotherapy

The team at Total Physio are proud to provide Manchester and the North West with professional and personal physiotherapy services. A city built on the pioneering work of industry, science and medical professionals, Manchester was home to Europe’s largest industrial park, the first electronic computer, the first splitting of the atom resulting in the use of radiotherapy, and the world’s first test-tube baby to name a few.

Greater Manchester now, like many cities across the world, offers a wide range of specialist medical centres and practices, including physiotherapy. To find out more about where it began, take a look at our guide on Manchester and the history of Physiotherapy.

A Brief History of Physiotherapy

The practice of Physiotherapy is believed to date back as far as 450BC in Ancient Rome and Greece when early physicians were developing manual therapy techniques to increase patients range of motion and treat physical malaises. The Greek physician Hippocrates championed massage and hydrotherapy, and Herodicus was later credited with creating ‘The Art of Gymnastics’, documenting the benefits of exercise when treating physical ailments and the study of muscles and ligaments. In the Eastern world, similar practices were explored in India and China, including an exercise known as Cong Fu, which explored body positioning and breathing routines.

However, Physiotherapy as a professional medical group was first documented in 1813 when Per Henrik Ling founded the Royal Swedish Central Institute of Gymnastics for manipulation and exercise and by 1877 physiotherapists were granted official registration by Sweden’s National Board of Health and Welfare.

Other countries soon followed, in Britain in 1894, four nurses formed The Society of Trained Masseuses and physiotherapy became a more common practice with a focus on improving the physical ability of injured soldiers. The role was predominantly occupied by women who had previous experience in physical education and could see up to 30 to 40 patients a day at the British Military hospitals. Physio techniques included massages, hydrotherapy, the use of ironization and heat, and electrotherapy. Physiotherapists also began treating children with physical disabilities caused by the outbreak of polio.

The Chartered Society of Physiotherapy was later established in 1944, and physiotherapists were often employed under the instruction of doctors and the development of exercise, massage and traction techniques continued to progress. In the late 1950s, physiotherapists began to establish outpatient clinics and independent rehabilitation centres as the practice became more frequently acknowledged as an independent, professional medical field.

Manchester School of Physiotherapy

When it comes to scientific and medical advancement, Manchester has consistently been at the forefront of development. The city should also be acknowledged for its contribution to Physiotherapy too.

The history of the Manchester School of Physiotherapy dates back to 1911, and it was the first UK physiotherapy school to establish a 3-year honours degree in the profession. In 2004, it also became the last NHS school of physiotherapy to transition to a Higher Education establishment after officially becoming part of Manchester Metropolitan University.

Believed to have been officially formed in 1991, Manchester School of Physiotherapy was formed by uniting both the Manchester Royal Infirmary and Withington Hospital Schools of Physiotherapy after a previous affiliation with the Victoria University of Manchester. The school now offers undergraduate and postgraduate degrees as well as National Vocational Qualifications.

Total Physiotherapy Manchester

At Total Physio, we continue to explore the advantages and possibilities of physiotherapy by identifying physical problems and developing specialised treatment plans for all.

With established physio clinics across Greater Manchester, including Bolton, Middleton, Oldham, Prestwich, Sale, Stockport and Trafford Park Clinic, we’ve been providing expert physiotherapy services for over 25 years.   

Total Physiotherapy treats individuals of all ages and backgrounds, including self-referred patients and GP referred patients as well as working with private health insurance companies and independent employers. Our Manchester-based clinics offer services ranging from Musculoskeletal Physiotherapy, Sports Massage and Occupational physiotherapy. Our alternative services such as podiatry, chiropody, acupuncture and psychological services as well as yoga, pilates and personal gym training.

All of our physiotherapists are professional and officially registered with The Chartered Society of Physiotherapists, The Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC), and Physio First. Our team also includes other highly qualified health care professionals such as massages therapists, acupuncturists, and strength and conditioning coaches.

Our range of services and expert knowledge means our expert physios can establish an effective treatment plan that’s tailored to you and your needs. Click here to book an initial diagnosis appointment at one of our Greater Manchester Total Physio clinics today.