Physiotherapy has a long history of helping patients recover from both minor and serious injuries. Offering those unfortunate enough to need it, a chance to once again move more freely or better take care of themselves, should they now have a disability. The different types of physiotherapy exercises, however, are almost as varied as it’s history.
The profession itself, dates all the way back to 406 BC in Ancient Greece and legendary medical practitioner Hippocrates (the one from the Hippocratic oath). Hippocrates is widely believed to be among the first known physiotherapists, as he is recorded as having recommended massage and hydrotherapy to several of his patients at the time.
Obviously, the practice of different types of physiotherapy exercises has come on a long way since Ancient Greece, along with humanity’s much greater understanding of the human body, so while you won’t find a physio to hack open your skull with a bone saw these days, you might be shocked to learn that some of the fundamentals remain the same.
We looked at a few ways physiotherapists have helped others to overcome mobility issues in the past, and the sorts of activities that history has shown to be greatly beneficial to those who need it.
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Among the different types of physiotherapy, manual therapy is one of the more common modes of physio currently employed by professionals, and involves the direct manipulation of body parts by the therapist. Quite literally a hands-on job.
The primary methods of manual therapy include manipulating, mobilising, and massaging body tissues. The idea behind this is that it can help the body parts to learn the motions through muscle memory and become accustomed to the movements making them easier to replicate independently of help in future.
These kinds of exercises have been found to relieve pain, improve the patients’ blood circulation, drain fluid more efficiently from different parts of the body, and promote overall relaxation.
Whilst this kind of therapy is used more to treat muscle, bone, and back pain, it can be used to help other parts of the body, even the mind.
Massage for example, can be used to treat lengthy anxiety spells, whilst this is not a specific physio problem, physiotherapy can be used to treat it.
Exercise and sustained movement
Many Physiotherapists also recommend improving your mobility though different types of physiotherapy exercises, to ensure your body gets back to how it was before whatever injury you sustained. Of course, this isn’t to say that you should be going full force by lifting weights and running a marathon, activities like these are only likely to cause you more injury. However, regular exercise that has you stretching and moving will help you recover a lot faster than sitting about doing nothing.
One of the different types of physiotherapy exercises you can easily partake in, is swimming. Swimming is a great way to test your physical abilities as the water naturally helps to support your body, allowing you stretch more freely and even float if you need to.
If swimming is too much then there also specific exercises that physios can recommend in shallow water, also known as aquatic therapy or hydrotherapy. These exercises are designed to let the water support your body whilst also giving your muscles something to push against, strengthening and supporting them in the process.
Of course, if it’s your legs or spine that are causing some of the problems then simple leg movements, walking with crutches, or just plain walking, are also great ways to get moving again.
On top of these more standard techniques, there are several no so easily defined methods that can be employed by physiotherapists. One such practice, that is the area of some debate, is acupuncture.
There is no clear view on when Acupuncture originated, only that it came from Asia and could be anywhere between 2,000 and 5,000 years old. However, there is even less consensus, on whether sticking needles into your body is medically beneficial in any way.
Several people swear that acupuncture helps relieve pain points in joints, so much so that it’s listed on the NHS website. Additionally, the practice is also widely regarded as a placebo meaning that it gives recipients the idea of feeling better.
Inversely, new technologies have also opened exciting avenues of physiotherapy. Many physios will use ultrasound to massage deep tissue in the body, and some have even looked at using virtual reality to treat their patients!
VR has been used in physiotherapy to tackle patient’s mental blocks, as well as their physical ailments. One start-up found that during simple activities, such as stacking blocks, patients were unable to reach out with their arms too far.
However, in VR, even though they were performing the same action, patients were able to reach out further with their arms. The difference was that when they were in VR they weren’t limited by what their eyes could see and when they could see their real-life arms, they genuinely didn’t believe they could reach that far.
Just like everything else, the different types of physiotherapy exercises continue to be improved upon with each passing year, with new technologies and a deeper understanding of the problems consistently pushing the boundaries. Are you the next revolutionary physio? Sing up to Mammalo and start spreading your techniques today!