As the weather cools in the fall, it’s tempting to be less physically active. October is the perfect time to focus on healthy self-care because we’re celebrating National Physical Therapy Month! Surprise — physical therapy is not just for injury recovery. Its benefits also include injury and illness prevention.
Prestigious medical institutions also recognize the power of physical therapy in treating mental and emotional disorders. Let’s make this month all about taking care of ourselves. (We know the weather will take care of itself.)
National Physical Therapy Month - History
A week became a month
National Physical Therapy Week, which was first observed in June of 1981, became National Physical Therapy Month.
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.
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).
Physical therapy was officially recognized
Sweden’s National Board of Health and Welfare officially registered physical therapists.
The father of medicine documented physical therapy
Hippocrates introduced the idea of manual manipulation for pain relief.
How to Observe National Physical Therapy Month
1. Stretch yourself by trying something new
Find new ways to practice self-care. Whether you’ve felt intimidated by yoga, you’ve always wanted to learn massage techniques, or you’re finally ready to sign up for those dance classes, this month may be the perfect time to push yourself just a little out of your comfort zone.
2. Participate in your community
You could host an NPTM event, volunteer at a pro bono clinic, or serve the community by cleaning up a park. It’s all about making a positive difference.
3. Appreciate physical therapists
It's likely that most of us don’t think about physical therapists — until we need one. If you happen to know anyone who works in this profession, make a point of asking them about their work, which requires not just specialized knowledge and training, but patience, consistency, and dedication as well. Let’s thank them for the difference they make in so many lives.
5 Surprising Benefits Of Massage Therapy
1. Regular massage can increase your quality (and length) of life
Bob Hope, who lived to be 100, had a three-hour massage every day.
2. Massage makes you happy!
Massage helps to release endorphins, your body’s natural painkillers that also provide an overall sense of well-being.
3. It's more than just pampering
In addition to treating aches and pains, massage therapy can also be useful in treating stress and anxiety, including post-traumatic stress disorder.
4. Massage helps athletes reach peak performance
Sports massage is geared toward people involved in sports activities to help prevent as well as treat injuries.
5. There's a massage style to suit many needs
While the gentle Swedish technique may be the most well-known type of massage in the U.S., there are many different massage modalities in common use, including deep tissue massage, which targets deep muscles and connective tissue.
Why National Physical Therapy Month is Important
A. It gives us the opportunity to practice self-awareness
The more we pay conscious attention to our physical habits, the more likely it is that we’ll take steps to change the ones that may lead to chronic aches and even injuries. For example, if you notice you tend to slump while working at your computer, you can start to correct your posture, which can help prevent aching muscles.
B. It helps us to understand the impact of physical therapy
Physical therapy can make it possible to recover more quickly and completely from serious injury or major surgery, while reducing the need for pain medication and other drugs. And with the additional effects of relaxation and pain relief, emotional ease becomes part of the equation as well.
C. It reminds us to focus on self-care
Whether or not you’re currently recovering from an accident or recent surgery, you can benefit from spending this month really taking care of yourself. You may be surprised to find that indulging in a little “me time” is good for you mentally and emotionally, as well as physically.