We all need physical therapy (PT), or soon will.

Basically, physical therapy improves our ability to move by treating bones, nerves, joints, cartilage, ligaments and muscles, not with surgery or medicines but with targeted exercise, including joint mobilization, massage, heat, cold, electromagnetic waves, water, vibration and other physical forms.

From Wikipedia: “The physical therapist professional curriculum includes content in the clinical sciences (e.g., content about the cardiovascular, pulmonary, endocrine, metabolic, gastrointestinal, genitourinary, integumentary, musculoskeletal, and neuromuscular systems and the medical and surgical conditions frequently seen by physical therapists). Current training is specifically aimed to enable physical therapists to appropriately recognize and refer non-musculoskeletal diagnoses that may present similarly to those caused by systems not appropriate for physical therapy intervention, which has resulted in direct access to physical therapists in many states.”

The Greeks were probably the first physical therapists back in about 500 BC, with some famous practitioners including Hippocrates and Galen.

The first physical therapy textbook was for the Swedish gymnastics’ programs published in 1813. The Swedes certified physical therapists from about 1887. Soon the English followed the Swedes, with the Americans joining in at Reed College in Portland, Oregon, in 1914.

The polio epidemic of 1916 lead to orthopedic surgery on children with the subsequent obvious demand for physical therapy.

World War I accelerated the movement toward mainstream recognition for physical therapy as an important part of overall medical care. Obvious advancement came with the establishment of a full-fledged physical therapy training program at Walter Reed Army Hospital at the start of the war.

Academic journals began in 1921, and by 1924 the American Physical Therapy Association was founded. President Roosevelt’s mostly successful recovery from adult onset polio, popularized the discipline, with Warm Springs, Georgia, becoming a major physical therapy center.

Once the polio epidemic was conquered and polio vaccines became widely available, physical therapy moved out of hospitals and into the outpatient clinic by the 1960s.

An international federation was formed in 1974. The American states have their own training, testing, certification and licensing procedures, but most are very similar.

There are approximately 230,000 physical therapists in the United States with a median yearly income of $90,000. South Carolina has approximately 3,100 therapists with a median income of $85,000 per year.

Nationally, physical therapists are concentrated in New England, California, Colorado, Illinois and Michigan. State licensure began in the 1960s and 1970s. Current South Carolina regulations were amended in 1998. Our state is also served by the S.C. Physical Therapy Association. An important PT training program at Francis Marion University is on the doorstep.

Lowes Physical Therapy is the oldest private PT practice in Florence, continuing since 1982 by the Lowe brothers, David and Phillip, and expanded over the years to several regional locations. Phillip was elected to the S.C. House in 2007 and is now on the prestigious Ways and Means Committee and other important House committees. The Lowe brothers are also successful real estate developers.

Before I forget, let me introduce you to the Bonny Lass, Nancy. Her adoring and eagle- eyed business manager husband claims we are related. Bonny Lass was well educated at the University of South Carolina in Columbia, where she was the head of her class.

Subsequent work experience and graduate training in New Zealand, Salt Lake City, Pittsburgh and Charlotte has taken her to the top of her field as a licensed practitioner and doctor of physical therapy. Fearless Bonny Lass took a chance about four years ago on a small, struggling physical therapy shop in Lake City and grew it into a success story with an active gym attached.

Now she is doing the same right here in Florence, albeit no gym. She has attracted the greatest number of non-hospital licensed physical therapists in our region with a well-trained support staff, all with friendly, personal and expert treatment plans and programs.

She has developed dance support programs and worked on school injury prevention and screening. And now she stands on the verge of a new, third shop.

We all respond well to her personally, her quality staff and their personal friendliness, attention and success; and, oh, that adoring business manager fellow, too.

Get healthy. Get in motion. Go pro.

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Dr. Stephen Imbeau and his wife, Shirley, have been in Florence for more than 30 years and raised their three children here. He and Dr. Joseph Moyer started the Allergy Center about 21 years ago, and it is now one of the largest in South Carolina. Contact him at citizencolumnist@florencenews.com.