History’s Greatest Physios

On the 125th anniversary year of the commencement of the Society of Trained Masseuses in the United Kingdom, one of the seminal moments in the history of the profession, the International Physiotherapy History Association (IPHA) called for nominations from the global physiotherapy and physical therapy community to help determine History’s Greatest Physios

We are delighted to announce that the winners (in birth order) are:

Pehr Henrik Ling
Rosalind Paget
Mary McMillan
Olive Guthrie Smith
Enid Graham





Berta Bobath
Freddie Kaltenborn
Geoffrey Maitland
Robin McKenzie
New Zealand
Jules Rothstein

Whilst individually brilliant, the ten physios together also represent snapshots of the profession’s developmental growth timeline – from it’s birth and early struggles, to becoming organised and recognised, to innovating and expanding, to refinement and standardisation, and finally, pursuit of quality through research.

The Process

Nominations for History’s Greatest Physios opened on 1st October 2019 and during the three week period 355 nominations were received for 48 remarkable contributors to the profession. As the recipient of the greatest number of nominations, Robin McKenzie won the People’s Choice Award.

The 48 nominations were shortlisted to 25 by the Project Committee, from which the Judging Panel chose Ten of History’s Greatest Physios.

Many outstanding individuals could not be accommodated in the Top Ten of History’s Greatest Physios.  The remaining Shortlisted Nominees were Louis Gifford, Maggie Nott, Ruth Fortune, Prue Galley, Signe Brunnstrom, Stanley Paris, Frederick Teepoo Hall, Jane Pyman, Valerie Taylor, Gubila Mji, Brian Mulligan, Mary Bromiley, Moira Van Oordt, Gregory Grieve and Gunn Helene Engelsrud.

More to Come

In 2020 we look forward to further exploring the individual contributions of the Ten of History’s Greatest Physios so that we can more fully appreciate their accomplishments.

Project partners

We would like to thank our project partners who are helping us raise awareness of the history of our profession:


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