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By comparison with medicine, nursing and psychology, histories of physiotherapy are few and far between.  Since the mid-1990s though, a number of new centenary publications have been produced, and these have been followed by the first batch of ‘secondary’ historical analyses.

If you know of other books published that aren’t mentioned here, please contact us here and we will update the gallery.

Although some are hard to find in print now, good quality 2nd hand copies and reprints can be found here.


Anderson, E. M. (1977). New Zealand Society of Physiotherapists: Golden Jubilee 1923-1973. Wellington: New Zealand Society of Physiotherapists.

Barclay, J. (1994). In good hands: The history of the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy 1894-1994. Oxford: Butterworth Heinemann.

Bentley, P., & Dunstan, D. (2006). The path to professionalism: Physiotherapy in Australia to the 1980s. Melbourne: Australian Physiotherapy Association.

Cleather, J. (1995). Head, heart and hands: The story of physiotherapy in Canada. Toronto: Canadian Physiotherapy Association.

Jacobsen, K. (2018). 100 år i bevægelse: Fysioterapi, fag og profession. København: Munksgaard.

Leijssenaar, B. (2011). Fysiotherapie in Nederland: 1965 – heden (Physical therapy in the Netherlands: 1965 – present).  Amsterdam: Koninklijk Nederlands Genootschap voor Fysiotherapie. (Available to read online here, including a summary chapter in English).

McMeeken, J. (2018). Science in our hands: Physiotherapy at the University of Melbourne, 1895–2010. Melbourne: University of Melbourne Press.

Murphy, W. (1995). Healing the generations: A history of physical therapy and the American Physical Therapy Association. Lyme, Connecticut: Greenwich Publishing.

Nicholls, D. A. (2017). The end of physiotherapy. London: Routledge.

Salvador, J. L. (2016). Historia de la fisioterapia hasta la primera guerra mundial: Avances científicos, universitarios y profesionales (con comentarios sobre la evolución posterior). Valencia: Railowsky. (Available from

Scrymgeour, J. (2000). Moving on: A history of the New Zealand Society of Physiotherapy Inc. 1973-1999 (1st ed.). Wellington: New Zealand Society of Physiotherapy Inc.

Shaw, L. (2013). In our hands: 100 years of the School of Physiotherapy in Otago 1913-2013. Dunedin: University of Otago.

Ottosson, A. (2005). Sjukgymnasten – vart tog han vägen?: En undersökning av sjukgymnastyrkets maskulinisering och avmaskulinisering 1813-1934. Göteborg: Göteborg University.

Terlouw, T. J. (2004). De opkomst en neergang van de Zander-Instituten rond 1900 in Nederland in de 19de eeuw: Over zeldzame amfibieen in een kikkerland. Rotterdam: Erasmus.

Wilson, H. C. (1995). Physiotherapists in war. Adelaide: Honor C. Wilson.

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