Health Professions

Occupational and Physical Therapy

The fields of occupational and physical therapy, since their inception in the early years of the 20th century, have been largely perceived as female occupations. Numerically, women continue to comprise well over half of the occupational and physical therapists in the United States.

Both fields have loose origins dating back to ancient Egypt and China, where there is evidence of the use of diversion and recreation in treating the sick and the importance of physical training in the promotion of health. The interest in providing rehabilitation therapy to wounded soldiers during the First World War was the primary stimulus to the establishment of formal training programs in occupational and physical therapy. The important role these professions could play in the successful treatment of all patients was quickly recognized; occupational and physical therapy programs began appearing in hospitals throughout the United States even before the end of the War.

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