Most of the physical agents employed in modern physiotherapy were used in ancient times. Early Greek and Roman writings refer to the beneficial effects of sun and water, and both exercise and massage were used by the ancient Chinese, Persians, Egyptians, and Greeks. The field of physiotherapy in modern times and modern physiotherapeutic equipment were established in Great Britain in the latter part of the 19th century. In the United States, physiotherapists treated thousands of patients in 1916 when a severe epidemic of poliomyelitis struck New York and New England.
After World War II physiotherapy became more widely used in the care of patients. Among the reasons for the great increase in demand for physiotherapy services were the impressive results obtained in treating those injured in battle and industry during World War II; the increase in chronic disability resulting from the larger number of older people in the population.
In treating a patient, the physiotherapist may employ heat treatments; massage; manipulation; ultrasound, which is ultrasonic waves that produce heat internally; and diathermy (application of electric current to generate heat in body tissues).
One of the most important tasks of the physiotherapist is remedial exercise in various forms. This is used to increase strength and endurance, to improve coordination, to improve functional movement for activities of daily living, and to increase and maintain range of motion. Gait (walking) training is practised with the assistance of canes, crutches, walkers, braces, and artificial limbs. Physiotherapists also use bandaging, strapping, and application and removal of splints and casts, and they instruct patients and their relatives in techniques of exercise and the use of prosthetic devices, such as artificial limbs, and orthotic, or bracing, devices, as well as modern physiotherapeutic equipment.
The modern physiotherapeutic equipment exploits the focused ultrasound. It was introduced into modern physiotherapeutic equipment by experimental neurosurgery research of brain functions and of transection of calloused body when studying behavioral reactions.
The use of this modern physiotherapeutic equipment for patients treatment is limited by the necessity to slice off a part of skull for the creation of acoustically transparent "window" to let through ultrasonic waves.
The modern physiotherapeutic equipment is used to heal Meniere's disease. The illness provokes infringements into internal ear and that leads to attacks of dizziness. High intensity ultrasonic waves are pointed on lateral semicircular duct of an ear for destruction of mitochondrial crista in a labyrinth. This method of treatment requires precise dosimetry as lateral semicircular duct passes an obverse nerve and destruction of this nerve leads to an obverse paralysis.
The Parkinson's disease (paralysis agitans) is impossible to be treat without modern physiotherapeutic equipment. Symptoms of this ailment are head and limbs twitching. It became possible to eliminate those symptoms by blocking some brain activities with the help of the asahi rubber products.
The modern surgeries demand minimum quantity of tools. The advantage of modern physiotherapeutic equipment in comparison with cryosurgical is that the end of scalpel does not stick to tissue and cut surfaces do not suffer additional traumas. The advantage of an ultrasonic scalpel in comparison with the laser surgery is that the surgeon feels resistance of tissue at cut and consequently destruction of a tissue is better supervised.
Ultrasonic tools have found a set of applications in clinics. The aspiration (removal) of tissue fragments. In this case ultrasound removes a cataract from a crystalline lens of an eye - phacoemulsification. The tip of the tool is made in the form of caval tubules, which are inserted into a small aperture of an eye. The tip vibrates, destroying a crystalline lens, and its small fragments are soaked up through a tubule. The similar technique can be used for reduction of volume of a firm rectal tumor with the help of asahi rubber product.