The History of Physical Medicine Rehabilitation in the United States
In 1921, Franklin Delano Roosevelt (FDR) developed a high fever and lower extremity paralysis from a polio virus infection. His bout with polio necessitated his rehabilitation at Warm Springs, Georgia, where therapeutic swimming and sun exposure were believed to help him regain leg strength and physical endurance. An avid proponent of rehabilitation, FDR bought the property at Warm Springs and turned it into a comprehensive rehabilitative center to help others affected with polio regain independence in activities of daily living. The services offered there included heliotherapy, swimming, exercise, training in orthotic use, muscle re-education, massage, and occupational and recreational therapy. Warm Springs, Georgia, is believed by many historians to be the first facility to provide comprehensive rehabilitative care.
American Medical Association Journal of Ethics. HISTORY OF MEDICINE: History of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation and its Ethical Dimensions