Remembrance Day in Canada is a day where we recognize Canada’s role in world events. Importantly we pay tribute to the soldiers who sacrificed their lives and well being for our future.
As Physiotherapists we reflect on the development of rehabilitation techniques and our profession and its necessity during and after the the world wars. World War One resulted in a large amount of wounded soldiers. The amount of soldiers who lost limbs resulted in surgeons recognizing it was not enough to leave those soldiers after their limbs had healed. It was necessary to stay involved and ensure the soldiers could function to the best of their ability and use their residual limbs as functionally as possible. The profession of Massage Therapists and their role in rehabilitation also has roots in the world wars. At that time the role of a “masseuse” was though to help stimulate nerves, muscles and circulation.
It was also recognized by the government that it was taxing on the system to have such a large number of people out of work. It was in Canada’s best interests to assist in functional training to allow for return to work. This is a key aspect of today’s rehabilitation purpose. To assist people in maintaining and returning to meaningful participation in life. This may be sports, maintenance of independence, return to work etc.
There are still Physiotherapists present on Canadian military bases and colleges to assist with injuries that occur during training and action. Physiotherapists, Occupational Therapists, and Massage Therapists play an important role in the rehabilitation of Canadian military personnel.
Bonfiglioli Stagni S, Tomba P, Viganò A, Zati A, Benedetti MG. The first world war drives rehabilitation toward the modern concepts of disability and participation. Eur J Phys Rehabil Med 2015 June;51(3):331-6.
Evans, S. Coming in the Front Door A History of Three Canadian Physiotherapists Through Two World Wars. Canadian Military History 2015 March;19(2):55-62.