[Skip to Content]
[Skip to Content Landing]
September 4, 1943


Author Affiliations

Superintendent, St. Elizabeths Hospital; Professor of Psychiatry, George Washington University School of Medicine WASHINGTON, D. C.

JAMA. 1943;123(1):32-35. doi:10.1001/jama.1943.82840360002010

The interest of psychiatrists in physical therapy perhaps antedates that of any other medical specialty. This is particularly true of that form of physical therapy known as hydrotherapy; in hippocratic times baths were used for treating mental patients and during the Renaissance the noyade, a rather drastic form of hydrotherapy, was frequently employed. There is probably no mental hospital in the country today which does not have some hydrotherapeutic installation, and the continuous tub and the wet sheet pack have long been standard procedures in such hospitals. Perhaps too the earliest therapeutic uses of electricity were those in connection with psychiatric practice, even though the effects of the static spark and more recently of the faradic current in connection with the treatment of the neuroses were largely suggestive rather than primarily physical.

Physical therapy and psychiatry have labored under rather similar difficulties in that they are both newly recognized specialties