Massage Therapy For Polio
On this date in 1941, an Australian nurse named Elizabeth Kenney obtained U.S. approval for a new polio treatment she devised using massage therapy. She believed that hot packs, massage and movement helped the limbs, nerves and muscles devastated by polio. It was discovered that casts, braces and other devices actually made polio worse, and even caused further damage. Polio, or poliomyelitis, is a virus that attacks the muscles and was, in its early days, called infantile paralysis. The diseases most famous victim, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, believed that Kenneys massage therapy and the waters at his Warm Springs, Ga., retreat would help his condition. Polio epidemics began in 1916. By the 1950s, it struck nearly 30,0000 people a year, before Dr. Jonas Salk developed a vaccine to combat the virus.
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