Monday, July 1, 2013

PT/OT invented rehab - not.

A scene from 
Walking with Cavemen.
Rehab is not new. It goes back -- not hundreds of years but back to the earliest humans. We’ve been "rehabbing" for hundreds of thousands of years. And what we did to recover, all those thousands of years ago, may have been more effective than most of what's been developed since. 

Consider the stroke-rehab ideas coming from recent neuroscience (and to a lesser degree, OT, PT and Speech therapy). This recent work has more in common with "rehab" tens of thousands of years ago, than it does with the decades between 1920 and 2000. What has this recent research and our deep ancestral rehabbing have in common? Researchers now call it "intensity." But back then they called it something else: Survival 
There's a lot of folks, therapists mostly, who think that rehab started in 1918 or so. They'll tell you that PT was developed in response to polio and WW I. They'll tell you that, in the US anyway, its champion was Mary McMillian, the first PT, credited with starting the first legitimate PT training school in the US. Some of them may even know that Pehr Henrik Ling developed and codified the concept that exercise=health in the 1800s. Ling went further, developing a standardized way of promoting rehabilitation and recovery. 
But what of “Rehab=Survival=The Latest Research"?

Imagine a survivor trying to rehab 150,000 years ago. Let's call our stroke survivor “Magch” and his mate-pair “Youngh.” It seems as if we probably had language even then. This is the way the conversation probably went…

Youngh: “How many times do I have to tell you to stop leaning to your good side?”

Magch: (leaning towards his "bad" side): “Yes honey.”

Is that rehab? Yes! If Magch did that movement tens of thousands of times until it felt natural, today's neuroscientists would call him a genius.

Our ancestors knew a thing or two about rehab. Read about it here.


Mike said...

Also cavemen caloric intake is comparatively low and they spend plenty of energy which boost neural stem cells.

Peter G Levine said...

A lot of folks might not see the connection, but lo caloric diet is great for the brain!

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