This course introduces the participant to the history of manual therapy within the physical therapy and chiropractic professions to provide a historical perspective of the current controversy that exists between the two professions. With this knowledge, physical therapists will more fully understand the external threat to our practice autonomy and appreciate the need to protect the physical therapy scope of practice from chiropractic infringement. The history and mission of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Manual Physical Therapists (AAOMPT) and the International Federation of Orthopaedic Manipulative Physical Therapists (IFOMPT) are discussed and provide the basis for the importance of individual involvement in these professional manual therapy organizations.


Timothy Flynn, PT, PhD, and Britt Smith, PT, DPT developed this course in a modular, web-based, self-paced format using the Moodle Learning Management System. The course is interactive and media-rich to help make the e-learning environment both engaging and convenient for the participant. Learning activities will focus on a series of online presentations and readings to guide participants through a history of manual therapy, the threat to physical therapy practice autonomy from the chiropractic profession, and the importance of a common manual therapy language and professional involvement within our physical therapy profession. This course, by design, is tutorial in nature with independent access to the medical literature, critical review of the literature, and self-oriented critical analysis of performance. Weekly online quizzes are used to reinforce course objectives and assess learning. Successful completion of this course requires a final passing grade of 80% on all learning activities.

Target Audience: Intermediate level course open to licensed physical therapists.

Credits: 15 contact hours from EIM Institute of Health Professions

EIM Program Applicability:  None

Prerequisites: None

Appropriate dress: This is an online course.


Upon completing this course, you’ll be able to:

  1. Demonstrate knowledge of the knowledge of the key time points prior to the 20th century which shape current manual therapy.
  2. Describe the contributions of different cultures to the evolution of health and medicine.
  3. Demonstrate knowledge of the key time points in the 19th and 20th century history of manual therapy.
  4. Recognize key leaders in the formation of the U.S. modern medical school.
  5. Describe parallels of education in modern medicine and physical therapy.
  6. Demonstrate knowledge of the history of chiropractic.
  7. Develop strategies to insure PT scope of practice is not infringed by chiropractic groups.
  8. Discuss how the language used in manual physical therapy lacks precision.
  9. Provide an example in the literature where lack of precision in language can lead to faulty conclusions.
  10. Define professionalism and the importance in physical therapist practice.
  11. Describe the relationship between the AAOMPT and IFOMPT.

And most importantly, be able to apply this stuff to your clinical practice next week!!!!


Required and supplementary articles are listed in each weekly module and can be downloaded from the Moodle Learning Management System.