Kinesiotherapy (formerly Corrective Therapy) is an allied health profession that has been in existence since 1946. The roots of this profession began during World War II. With the increased survival of troops suffering from illness or injury, there was a great demand to return soldiers to active duty. Corrective physical reconditioning units were established to enhance this process.

Early pioneers in the emerging field of rehabilitation medicine were U.S. Surgeon General Major Norma T. Kirk and Dr. Howard Rusk. By 1946, they had overseen the training of physical reconditioning specialists for the armed forces with funding and support from the federal government. Employing exercise and mobility programs, these “Corrective Therapists” in the military provided a program of treatment for convalescing troops, increasing the demand for this specialty in the Armed Forces. The early leads in rehabilitation saw the need to organize and accredit these new specialists accordingly.

In 1953, the American Corrective Therapy Association (the predecessor of the AKTA), realized the need for credentialing process and formally adopted a certification examination to establish a consistent level of competency. The process of credentialing and establishing academic programs has evolved throughout history. In 1980, the clinical training requirements increased from 400 to 1,000 hours.

In 1982, the Council on Professional Standards for Kinesiotherapy (COPS-KT) was established. In 1986, mandatory continuing education requirements were set to maintain registration. In that same year, Professional Examination Service (PES), a national testing service was contracted to standardize and administer the national certification examination.

Following completion of a baccalaureate program in exercise science or equivalent, individuals who successfully pass the certification examination become Registered Kinesiotherapists (RKT). RKTs who meet continuing education requirements set by COPS-KT qualify for listing on its national registry.

The name Corrective Therapy was formally changed to Kinesiotherapy in 1987 and the national organization became known as the American Kinesiotherapy Association.

In the continuing effort to meet and maintain the highest standards for rehabilitation, Kinesiotherapy was formally recognized as an allied health profession by a national accrediting body, the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP), in April 1995. This attainment culminated many years of moving forward in health care excellence.

Adapted from “Kinesiotherapy – Then and Now”, by Warrant Smith, RKT, March 1994. Synopsis by Susan Raich, RKT and Lorie Hansen, MS, RKT