The Physical Culture Movement and modern Massage

Posted on November 20, 2018 by Movement Health in ,
Swedish gymnasts learn massage at the Royal Central Institute of Gymnastics in Stockholm.

When I studied Remedial Massage we were told the origins of the profession were to be found in the Swedish Gymnastics system created by Pehr Henrik Ling (1776-1839) (learn more here). Following this we learnt a Massage style called Swedish Massage and the associated techniques Effleurage, Petrissage, Tapotment, Friction and Vibration. Upon hearing these terms …read more

Joseph Pilates and the Physical Culture Movement

Posted on October 31, 2018 by Movement Health in ,
Joseph Pilates teaching the teaser exercise to a group of dancers outdoors

Pilates gave us his wonderful method of physical and mental conditioning, however some of his ideas were informed by the times and the Physical Culture Movement represents those times. The Physical Culture Movement followed a timeline that started in Europe, moved on to England and expanded in to the United States; Pilates life followed a …read more

Physiologists v Pharmacologists

Posted on August 31, 2018 by Movement Health in ,
Pehr Henrik Ling creator of Swedish Gymnastics

During the late 1800’s and early 1900’s the Swedish Gymnasts full of pride for their system began questioning the prevailing health practises of the time. Thus a rivalry with Physicians practising Pharmacological medicine devloped that was called the, ‘Physiologists v Pharmacologists’. Students of Swedish Gymnastics (learn more about Swedish Gymnastics here) at the Royal Central …read more

The Strongman Physical Culturists

Posted on July 29, 2018 by Movement Health in ,
Eugen Sandow one of the Strongman Physical Culturists posing with a dumbbell

The Strongman Physical Culturists (learn more about the Physical Culture Movement here) emerged around the mid-1800’s (Watson et al. 2005); they blended the systematic approach of the European Gymnasts with traditional Viking and Highland events such as the shot-put and are credited with inventing the Barbell. The Strongman athletes were touring entertainers who performed shows …read more

A group of men stretching on the Swedish bars at the Royal Central Institute of Gymnastics

The European Gymnast Physical Culturists played a substantial role in the beginnings of Exercise Science and Physical Education. Swedish Gymnastics and the German Turnen organisations were a foundation from which the scientific discipline of Sport and Exercise Science and the Physical Education profession emerged. In 1813 with government support Pehr Henrik Ling founder of Swedish …read more

Swedish Gymnastics: A brief history

Posted on May 31, 2018 by Movement Health in ,
A group of women do a Swedish Gymnastics class at the Royal Central Institute of Gymnastics

Swedish Gymnastics (also known as the Swedish Movement Cure) was founded in the early 1800’s by poet, student of theology and European languages Pehr Henrik Ling (1776-1839). There were two experiences that brought Ling to the world of Physical Culture. Firstly, as a response to Sweden losing territory to Russia during the Napoleonic Wars, Ling …read more

German Turnen Gymnastics: A brief history

Posted on April 27, 2018 by Movement Health in ,
Postage stamp showing a Turnplatz commemorating Friedrich Jahn founder of the German Turnen Gymnastics movement

Founded by Prussian educator Friedrich Ludwig Jahn (1778-1852) in the early 1800’s, German Turnen Gymnastics began as groups of boys from a Berlin grammar school undertaking outdoor physical education under Jahn’s supervision. These classes consisted of Gymnastics plus traditional games (running, swimming, wrestling, climbing, lifting, jumping, fencing) combined with progressive German political philosophy via patriotic …read more

Turnen men expressing their Physical Culture by doing gymnastics and swinging clubs in a Turnverein gymnasium

One of the most interesting parts of the Physical Culture Movement (learn more about the Movement here) is use of the term ‘Culture’. Using the term seems to expand the movement beyond just moving/strengthening bodies and in to subject areas such as society, customs and the creative arts. The largest cultural influence on the beginnings …read more

An image of child on pommel horse taken from Guts Muths book Gymnastics for Youth

The Physical Culture Movement was a health and fitness movement that began in Europe during the 19th century, spreading to England and the United States it continued till the mid-20th century. The Movement’s ideology was driven by multiple factors and it had an eclectic group of contributors. The Physical Culture Movements legacy can still be …read more

Dr Bess Mensendieck

Posted on December 8, 2017 by Movement Health in ,
dr bess mensendieck teaches women about the bones of the lower limbs

The Physical Culture movement was an exciting time; emerging in Germany, England and the United States during the 19th century and continuing through to the mid-20th century it was a true ‘melting-pot’ of health philosophy. The movement had an eclectic group of contributors and was the foundation for many modern athletic and health science disciplines. …read more

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