Physical Therapy: The Ancient Practice and Overlooked Modalities of Insurance Companies


It was the Ancient Greek Doctor and Founder of Western Medicine, Hippocrates, who first introduced Physical Therapy as a form of healing. But it wasn’t until the 1970’s that Western Medicine would formally allow Physical Therapists to have their own practices. Before then, most Physical Therapy was done in hospitals.

Alternative therapies these days are referred to as just about anything outside Western Medicine and hospitals, such as Acupuncture, Chinese Medicine, Ayurvedic Medicine, Naturopathic, Chiropractic. The list goes on. But lost somewhere between medicine and alterative is Physical Therapy: PT shouldn’t be overlooked, as it is one of the true and natural modalities there is.

A skilled Physical Therapist can examine, evaluate and treat patients from chronic illnesses to severe and mild injuries. Physical Therapists are known to reduce or eliminate pain. Benefits of PT can include recovering from falls, injuries and fractures; recovering from strokes; managing vascular conditions including diabetes; heart and lung problems; headaches and migraines; age related limitations including arthritis, facial nerve paresis, fibromyalgia, gastritis, insomnia; as well as ankle, knee, back, disc, shoulder, neck and TMJ pain. The list goes on and on.

Insurance companies will sometimes pay for ‘certain pre-approved Physical Therapy treatments’ providing a Medical Doctor writes a prescription. However these insurance companies have harsh and restricted approvals more often than not limiting the types of PT modalities that can help a patient. For example, most insurance covers manual Physical Therapy, massage and ultrasound therapies. These indeed are beneficial; yet there are many more Physical Therapy treatments that most insurance companies simply don’t cover.

One of those overlooked therapies is Auricular Therapy (also known as Ear Acupuncture) which was first developed in Asian cultures then further developed by the late French neurologist Dr. Paul Nogier. Auricular Therapy has now become a highly developed system of diagnosing and treating disharmonies anywhere in the body by expertly examining and stimulating the ear. There are over 300 documented points of the ear corresponding to different parts of the body. Specific points are stimulated with an electric pulse, laser, magnet or acupressure to provide relief from pain, addictive behaviors and a wide range of other conditions. It is simple, safe, effective, painless and not invasive. So far not one insurance company has yet to approve this form of treatment.

Another modality that the insurance companies are currently overlooking is Magnetic Therapy. A safe, non-invasive method of applying magnetic fields to the body accelerating the body’s natural healing process and providing natural pain relief. Such magnetic treatments can help with arthritis, contractures, muscular issues, bones and joints, asthma, fatigue and many more.

Cold Laser Therapy is another excellent modality in which the insurance companies have not yet accepted. Cold Laser Therapy (also known as LLLT – Low Level Laser Therapy) utilizes specific wavelengths of light to interact with tissues to accelerate healing. Evidently Hippocrates, once again way ahead of his time, recognized the benefits of light therapy through the power of the sun.

More and more patients however are paying out-of-pocket, preferring to at least try these additional PT therapies hoping to eclipse more challenging medical procedures in the long run. If insurance companies would research the cost of these therapies, versus the often-recommended surgeries that aren’t always necessary, they would save a fortune using these and many other Physical Therapy techniques.

Shmuel Tatz, PT, PhD has been combining traditional Western Physical Therapies with Eastern healing modalities for decades, while also providing personally devised simple home therapy exercises for each individual patient. One of the best benefits of Physical Therapy is that each patient works on his or her own body with personalized exercises, thereby being a significant part of their own healing process when in the hands of a great Physical Therapist.

by J. Baldwin