"It is critically important that joint manipulation be taught in physical therapy schools. Some physical therapy schools omit manipulative training, and this fact is taken by some courts of law as justification to prevent physical therapists from delivering manipulative treatment. Over the past century there have been repeated attempts from both within and outside the physical therapy profession, to limit the practice of joint manipulation. I have battled against these efforts for decades, and continue to support and promote the skilled delivery of manipulative treatment by physical therapists."
A giant has died the likes of which we will see no more. He was the right man at the right time. Physical Therapy had not yet become a profession when in the 1950’s Freddy Kaltenborn then of Norway and later of Germany, began his interest in mastering joint manipulation. He knew it to be effective and set out to understand why. He reached out to Drs. James Cyriax, James Mennell and Alan Stoddard in the medical field and to Michael McConnaill in joint physiology. In this interdisciplinary manner he quite possibly became the first clinical scientist in physical therapy.
In the 1960’s he gave generously of his time to me, Stanley V. Paris, and later to Olaf Evjenth, Robin McKenzie, Brian Mulligan and many more who made their mark in spinal and extremity care. He was one of the three consultants along with Geoffrey Maitland and Gregory Grieve who helped inaugurate IFOMPT in Montreal, 1974. In 1992, he helped found AAOMPT (American Academy of Orthopaedic Manipulative Physical Therapists) by calling together the interested parties, who are now known as the Founding Fellows.
Freddy continued through lectures and training teachers to promote his work and to strive for further understanding of underlying principles to strengthen the rules he developed. For Freddy Kaltenborn, competency and standards were vital to the success of our profession. He championed the creation of international educational standards and certification in manipulative therapy and served as the first chairperson of IFOMPT’s Standards Committee, Tireless into his nineties, he continued to be involved and concerned over professional issues.
His partner for most of his life was Traudi Baldauf who survives Freddy and who is also a physical therapist. She assisted him in his teachings, moderated his forceful character, tended to his health and nurtured his soul.
He published books but not articles, clinical papers but not research. He was the consummate clinician who through his writings, teachings and mentoring will live on forever in the history and development of manual and manipulative therapy.
Submitted by Stanley V. Paris PT., PhD., HonLLD (Otago)