1919-2007

An American Pioneer

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TedCorbitt1

Clinician-Teacher-Continuing Education

TedCorbitt2

Ted Corbitt:  Master Clinician & Healer

American Physical Therapy Firsts

Ted Corbitt was one of the first Physical Therapists in the United States to study, teach, and practice the following disciplines. He studied directly with each of the originators of these techniques.

  • Connective Tissue Massage (CTM), Bindegewebsmassage

  • PNF Stretching or Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation

  • Progressive Resistance Exercises (PRE)

  • Applied Kinesiology

Connective Tissue Massage (CTM), Bindegewebsmassage

  • He studied in West Germany in 1956 and 1962 at the Elizabeth Dicke Institute, the developers of CTM.

  • Ted Corbitt introduced CTM to Physical Therapy students at New York University and Columbia University in the 1950s.

  • He taught CTM at Columbia from the 1970 to 1980s.

PNF Stretching or Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation

  • Ted Corbitt studied with Margaret Knott in 1960 and Dorothy Voss in 1972, the originators of PNF.

  • He contributed writings to later editions of their book “Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation: Patterns and Techniques by Margaret Knott & Dorothy Voss

  • Ted Corbitt taught PNF at Columbia University from 1958 to 1981.

Progressive Resistance Exercises (PRE)

  • He studied the science of resistance exercise as developed by Thomas DeLorme who introduced the use of weight training to the field of rehabilitation in the late 1940s.

  • Ted Corbitt used this treatment for patients during the polio epidemic.

  • He taught PRE at Columbia University from 1954 to 1979.

  • He demonstrated the DeLorme (Elgin) Table and related equipment at Veterans Affairs and other hospitals in the Metropolitan New York area for over 30 years.

  • He was one of the first distance runners worldwide to use PRE to build muscle strength.

  • He helped to usher in the era of strength training becoming mainstream in sports.

Applied Kinesiology

He studied with George Goodheart, a chiropractor who originated Applied Kinesiology in 1964.
This technique is the science of muscle activation. It uses muscle testing methods to determine the need for and effectiveness of treatment. It integrates ideas from Eastern medicine such as meridians, acupressure and the concept of yin and yang. It looks at the body as an integrated whole.
Ted Corbitt taught and practiced this approach to rehabilitation.

Co-authored a book “Hydrotherapy”

In 1960 he co-authored the first modern comprehensive textbook on the therapeutic use of water. It was published by Frederick Ungar Publishing. A portion of the forward reads as follows: “Water is one of the most versatile and most readily available agents for use in the conquest of pain, the relief of tension, and the increase in circulation. Training of physical therapists in the use of hydrotherapy procedures has long been hampered by the lack of an adequate textbook. Two experienced practitioners in the field have now provided a clear, up-to-date presentation of hydrotherapy techniques.”

Other Health & Rehabilitation Accomplishments: Specialized in Polarity Therapy: Polarity therapy is a natural care system based upon the universal principles of energy; attraction, repulsion and neutrality. It addresses the interdependence of body, mind, and spirit. Ted Corbitt when working with patients would use a variety of treatments including exercise, nutrition, massage, and lifestyle discussion. Applied the Lulu Sweigard Approach to Posture Training: Lulu Sweigard developed an education method that stressed the inherent capacity of the nervous system to determine the most efficient neuromuscular coordination for each movement. Ted Corbitt studied with Lulu Sweigard and applied her teachings to his work in treating professional dancers.

City Hospital – Cleveland, Ohio
Staff Physical Therapist                                                                             1948 – 1949


International Center for the Disabled (ICD) – New York

Staff Physical Therapist1949 – 1950
Supervisor, Remedial Gymnasium1950 – 1956
Assistant Chief of Physical Therapy1956 – 1968
Chief & Director of Physical Therapy1968 - 1986
Assistant Director of Physical Therapy1986 - 1994

Ted Corbitt worked for 44 years at The International Center for the Disabled in New York.  He taught for over 25 years at Columbia University, and several years at New York University.  ICD had clinical education responsibilities for these other Greater New York area schools: Downstate Medical College, Hunter College, LaGuardia College, and Long Island University.  At age 88 he was still treating private patients three months before his passing.

The ICD Rehabilitation and Research Center was founded by Jeremiah Milbank in 1917.  Its primary purpose, then and now, is to prepare and equip handicapped persons for equal opportunity in the world of the able-bodied.  It was the first rehabilitation center in the United States.

Ted Corbitt was recognized as a master clinician and teacher of Physical Therapy. He was considered an expert in Connective Tissue Massage, Deep Muscle Therapy, Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation (PNF) Techniques, and Progressive Resistance Exercises.

He studied with the following legends in field health and rehabilitation:

He studied Connective Tissue Massage from the originator of this technique Elizabeth Dicke during two trips to West Germany in 1956 and 1962.

He studied PNF stretching or Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation with Margaret Knott in 1960 at Boston University and with Dorothy Voss in 1972 at Northwestern University.

He studied with Josephine Rathbone a leader in the field of corrective (adaptive) physical education and the medical application of exercise for rehabilitation, which became the field of Physical Therapy.

He studied Neurophysiology: Rood Techniques in 1965 at the University of North Carolina.  This technique was develop by Margaret Rood.

He studied with Lulu Sweigard a teacher of body balance and efficient movement.  She developed an education method that stressed the inherent capacity of the nervous system to determine the most efficient neuromuscular coordination for each movement.

He studied with Marge Kapsos an originator of cross-fiber friction massage which is a full body massage designed to release toxins, spasms and joint pain.

Other areas of specialization:

  • Applied Kinesiology application of use in Physical Therapy
  • Use of the Rocking Chair as a therapeutic tool
  • Stretching muscles and other soft tissues to increase flexibility
  • Guthrie-Smith Apparatus
  • The Lulu Sweigart approach to Posture Training
  • Polarity Therapy (conglomeration of several treatments: exercise, nutrition, massage, etc.)

He was a pioneer in the 1950s and 1960s for his study and use of acupuncture in patient care.

Ted Corbitt was one of the first distance runners ever to use weight training.  He started to use Progressive Resistance Exercises to build muscle strength while at the University of Cincinnati (1938 – 1942).  He used pulley weights while in college.  His real drive to use resistance exercises came from studies in becoming a physical therapist.

In 1960, Ted Corbitt co-authored a book “Hydrotherapy” a practical manual on the therapeutic use of water.  This was the first modern comprehensive textbook on this important branch of physical therapy.

He was a 60 year member of the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA).  In 1947 when he joined, Ted Corbitt was one of the first African Americans to enter this profession

Ted Corbitt: Master Teacher of Physical Therapy

Teaching Experience:

1. Physical Therapy in Amputation:

  1. International Center for the Disabled (ICD)

2. Connective Tissue Massage (C.T.M):

  1. New York University “Saturday at the Square” program
  2. 40 – hour course at Ithaca College, 1974
  3. Long Island University, 1982
  4. Introduced C.T.M. to P.T. students at NYU and Columbia
  5. Taught at Columbia from 1970 into 1980s.
  6. ICD for therapist in the New York area
  7. Nassau County Medical Center
  8. Demonstrated C.T.M. at several hospitals in the Metropolitan New York City area.

3. Deep Muscle Therapy:

  1. Two-day courses at the International Center for the Disabled.

4. PNF: Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation Techniques

  1.  Assisted American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) workshops for courses given at the Downstate Medical Center.
  2. Demonstrated PNF Techniques at several hospitals in the metropolitan area.
  3. Presented workshops for the New Jersey APTA conference, and for courses presented at the International Center for the Disabled.
  4. Taught PNF Techniques for Columbia University Physical Therapy Department 1958 – 1981.

5. Sports Injuries:

  1. Presented a seminar for therapist and the public at the International Center for the Disabled.

6. Stretching:

  1. Presented a half-day presentation for the New York Orthopedic Study Group, at Lenox Hill Hospital. 1986

7. Connected Tissue Massage & Deep Muscle Therapy:

  1. Conducted practicums at ICD for Physical Therapy students from Columbia University.

8. PRE: Progressive Resistance Exercise

  1. Columbia University 1954 - 1979
  2. Demonstrate PRE equipment for Hunter College students for several years.
  3. Gave demonstrations on the DeLorme (Elgin) Table and related equipment at several Veterans Affairs and other hospitals in the Metropolitan New York area, over the past 30 years.
  4. Taught Progressive Resistive Exercise at Touro College, Long Island, NY – 1986 and 1987.

Ted Corbitt's Physical Therapy Students:
1955 - 1980
Columbia University
New York University
Hunter College
Foreign Exchange Students

Student Listing Link

Continuing Education

Ted Corbitt’s Physical Therapy Career

EducationYearDegree
University of Cincinnati1938 – 1942Physical & Health Education B.S. in Ed
University of Cincinnati1943 – 1944Chemistry
New York University1947 – 1948Physical Therapy (P.T. PT Certificate
New York University1949 – 1950Physical Therapy M.A.

Professional Organizations

American Physical Therapy Association – 1947 – 2007 (60 years)
American Registry of Physical Therapists – 1948
Registered Physical Therapist, New York State – 1951
Served on committees with New York Chapter of the American Physical Therapy Association in
the early 1950’s

Ted Corbitt: Post Graduate Continuing Education Courses

  1. Relaxation – Columbia University
  2. Basic Movement; Sensory Awareness; Neurosis & Psychosis – New School
  3. Mechanics; Prosthetics; Vocabulary Building; Writing – New York University
  4. Connective Tissue Massage – University of Connecticut, 1957
  5. Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation – Boston University, 1960 with Margaret Knott
  6. Foundation for Therapeutic Exercise – Oklahoma University, 1960
  7. Compression Massage – Philadelphia, 1960
  8. Lower Extremity Prosthetics – New York University, 1962
  9. Connective Tissue Massage – Elizabeth Dicke Institute, Uberlingen/Bodensee, West Germany,

1956, 1962

  1. Neurophysiology: Rood Techniques – University of North Carolina, 1965
  2. Neurological Basis of Motor Activity – Virginia Commonwealth University, 1970
  3. Joint Manipulation
  1. John Manell, MD – Extremities and Trunk – St. Vincent’s Hospital, 1972
  2. Dr. Sany Burkhart – Booth Memorial Hospital
  3. Maitland Technique – New York University
  4. Cyriax Method – New York University
  1. Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation – Northwestern University, 1972 with Dorothy Voss
  2. Electromyography – New York Chapter American Physical Therapy Association, 1972
  3. Shiatsu – Asian Institute – New York, 1970s
  4. Polarity Therapy – New York, 1974-1975
  5. New York Orthopedic Study Group Series – Various Topics, Brooklyn & New York, 1974-1986
  6. Sports Medicine – several workshops, New York – 1970s and 1980s
  7. Joint Mobilization – Mennell, Ola Grinsby, McKenzie, Edegelow, New York, 1970s & 1980s
  8. Jin Shin Jyutus (several courses) – New York, 1980s
  9. Myofascial Release – Barnes, Valley Forge, PA. 1984
  10. Applied Kinesiology, 100 Hour Course – New York, 1985-1986
  11. Applied Kinesiology – Weekend Seminars by Dr. George Goodheart, New York, 1985
  12. Alexander Technique – Debora Kaplan, P.T. – New York, 1986
  13. Principles of Manual Medicine – Michigan State University, 1986
  14. Static Posture Evaluation – Judith Aston, Denver and Washington, DC, 1987
  15. Electrotherapy – Kahn, Staten Island, 1987
  16. Manual Lymph Drainage- 3 courses – University of Connecticut, 1988
  17. Treating Injuries to Dancers Series – Lenox Hill Hospital, New York, 1988
  18. Introduction to Mirrowing – Jokel – New York, 1988
  19. Looyen Work Certification Program, Sausalito, CA, 1991
  20. Kinesio Taping Association, 2000 & 2001
  21. Neurology – Barry Wyke, MD., APTA, NYU, New York
  22. McKenzie Technique – Cincinnati
  23. Posture – Florence Kendall, APTA, NYU, New York
  24. Cardiac Rehabilitation – Long Island University, Brooklyn
  25. Modified Squat – Presbyterian Medical Center, New York
  26. Pharmacology for Physical Therapy – Lenox Hill Hospital, New York
  27. Wound Healing – Brooklyn
  28. Muscle Energy – Lenox Hill Hospital, New York
  29. Wellness in the Aged – Bronx, New York
  30. Stretching – APTA Conference, New York
  31. Tempero – Mandibular Joint Treatments, New York
  32. Florence Kendall Posture
  33. Circle of Life Techniques
  34. Vibrational Medicine
  35. Touch for Health – New York