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The waters of Bad Ragaz, Switzerland enjoy a long history. In 1240, a hunter of the local monastery discovered the spring close to the town of Pfäfers. The bath activities started soon afterwards by drilling bathtubs into the rocks of the narrow gorge. Because of the dangerous entry through the gorge, bath participants would soak for 6 - 7 days continuously except for a one night rest period. (Hemmerli 1453). Because of increasing interest and development of a health spa, in 1840 these thermal waters were directed to the town of Bad Ragaz. Participants sat in the waters for hours to find the cure for their physical and mental complaints.

In the first part of the 20th century, knowledge about the medical benefits of movements began to evolve. In 1930, therapists started using the waters to actively treat patients with peripheral lesions or decreased range of motion. Therapists would bind the patients on plinths in the water to provide resistance to their movements (Ott 1955). These movements were simple one-dimensional land-based movements, performed in water. In the early 1950's, in Wildbad, Germany was introduced a technique of putting patients in flotation rings and directing them to move toward and away from the therapist (Tum Suden 1955, 1972 and Knupfer 1956, 1958). Because of the manually applied resistance, the therapist specifically addressed the client problems. This Wildbader Method focused upon stabilizing and strengthening exercises.

From the perspectives of neurophysiology and exercise physiology the Wildbad Method did not satisfactory address the laws of specificity and precision. With the introduction of proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation techniques (Kabat 1952, 1953 and Knott 1968 ), therapists in Europe tried to include the three-dimensional movements into aquatic therapy (Davies 1967). It was the cooperation between Egger and McMillan, which led to a satisfactory concept for integrating the three dimensional, diagonal movements into The New Bad Ragaz Method with Rings (Zinn, 1975, and Egger 1990).

Copyright © Johan Lambeck / Urs Gamper
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