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Elizabeth Kenny

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Sister Elizabeth Kenny (20 September 1880 – 30 November 1952) was a self trained Australian bush nurse who developed a controversial new approach for treating victims of poliomyelitis. Her method, which she promoted internationally while working in Australia, Europe and the United States, differed from the then conventional medical practice which called for placing affected limbs in plaster casts. Instead Kenny applied hot compresses to affected parts of patients’ bodies followed by passive movement of those areas to reduce what she called “Spasm”. Kenny’s principles of muscle rehabilitation became the foundation of physical therapy, or physiotherapy.Her life story was told in the 1946 film Sister Kenny, portrayed by Rosalind Russell, who was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actress for her performance.