Dr. Zander’s Victorian-Era Exercise Machines

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Swedish physician Dr. Gustav Zander  helped pioneer mechanotherapy, or the promotion of health and healing through exercise apparatus. Incorporating machinery allowed for less exertion, opening up therapeutic movement to those with injuries, deformities, and those just not in good enough shape. Zander constructed several devices which enabled constant and regular movement of individual parts of the human body, as well as certain devices that replaced the manual massage. He started his first institute in Stockholm in 1865 and gained international fame by exhibiting his devices at the International Exhibitions in Brussels and Philadelphia in 1876. By the time he released his book, Dr. G. Zander’s medico-mechanische Gymnastik in 1892, the Zander Institutes had gone worldwide and his machines were available in health spas across the globe.

Find the full book of Dr. Zander’s medico-mechanische Gymnastik  on The Smithsonian

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