Skip to main content
  1. Life
  2. Health & Fitness
  3. Fitness & Exercise

The History of Therapeutic Recreation

See also

The history of therapeutic recreation began with the ancient Greeks and Egyptians; however, it did not become a profession until the 1940s. Therapeutic recreation in the 1970s was known as hospital recreation. Hospital recreation was offered by the Red Cross to soldiers. After World War II, hospital recreation expanded from soldiers to psychiatric hospitals.

In 1948, the Hospital Recreation Section (HRS) of the American Recreation Society (ARS) was formed for the employees of military hospitals for the purpose of creating a recreation program. The National Association of Recreational Therapies (NART) was designed for the purpose of creating a tool to enhance treatment for mentally-challenged individuals in state schools and psychiatric hospitals. In 1952, the Recreation Therapy Section of the American Association for Health, Physical Education, and Recreation (AAH PER) was created for people who were interested in being physically active.

In the late 1950s, therapeutic recreation was considered a social activity. In 1984, the American Therapeutic Recreation Association (ATRA) was created for the purpose of therapeutic recreation for clinical practice. Therapeutic recreation then became a profession that required training at a university and certification by the National Council on Therapeutic Recreation.

Today’s recreational therapists help people restore their physical health. These therapists also help the client mentally, socially, emotionally, and socially as well as leisurely. Families of the clients are also involved in the treatment of people receiving recreational therapy. The benefits of recreational therapy include a reduction in illness or injury effects as well as restored function.

The Free Library

Allied Health Profession



  • ESPYS party
    Athletes and celebrities hit the red carpet at Body at the ESPYS party
    Today's Buzz
  • Healthy balance
    Keeping a healthy balance is so important for your own well-being
    15 Photos
  • Apollo
    NASA observes 45th anniversary of Apollo 11: One giant leap for mankind
    14 Photos
  • Unique jewelry
    Nothing catches the eye or completes and outfit like a great piece of jewelry
    12 Photos
  • Student Farmworker Alliance
    Student-Farmworker Alliance launches 'Boot the Braids' web site
    15 Photos
  • Exercise
    Find out why you should exercise to compliment your diet
    10 Photos

Related Videos:

  • Air Quality Index Logo
    <div class="video-info" data-id="268424120" data-param-name="playList" data-provider="5min" data-url=""></div>
  • Swan Lake
    <iframe width="420" height="315" src="//;allowfullscreen=true&amp;autoplay=1"></iframe>
  • Chemical in some medical devices impairs heart function, leaches out into body
    <div class="video-info" data-id="517351163" data-param-name="playList" data-provider="5min" data-url=""></div>