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Gesnerus. 2013;70(1):68-85.

[Scoliotic young girls and orthopaedics in Belle Epoque: the urban surge of mecanotherapy in Lausanne and Geneva].

[Article in French]

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Institut universitaire d'histoire de la médecine et de la santé publique, Lausanne.


In Belle Epoque towns marked by the industrial and medical surge, a new technical therapy, called mechanotherapy, emerged, stemming from Swedish medical gymnastics and auxiliary to orthopaedics. Aiming mostly at treating scoliosis, this therapy by movement attracted a sizeable female clientele to these towns, because of the hygienic and social conceptions feeding collective imagination linked to the bodies of scoliotic young girls. Taking the French-speaking Swiss towns of Lausanne and Geneva as examples, the article first seeks to describe the emergence of mechanotherapy as a medical and urban phenomenon. It then addresses the role played by scoliosis in this orthopaedic practice, and examines the clientele attracted to the towns, among which well-born young girls seem to be predominant.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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