In spite of its original name, the "Swiss Ball" was invented in Italy in 1963 as a toy called the Gymnastik by an engineer Aquilino Cosani. Using the Bobath method of stroke/neuro-developmental rehabilitation, Dr. Elseth Kong and Mary Quinton, an English physical therapist developed pediatric neurological rehab programs using the Swiss Ball. Dr. Susan Klein-Vogelbach (a Swiss Physical Therapist) incorporated its use into orthopaedic and other medical areas, postural re-education and back rehabilitation.
In the 1980's American physical therapists visiting European clinics learned of its use and brought this knowledge back to North America; hence, the name "Swiss Ball". During the early 1990s, the exercise ball moved from the rehabilitation setting into the athletic arena and now is prominent in the fitness world. The fitness industry being as it is, is always on the look out for new and innovative ways to keep its clientele interested and began stocking its gyms with balls, started a new "trend" in core strengthening.
These days balls are used by physical therapists, athletic trainers, coaches and other health professionals for exercising, sitting, stretching, specific sports training, and much more.
For information on Physical Therapy go to the Greatlakes Physiotherapy Centre's Website.