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In 1890, at the age of 16, Frederick Erdman severely strained his back.  For 19 years he was an invalid.  His parents took him to several of the leading clinics of his day, but his condition did not improve.

Eventually Frederick, a keen observer with a scientific mind, started to experiment with a variety of stimuli -- including heat and cold -- applied to the muscles of his back.  He eventually discovered a combination that restored him to full health.

Frederick continued experimenting with treatments and finally developed the therapy which bears his name.  He went on to live a full and active life, until his death at age 95.


William J. Erdman, M.D., was inspired by his father's years of successfully using the Erdman therapy.  He went into medicine and carried on the work of the Frederick Erdman Association, serving as its medical director until his death in 1989.

In addition to these duties, Dr. Erdman had a distinguished career as chairman of the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine for 33 years.  For ten of those years he was medical director of the hospital of the University of Pennsylvania.  He was honored by many professional organizations, and the renovated and expanded outpatient center of the Department of Rehabilitation Medicine was recently named in his honor.

Frank Frank H. Erdman, another son of founder Frederick Erdman, was President and later President Emeritus of the Frederick Erdman Association until his passing in 2013.  Mr. Erdman, in addition to carrying on the work of the Association, pioneered the Erdman Indicator, a breakthrough noninvasive instrument used to classify patients as to their need for warm or cold therapy.

Frank JR Frank H. Erdman Jr., son of Frank H. Erdman, is the current president of the Frederick Erdman Association.  Mr. Erdman is currently working on a project to document the life and work of Frederick Erdman in order to bring his breakthrough advances to a 21st century audience.