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Dynamic Chiropractic – January 14, 2003, Vol. 21, Issue 02

A Moment of Silence for Vladimir Janda, Dr.Sc., MD

By Craig Liebenson, DC

Professor Vladimir Janda passed away November 25, 2002. His contributions to musculoskeletal health care are immeasurable. He changed our thinking - how to see beyond a muscle's strength or weakness - and to identify how the body compensates in often subtle ways to maintain stability.

His teaching was a labor of love for which he sacrificed everything. Even as a devastating postpolio syndrome took its hold on him, he refused to slow down. His stature and the resonance of his message remains clearer than ever.

Born in Prague in 1928, Dr. Janda was a sportsman who, despite battling polio in his teens, graduated from medical school at the Charles University in 1952, where he later chaired its hospital's Department of Rehabilitation Medicine. He became a full professor at the university in 1983, specializing in neurology and physical medicine and rehabilitation. He is considered the "father of Czech rehabilitation" in Prague.

A trailblazer for the International Federation of Manual Medicine and the International Federation of Manual Therapists, Dr. Janda was able to transmit his ideas equally well to scientists, medical physicians, physical therapists and chiropractors. His goal was to improve the quality of patient care, and he tirelessly taught in every corner of the world. His legacy is the legions of practitioners who owe their model of care to him.

Dr. Janda saw that muscles that tended toward spasticity in children with cerebral palsy, and those that tended toward paralysis in stroke, had a similar tendency to weaken or tighten in sedentary or injured individuals. His ability to identify muscle imbalances spurred worldwide research on the deep spinal stabilization system, propriosensory training and sacroiliac instability.

Muscle Function Testing, Dr. Janda's book, was translated into four languages in numerous editions. He also published nearly 200 papers, and served as an advisor to the World Health Organization (WHO), helping to prepare the third WHO report on rehabilitation in 1981 in Geneva.

Professor Janda is survived by his wife, Jana, and sons Vladimir and Jan.

Click here for previous articles by Craig Liebenson, DC.

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