The European Society for Musculoskeletal Shockwave Therapy (ESMST) was established on 12 September 1997 in Vienna, Austria, following the DGOT Conference. The objective of the Society was to promote research and development of shockwave used in support and movement devices in Europe. Representatives from eight European countries: Germany, Great Britain, Italy, Turkey, Austria, Switzerland, the Slovak Republic and Spain attended the Society's inaugural session.
The society's development paralleled the rapid spread of shockwave therapy. Its 1st international conference took place in Izmir, Turkey in 1998 with international participation which included colleagues from outside Europe. Keeping track with the globalization of the Society, the ESMST was unanimously renamed ISMST (International Society for Musculoskeletal Shockwave Therapy) during the annual 1999 conference in London. In attendance were participants from Japan, Taiwan, Canada and the United States.