Physiotherapy, also called physical therapy, is a branch of medicine that primarily delves into areas such as mechanical therapy methods and treatment forms. These include exercise, massage, electric micro-current, hot and cold water treatments, among others, to address a particular injury or disorder. Physiotherapy is an age-old branch of medicine, which dates back to the ancient Greeks, during the time of Hippocrates. It has evolved from purely being a simple massage, to become a complex and innovative branch, which also features a number of specialized applications.
Early Beginnings of Physical Therapy
In 460 BC, a Greek physician named Hector practiced a technique he called hydrotherapy, which means water treatment in Greek. In 1894, the United Kingdom recognized physiotherapy as a specialized branch of nursing, which was regulated by the Chartered Society. In the next two decades, official physical therapy programs were launched by countries like New Zealand in 1913, and the United States in 1914. In the United States, the term physical therapy is generally used, and the first recorded practice of physical therapy was noted in the Walter Reed College and Hospital in Portland, Oregon.
In 1974, physical therapy became a specialized branch in the United States, when the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) formed an orthopedic section for physical therapists specializing in orthopedics. Also in 1974, the International Federation of Orthopedic Manipulative Therapy was established. This signaled the progress in the practice of physical therapy worldwide.
The development of computers and new technology gave the physiotherapy industry a boost, and newer treatment methods and techniques were discovered, which included electrical stimulators and other electronic apparatus. Walking into a physical therapy clinic today, you have access to a variety of therapy options directly related to physical therapy as well as additional services such as massage therapy, chiropractic and even naturopathic medicine. Sports therapists are known to use the widest array of tools and equipments. A visit to a sports therapy clinic will get you acquainted with the different sports rehabilitation equipments such as mobility stations, whirlpool baths, and hydrotherapy machines as well as massage creams and oils.
Physical therapy further flourished in the United States and then expanded into Canada, with the enactment into law of the Americans with the Disabilities Act in 1990, and the establishment of the National Center for Medical Rehabilitation Research. However, the practice continues to face a number of challenges, arising from a reduction in government spending, increasing governmental regulations, decreasing reimbursement issues, and the increase in the supply of personnel, which has exceeded the demand for services.
Why These Terms Are Labeled Differently
Health industry observers stress that the terms physical therapy and physiotherapy are both interchangeable. In the U.S.A, the term "physical therapy" is widely used; whereas "physiotherapy" is often employed in countries including Canada, Australia and United Kingdom. Physiotherapists are generally involved in the treatment of musculoskeletal injuries, cardio-respiratory ailments as well as the treatment of head injuries and stroke.
A Physiotherapist's Job Description
Physiotherapists are medical and health science professionals who treat people with physical impairments and disabilities, which come as a result of an injury, illness, birth defect or aging. Physiotherapists also treat individuals of all ages, ranging from children to the elderly. They also treat stroke victims and people who have sport-related injuries. Some health experts also assist patients in identifying and improving their physical function and movement. They also aid in the rehabilitation effort, through restoring the patient's body systems, particularly the musculoskeletal, cardiovascular and respiratory systems. Moreover, physiotherapists also develop new treatment programs and review existing procedures. The treatment modalities may come in the form of manual therapy, assisted therapeutic exercises, and the application of equipments and other technological tools such as ultrasound and x-ray. Physiotherapists also offer consultation services, to teach people how to avoid serious injuries, as well as how to employ do-it-yourself stretching and other exercise modalities at home. Physical therapists also work in other types of settings. Some of these settings include health care centers, hospital, private practice clinics, nursing homes, and health clubs. They also treat a number of conditions, ranging from injuries and fractures, bone, joint and muscle disorders, intensive-care. In some settings physical therapists provide care for terminal illness patients, obstetrics and gynecology, severe neurological ailments and disorders, learning and developmental impairments, as well as mental illnesses.
Discover the benefits of physiotherapy - for a healthy lifestyle, safe weight loss and effective sport injury rehabilitation - you are sure to be on the path to wellness. Learn more about your ideal therapy option with the help of the PT Health Team. Get in touch with one of the competent health professionals today. Book your free consultation with www.pthealth.ca now!