With over 55 years of combined clinical experience, all of our therapists are equipped, fully qualified and registered with state regulatory bodies.

September 07, 2015

Movement For Health; World Physical Therapy Day

World Physical Therapy Day is on 8th September 2015.

The day is an opportunity for physiotherapists from all over the world to raise awareness about the crucial contribution the profession makes to keeping people well, mobile and independent.


Note: The terms physical therapy and physiotherapy refer to the same profession – some countries use one term, some the other. 

About physiotherapy

Physiotherapists are experts in developing and maintaining people’s ability to move and function throughout their lives. With an advanced understanding of how the body moves and what keeps it from moving well, they promote wellness, mobility and independence. They treat and prevent many problems caused by pain, illness, impairments and disease, sport and work related injuries, ageing and long periods of inactivity.

Physiotherapists work with people affected by a wide range of conditions and symptoms, for example:

  • painful conditions such as arthritis, repetitive strain injury, neck and back pain
  • cancer
  • strokes, Parkinson’s disease and spinal cord injury
  • heart problems
  • lung disease
  • trauma, such as road traffic accidents and landmines
  • incontinence

They work in a variety of settings, including hospitals, health centres, sports facilities, education and research centres, hospices and nursing homes, rural and community settings.

Here are some examples of how Physiotherapists make a difference.


  • use their skills to treat the underlying causes of pain and limitations in movement and function
  • use many treatment approaches to help individuals regain their mobility and maximise their potential
  • promote healthy lifestyles and exercise
  • treat each patient/client as an individual and thoroughly assess them to identify their needs
  • treat sports injuries
  • promote safe and healthy activities
  • work with children with coordination, balance and other movement problems to improve and maximise their independence.

To achieve all this, Physiotherapists are educated over several years, giving them a full knowledge of the body’s systems and the skills to treat a wide range of problems. This education is usually university-based and at a level that provides full professional recognition and allows them to practise independently. Continuing education ensures that they keep up to date with the latest advances in research and practice. Many physiotherapists are engaged in research themselves.

Facts and figures about Physiotherapists

Physiotherapists work with people of all ages to bring about improvements in their health and independence. Physiotherapists provide exercise prescriptions to help people keep fit and achieve/maintain a healthy weight.

Around 600 million people are obese worldwide. Physical activity is one of the best means of countering obesity.

Children and young people under the age of 18 need 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity each day to promote and maintain health. According to the World Health Organization, adults aged 18–64 should do at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity throughout the week or do at least 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity throughout the week or an equivalent combination of moderate- and vigorous-intensity activity. They should also do muscle

strengthening exercises on two or more days a week. Research has shown that physical therapy exercise prescriptions help women who experience

incontinence, osteoporosis or breast cancer surgery. Studies have indicated that physical therapy treatments have a major impact on conditions such as back and neck pain.

Physical activity provided under the guidance and supervision of a Physiotherapist reduces the risk of heart attack, stroke, type 2 diabetes, colon cancer and breast cancer.

Despite limited numbers of Physiotherapists in some countries around the world, they have proved their effectiveness at getting and keeping people healthy.

Physiotherapists provide exercise programmes for conditions that affect the bones and muscles, such as arthritis, back and neck pain, osteoporosis, joint replacements, and urinary incontinence.

More detailed information about what physiotherapists do can be found in WCPT’s Description of Physical Therapy.

What does fulfilling potential mean and how can Physiotherapists empower and evoke that potential in our clients and patients?

Potential is individually defined by each person, so Physiotherapists must truly adopt a patient-centred approach. The people who seek and need the services of Physiotherapists range from small babies to older people, from people with profound disabilities to the highest performing athletes.

Through our engagement with them and our focus on physical activity, exercise and movement we have the power to ensure that people reach their potential whatever that may be. Research indicates that 31% of the world’s population do not meet the recommended physical activity

guidelines, 65% of our patients and clients don’t complete their home exercise programmes and 10% fail to complete their journey of care with us. So one area I would urge all Physiotherapists to consider for World Physical Therapy Day is how we work with our patients and clients to ensure that the health behaviour changes that are important to sustainable

healthy lives are “owned” by them. Research is showing that the addition of motivational strategies to physical therapy and exercise interventions can enhance attendance and adherence.

The overarching message of World Physical Therapy Day is “Movement for Health” and on this day when we mark the foundation of WCPT and communicate to thousands of people around the world the value of physical therapy, let’s also ask ourselves what more can we do to enable our patients and clients to achieve their potential.

How can we ensure they fulfil their potential through our expert interventions and advice on exercise and movement? Are our services

recognised and employed in the best way within our health services? How can their potential be further developed and optimised?

The World Confederation of Physical Therapy’s full article on facts and research findings about what physiotherapy is and who and how it helps can be downloaded from the World Confederation for Physical Therapy.