Physiotherapy: targeted therapy brings huge results

Massage and exercises – that’s what most people think of when you say physiotherapy (also called physical therapy or physiatrics). However, physiotherapy has much more to offer than that. It involves designing a complete treatment plan around a medical prescription, creating an exercise regime and motivating the patient.

Where does the term physiotherapy come from?
The first part comes from the Greek phusis meaning ‘nature,’ while the second comes from the Greek therapeia, or ‘healing.’

How long has physiotherapy been around?

Physical therapy treatment methods are as old as medicine itself. There is evidence of this in ancient documents. As early as the fifth century BC, different types of massage were being mentioned in manuscripts. The main breakthrough for physiotherapy came at the end of the nineteenth century. This was when people discovered the positive effects of movement therapy on cardiac and circulatory disease. Today it’s hard to think of medicine without it. Tried and tested methods have been further developed and are as high-tech as in any field of modern medicine.

What is the aim of physiotherapy?

The main aim is for patients to regain through therapy their ability to cope with their life situation and to manage their everyday lives independently.

How can this be achieved?

Targeted treatments are used to restore or improve impaired physiological functions – for example if someone can no longer straighten their knee after a torn ligament – to alleviate pain, stimulate the metabolism and circulation, and to improve or maintain mobility, coordination, strength and stamina. Physiotherapists employ many different treatment methods, including mechanical stimulation such as massage, heat stimulation including hot and cold compresses or baths, water (hydrotherapy), and even electricity (electrotherapy).

When is physiotherapy prescribed?

Most commonly for diseases of the support and movement organs, for example after breakages, joint operations, for torn ligaments, pulled tendons and muscles, artificial joints, amputations, and diseases of the joints like rheumatism or arthritis. Experts also claim success with improving or alleviating diseases and injuries of the brain (such as stroke), and of the spine (including paraplegia).

What does a physiotherapist need to know?

The application of physiotherapeutic treatments requires in-depth knowledge of the body’s anatomical structures, plus knowledge of psychology and the use of a wide variety of treatment methods. During their practical and theoretical training, for example, physiotherapists learn all about the functions of the body’s movement apparatus and the central nervous system.

How do you train to be a physiotherapist?

The training is three years of intensive theory and practice. Qualification as a physiotherapist is regulated by law and the professional status is legally protected.