When it comes to the health of your body, why take any chances? Many are unaware of the differences between a physiotherapist and a physical therapist and use the terms interchangeably. However, there are several distinctions between the two. Now, there are many benefits to seeking treatment from a physical therapist. However, physiotherapists are more qualified to treat physical ailments and there are many certified physiotherapists to choose from in central London.

The differences between physiotherapists and physical therapists starts with education. Physiotherapists go through a far more rigorous full-time training process lasting four years while physical therapists only do a three year part-time program. As such, physiotherapists can diagnose patients much more effectively. Physiotherapists have the ability to diagnose patients and send them to a general practitioner if necessary. Physical therapists are mostly concerned with treatment. Physiotherapists have been medically endorsed and answer to a governing body and must comply with medical guidelines.

According to CSP, the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy, the role of the physiotherapist is to “combine their knowledge and skills to identify an individual patient’s functioning needs and improve a broad range of physical problems associated with different systems of the body.” Sports injuries, constant pain, and old age, among others, are all concerns that can be dealt with by seeing a physiotherapist. To that end, the CSP says that they treat various physical conditions including “neuromuscular (brain and nervous system), musculoskeletal (soft tissues, joints and bones), and cardiovascular and respiratory systems (heart and lungs and associated physiology).”

Physiotherapists are not only capable of treating physical injuries and pain but are also able to diagnose and provide patients with strategies to prevent further injury. They are able to assess a person’s unique physiology and prescribe necessary action to train/encourage the body to make the correct movements again. Physiotherapy is unique to the medical profession in that it encourages patients to take part in their own health care and well-being. Physiotherapy patients become a part of the process of healing.

Physiotherapy consists of four main areas of concentration: manual therapy, movement, exercise, and aquatic therapy. Physiotherapists asses which type (or a combination thereof) of therapy is best for each individual patient. Manual therapy is the type of therapy most associated with physiotherapists. It is the practice of physiotherapists using their hands to mobilize muscles and tissues that have been damaged through injury. Manual therapy relieves pain and increases blood flow and flexibility. Physiotherapists utilize consistent movement and exercise to therapeutically heal injured areas of the body. These exercises are usually prescribed daily for several weeks, or sometimes months depending on the severity of the injury. Aquatic therapy utilizes the natural resistance of water, rather than weights, to re-strengthen muscles. It’s a gentler approach to healing the body ideal for older patients or those who have suffered severe injury.

Physiotherapy is a growing medical profession, one that continues to improve over time as more advancements are made within the field. Many patients have benefitted from the abundance of qualified physiotherapists in the central London area. We’ve had some good experience with a Form Clinic, which is a specialist physiotherapy, acupuncture and osteopathy clinic in central London.