Physical therapists helping people be fit to take part

Physical therapists can help people fulfil their potential and participate fully in society – whatever their disability or state of health. This is the message from the profession’s global body the World Confederation for Physical Therapy (WCPT) as physical therapists (known in many countries as physiotherapists) mark World Physical Therapy Day on 8th September.

Research shows that people with a disability are less likely to be employed or playing an active part in society. This waste of potential has more than a personal cost. Lack of participation by people with disabilities costs some economies 7% of their gross domestic product.

However, it needn’t be like that, says WCPT. “Physical therapists have a key role in supporting people with illness and disability to participate fully in society,” says Marilyn Moffat, the WCPT President.  “They specialise in human movement, identifying factors that prevent people from being as active and independent as they can be, and then find ways of overcoming them through rehabilitation, science-based exercise prescription, and promotion of physical activity.”

The World Health Organization and the World Bank have said in a joint report: “Rehabilitation is a good investment because it builds human capacity. It should be incorporated into general legislation on health, employment, education, and social services and into specific legislation for people with disabilities.”

On World Physical Therapy Day WCPT says the message needs to go out to politicians and policy makers that investing in physical therapy services not only transforms people’s lives – it makes good economic sense.

As a physiotherapist or physical therapist it’s not too late to get involved in World Physical Therapy Day.  Use the toolkit from the WCPT to highlight to your community the importance of physical therapy for health and wellbeing.