Physiotherapy uses physical techniques to improve movement, reduce pain and stiffness and assist with the healing process following an injury. It is a primary care specialty used in western medicine that utilises various physical therapies to treat ailments and help to prevent injuries related to musculoskeletal system. It covers a range of areas from health promotion and injury prevention to patient education and chronic disease management.
Physical therapy is believed to originate from as far back as 460 BC with people such as Hippocrates said to employ the techniques to treat people. Modern physical therapy was established towards the end of the 19th century and continues to evolve in modern day.
You should study physiotherapy is you have a passion for helping others and have a fascination with health sciences. Physiotherapy is specialises on the musculoskeletal system and the biomechanics of the body. Physiotherapy can also be a pathway to studying medicine.
Physiotherapy is usually studied as a bachelor degree. Graduates of this degree can then apply to be admitted to the Australian Physiotherapy Association (APA) and begin practicing as a physio. Postgraduate study is typically for physios who want to further their knowledge and training into a particular field of study, but many general postgraduate physio courses also exist for students who want to enter the profession at this level.
A graduate certificate or diploma typically takes around six months to one year to complete and is generally aimed at those who already hold prior qualification in physiotherapy. These courses are for people who wish to advance their skills and knowledge in a specialised area within the physiotherapy field.
A coursework master’s degree typically takes around two years to complete and is for students who want to become specialised in a particular area. Research master’s degrees offer students a gateway into research and academia in physiotherapy.
The PhD program typically takes three years to complete and is suitable for those that wish to delve deeper into their practice. While the main focus is usually on research and thesis writing, some programs continue to cover practical skills in a clinical setting.
Physiotherapy is diverse profession, which allows for employment in a number of settings.
Physiotherapists work in hospitals to help rehabilitate injured patients, assess ailments and work alongside other medical professionals to provide holistic patient care. Physiotherapists can also work with postnatal patients and the elderly in these settings, both in public and private hospitals.
Physiotherapists can offer their services from private clinics working in a range of different areas depending on their specialty and the facilities available to them. Services could include providing rehabilitation plans, group exercise or pilates classes, or sports injury management and prevention.
Physiotherapists work in community health services to provide a similar type of service that can be seen in private practice. Additional work might include group classes, hydrotherapy, postnatal care and assisting people with disabilities.
Physiotherapists can work within aged care facilities to provide support for pain management, improving strength and mobility and helping to foster physical independence in elderly patients.
Physiotherapy is field in which there are many specialisations. Expertise in these areas are gained through work experience, graduate certificate and diploma studies and master degrees.