8th September marks World Physiotherapy Day
World Physiotherapy Day has been celebrated for almost 30 years. It was established in 1996 by the World Confederation for Physical Therapy (WCPT) with the aim of raising public awareness by promoting the role of physiotherapy and physiotherapists in the health of patients and citizens.
The theme chosen for 2023 in Italy is ‘Physiotherapy in all the places of life´, referring to all the places where people live: homes, workplaces, hospitals and RSAs, care and rehabilitation centres, community homes and sports centres. The aim is to raise awareness about the importance of physiotherapy and its professionals, whose work improves the life quality of patients in every environment. The figure of the physiotherapist represents a tangible help in regaining one’s motor autonomy after an accident, prolonged hospitalisation, intensive care, neurological or respiratory pathology. The theme of the National Federation of the Physiotherapists Associations, to which the 38 local Associations have adhered, emphasises the added value that a competent and up-to-date physiotherapist is able to ensure to the quality of life.
In Italy, 8th September is a double important date: in addition to celebrating physiotherapy and physiotherapists, it is also the date on which the Decree establishing the National Federation of Associations, as well as the local associations of the health profession of physiotherapists, was signed in 2022. An important recognition for all Italian professionals.
“‘A physiotherapist is a healthcare professional,’ explains Professor Roberto Gatti President of the Physiotherapy Degree Course at Humanitas University, ‘who uses movement as an exercise for therapeutic purposes and manual techniques on the locomotor apparatus to treat pathologies of the motor function, in its biomechanical, neuromotor control and cardiopulmonary aspects. Physiotherapy is essential to help individuals become more autonomous and to prevent functional decline, improving the quality of life of individuals who, due to multiple pathologies, lose autonomy’.
The Degree Course in Physiotherapy lasts three years and is quite demanding: it involves the study of basic sciences, clinical sciences and the main approaches used in all areas of physiotherapy intervention. Special attention is given to approaches supported by scientific studies and the latest technologies such as robotics and virtual reality.
“Physiotherapy uses specific manual and therapeutic exercise techniques to treat dysfunctions that may involve the locomotor, nervous, cardiovascular, respiratory, and urogenital systems,” explains Professor Roberto Gatti. “This profession is carried out in a scientific field where Italian research is increasingly active with over 300 specialists conducting studies of high scientific value, which are published in international journals. Many physiotherapists have managerial responsibilities and are involved in the management of in-patient wards or physiotherapy centres’.
Nowadays, the progress of the biomedical model makes it possible to treat many pathologies and, in this sense, longer life spans have led to the emergence of new needs and requirements.
“With an increasingly elderly and frail population, the needs for motor autonomy and prevention are particularly evident in our country,’ the expert clarifies. In addition, the relational aspect is of great importance in the relationship with patients. Only by establishing an all-round bond of trust can the best possible results be achieved’.