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What is Physiotherapy? WHO Physiotherapy Definition

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"Physiotherapists assess, plan and implement rehabilitative programs that improve or restore human motor functions, maximize movement ability, relieve pain syndromes, and treat or prevent physical challenges associated with injuries, diseases and other impairments. They apply a broad range of physical therapies and techniques such as movement, ultrasound, heating, laser and other techniques. They may develop and implement programmes for screening and prevention of common physical ailments and disorders"




International Standard Classification of Occupations(ISCO) is a tool for organizing jobs into a clearly defined set of groups according to the tasks and duties undertaken in the job.

According to this code Physiotherapy is classified into a seperate entity and not clubbed with Paramedical services

Its main aims are to provide:
  • A basis for the international reporting, comparison and exchange of statistical and administrative data about occupations;

  • A model for the development of national and regional classifications of occupations; and

  • A system that can be used directly in countries that have not developed their own national classifications.


Physiotherapists and related associate professionals treat disorders of bones, muscles and parts of the circulatory or the nervous system by manipulative methods, and ultrasound, heating, laser or similar techniques, or apply physiotherapy and related therapies as part of the treatment for the physically disabled, mentally ill or unbalanced.

Tasks include:
  • Advising communities and individuals on correct body postures, for work or otherwise, to avoid injuries and strain and to strengthen muscles;

  • Conducting examinations to make diagnoses of disorders of bones, muscles and parts of the circulatory or the nervous system to determine proper treatment or refer to Medical doctors, if necessary;

  • Treating disorders of bones, muscles and parts of the circulatory or the nervous system by manipulative methods, and the use of ultrasound, heating, laser or similar techniques;

  • Massaging client or patient to improve circulation, soothe or stimulate nerves, facilitate elimination of waste matter, stretch contracted tendons and produce other therapeutic effects;

  • Examining body deformities and disorders to determine and write specifications for artificial limbs or other appliances, helping to fit them and explaining their use;

  • Applying physiotherapy and related techniques as part of the treatment of the mentally ill or unbalanced;

  • Supervising other workers.

  • Performing related tasks;
The International Labour Organization (ILO) is the international organization responsible for drawing up and overseeing international labour standards. It is the only 'tripartite' United Nations agency that brings together representatives of governments, employers and workers to jointly shape policies and programmes promoting Decent Work for all.

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Now that WHO has classified Physiotherapists as an individual professionals, we all need to work on this to get the same status in India. Now or never..

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