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The Difference Between "Physiotherapy" and "Physical Therapy"

Your Questions Answered

What Makes a Chartered Physiotherapist Different than a Physical Therapist?

More than 80% of the public don’t know that there is a difference between a "Physiotherapist" and a "Physical Therapist". Medical specialties are generally defined by law, and the requirements to use the “Physiotherapist” title are not clearly spelled out.

In 110 countries worldwide, the title “Physiotherapist” is synonymous with “Physical Therapist” except in Ireland, according to Ruaidhri O’Connor, chief executive officer of the Irish Society of Chartered Physiotherapists (ISCP). However, the terms are not protected by legislation in Ireland, which makes it incredibly difficult to determine which professional has the education and experience necessary to assist you with your needs. The following is a general guide to help you identify which services you may benefit from most.

Both Professionals Have Similar Goals, But Treat Patients Differently

A chartered physiotherapist and a physical therapist both work to restore health and wellness, but their methodology is different.

“Chartered Physiotherapists use mainly physical means such as exercise prescription, manipulation, mobilisation, dry needling and rehab prescription derived from medical based research to help patients achieve their full potential,” according to the definition provided by the Irish Society of Chartered Physiotherapists (ISCP).

Physical Therapists use “means of massage, myofascial techniques, joints mobilisations and exercises,” per the Irish Association of Physical Therapists (IAPT).

Chartered Physiotherapists are the only health care professional of the two qualified to work in a hospital setting, assisting patients with rehabilitative efforts following illness or disease. Nowadays, both practice in the private sector as well.

The Educational Requirements are Different

Those who opt to attend formal schooling to become a physical therapist need only complete a part-time course that spans 20 weekends. Though clinical time with hands-on learning are required, the time needed is significantly less than the 1,000 hours required of a Chartered Physiotherapist. Moreover, in Ireland the training for a Physiotherapist includes musculoskeletal, cardio-respiratory and neurological study during a four-year degree course in either Trinity College Dublin, UCD, RCSI, UCC, UL or Jordanstown, so the educational process is far more rigorous. People currently trained as physical therapists in Ireland are not educated to this level, according to the ISCP.

It’s Important to Choose a Chartered Physiotherapist

If you’re like most people, you’ll want to select the most competent professional to help guide you to the path of wellness. Because legislation does not protect the titles, almost anyone can claim them. The Irish Society of Chartered Physiotherapists provides accreditation for those who have gone through the proper education channels, and provide a high level of service. Even though the term “physiotherapist” is not protected, “chartered physiotherapist” is, and those who have accreditation are the only ones permitted to use the initials “MISCP” as part of their title. Moreover, those who become members of the ISCP are expected to maintain their standards in order to remain in good standing with the society. Click Clinic only partners with Chartered Physiotherapists, to ensure patients get the best care possible.

It’s important to note that Chartered Physiotherapists are held to exacting standards, and can help with a wide array of issues, ranging from stress through chronic pain. They use a scientific approach concerning diagnosis and treatment, and are committed to advancing their skills.

Protection Of The Titles
The ISCP is now seeking to have the two terms; Physiotherapy and Physical Therapy, protected for use only by Physiotherapists, claiming the lack of such definitions is contributing to confusion.

The Minister for Health is now considering this recommendation. If the title of Physical Therapist is not protected in one register with Physiotherapy the confusion will remain and the public will not be protected.

Please click here to sign the petition.

Book An Appointment With a Chartered Physiotherapist
To book an appointment with a Chartered Physiotherapist to come to you click Book Now to be directed to out booking page.
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