About Physical Therapy

    Development of Physical Therapy in Ireland

    In 1991 the Irish Association of Physical Therapists (IAPT) was established as the Professional Body ensuring excellence in the field of musculoskeletal health. The IAPT represents its members who practice Physical Therapy throughout Ireland.

    In the late eighties demand was growing for a whole-body, hands-on and natural approach in the treatment of musculoskeletal disorders. To meet this demand, the Institute of Physical Therapy & Applied Science was founded, becoming the first and only school of Physical Therapy at that time, in Ireland.

    Since then and in conjunction with leading UK, American and Australian schools, the IAPT has pioneered a three  year Physical Therapy degree course. The school is unique in Ireland and provides a competency-based education and practical training in a working clinic along side theoretical instruction.

    Physical Therapy as practiced by its members has developed over the  years as a separate and distinct form of assessment, treatment and management of musculoskeletal disorders.

    What is the difference between Physical Therapy and Physiotherapy?

    There are a number of significant differences between the two professions. Physical Therapy and Physiotherapy (physio) have been organised within Ireland as discrete professions for two decades. Physiotherapy is a  Level 8 university degree course designed in the main for school leavers, whereas Physical Therapy is a Level 7 degree course from a private college, designed for mature students and adult learners.

    Physical Therapy training concentrates mainly on the use of manual (or hands-on) techniques exclusively, whereas physiotherapy incorporates electrical modalities where available,such as interferential, ultrasound, tens, laser and other non-manual treatments. Physical therapists are trained with a view to a longer client consultation, allowing a more
    holistic approach and a treatment, which by virtue of its hands-on nature, may be more client-centred.

    Physical Therapists use an holistic and patient-centred approach focusing on the manual treatment of the soft tissue – muscles, tendons, ligaments, fascia. Physical Therapists use highly skilled, hands-on techniques to diagnose, prevent or treat underlying conditions and problems. It is based on health science principles and works alongside other health care practices. Patient health and safety is at the core of Physical Therapy training

    Physical therapy is founded on a tradition which recognises and values the healing properties of touch. It is proven as being very safe, non-invasive and is of course, drug free. Each treatment is individually tailored. The therapist, after carefully noting your history will consider psychological, social and environmental factors in devising a treatment plan and in suggesting appropriate changes to lifestyle, work practice or exercise.

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