When someone mentions physiotherapy, what is the first image that comes to your mind? Perhaps physiotherapy conjures thoughts of individuals whose bodies are riddled with pain. Indeed, physiotherapy is, in many cases, the first line of defense against physical pain. But did you know that physiotherapy can also help heal the pain of troubled emotions? To their delight and relief, many physiotherapy patients are discovering that this time-tested treatment is impacting both their physical and emotional health for the better.
How Does Physiotherapy Increase a Person’s Mental Health?
The vast majority of people are unaware of the ways in which physiotherapy helps patients with mental and emotional troubles. Some benefits that physiotherapy often has upon a person’s mental state include:
- Increased mood – According to The Physio Company, “Research shows that regular exercise affects mood and increases self-esteem.” Physiotherapists specialize in creating treatment plans designed to strengthen and exercise the human body. Because physiotherapy requires physical exertion, it can uplift the mood of individuals who struggle with illnesses that suppress emotions and dampen self-image.
- Boosted self-confidence – Lack of self-confidence dogs the heels of those who struggle with emotional pain. Because physiotherapists set achievable goals for their patients, then help and encourage them to reach those goals, physiotherapy is often a major boon for someone’s morale. Through physiotherapy, a myriad of patients are discovering that they are capable of much more than they ever dreamed possible. With this sense of capability comes greater mental health.
- Decreased physical pain – Most people who experience chronic pain that is rooted in the body are well aware that physical pain causes mental distress. The National Institute of Mental Health‘s website tells us, “Depression has been linked with other health problems, including chronic pain.” The good news is physiotherapy can greatly reduce or eliminate physical pain, which in turn can decrease emotional duress.
The Healthcare Industry Recognizes the Link Between Physiotherapy and Mental Health
Some physiotherapists are becoming increasingly interested in and educated about using physiotherapy as a means to ease troubled minds. These health professionals see physiotherapy as an agent to treat maladies such as eating disorders, personality disorders, dissociate disorders, traumatic stress disorders, lifestyle problems, psychosomatic disorders, and chronic pain. The International Organization of Physical Therapists in Mental Health (IOPTMH) is one such group of physiotherapists who specialize in emotional/mental health.
The IOPTMH was recognized as a sub group of the World Confederation for Physical Therapy (WCPT) in 2011. As stated on WCPT’s website, “IOPTMH believes that physical therapy will have an effect on worldwide health problems, including views, strategies for actions and research where body, mind and existence is treated as a unity and the physical therapist is working at the highest professional standards with human movement as its core.”
Physiotherapy can be used as an integral part of a healthcare plan designed to heal the whole person. Consider adding a physiotherapist to your team of healthcare providers; these professionals will treat you holistically, body and mind.