Facts about physiotherapy


“Physiotherapy is a science-based profession and takes a ‘whole person’ approach to health and well-being, which includes the patient’s general lifestyle. At the core is the patient’s involvement in their own care, through education, awareness, empowerment and participation in their treatment.” (Chartered Society of Physiotherapy)

Traditionally physiotherapists are thought to have an exercise-based approach to treatment, but they also use manual therapy, including joint manipulation or mobilisation, soft tissue massage and stretching, and other treatments including acupuncture and ultrasound.  They provide advice on injury prevention, exercise and posture.

Physiotherapy can benefit people of any age with all sorts of illnesses, disabilities or injuries. 

In the NHS physiotherapists are involved in treating patients with a wide range of conditions in many different specialities, such as trauma and orthopaedics, neurology, medicine, surgery, critical care, respiratory medicine, paediatrics and elderly care.

In private practice many physiotherapists focus on treating musculoskeletal conditions (joints and muscles) and sports injuries, but may also treat people with stroke, Parkinson’s disease or multiple sclerosis (MS) or other conditions such as chronic fatigue (ME).

The title of ‘physiotherapist’ (and also ‘physical therapist’) is protected by law

In order to practice under this title all physiotherapists in the UK have to be registered with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC). It is illegal to practice as a physiotherapist without being registered.

The profession also has chartered status. A chartered physiotherapist is a qualified member of their professional body, the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy (CSP) and will have the letters MSCP after their name.

Physiotherapy is widely available on the NHS and privately.

For NHS physio you will usually need a referral from your doctor, although in a few areas you may be able to self -refer.

Private physiotherapy is covered by most health insurance providers. You do not need a doctor’s referral to see a private physiotherapist if you are self-funding, although if you are intending to claim the cost of treatment back from your insurer, your policy might stipulate that you do.

Initial consultations are around £40 to £50 for 30 minutes and around £70 for one hour.

See…….for more information about physiotherapy and how it differs from osteopathy and chiropractic.


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