World Physiotherapy Day

World Physiotherapy Day (also known as World Physical Therapy Day) is celebrated every year on the 8th September in recognition of the crucial work of physiotherapists worldwide.

Physiotherapy is defined as the treatment of injury and disease by means other than medication or surgery, with the aim to improve or restore the patient’s movement, function, and independence. Treatments are varied but include specialised exercises, massage, hydrotherapy, and splints.

Physiotherapist and patient at The Queen Elizabeth Hospital, 1989.

Physiotherapists have been assisting patients in SA hospitals for over 120 years since the first masseuse was appointed at the Royal Adelaide Hospital in 1902.  

By the 1930’s a department had been established and staff were now rostered to Northfield (later Hampstead Rehabilitation Centre) to support polio patients there.

Physiotherapists were a strong presence at Morris Hospital which was established in 1962 for spinal injury patients.

Morris Hospital 4 Physiotherapy, showing physiotherapist and patients.

In 1994 a therapy complex was completed at Hampstead which included a hydrotherapy pool and gymnasium specifically designed for spinal, amputee, and orthopaedic patients requiring regular physiotherapy.

Hampstead hydrotherapy pool showing access ramp.

The completion of a Mobility Garden in 2002 enabled therapists to prepare patients for life after discharge from hospital. The complex remains in use.

On this Physiotherapy Day, I would like to say thank you to all physios who have made a positive impact on the lives of their patients.

Written By Jasmin Clark, CALHN Health Museum .