World Physiotherapy

Introduction[edit | edit source]


Founded in 1951, the World Physiotherapy  is the sole international voice for physiotherapists, representing more than 350,000 physiotherapists worldwide through its 112 Member Organisations. These members are national associations for physiotherapists, which must meet strict criteria before being admitted. World Physiotherapy is the operating name of World Confederation for Physical Therapy (WCPT)

The confederation operates as a non-profit organisation and is registered as a charity in the UK. Founded in 1951, it has been in official relations with the World Health Organization (WHO) since 1952, collaborating on work programmes to improve world health. It works with a wide range of other international bodies and is a member of the World Health Professions Alliance. It is committed to furthering the physiotherapy profession and improving global health its mission is to:

  • Unite the profession internationally
  • Represent physiotherapy and physiotherapists internationally
  • Promote high standards of physiotherapy practice, education and research
  • Facilitate communication and information exchange among member organisations, regions, subgroups and their members
  • Collaborate with national and international organisations
  • Contribute to the improvement of global health

World Physiotherapy believes that every individual is entitled to the highest possible standard of culturally appropriate healthcare, delivered in an atmosphere of trust and respect for human dignity, and underpinned by sound clinical reasoning and scientific evidence.

History and Growth[edit | edit source]

Its first international congress and second General Meeting were held in London in 1953.  Over its history, World Physiotherapy has developed statements and education guidelines to support the development of the profession. It has introduced a structure of five regions, and close relationships with a range of international independent organisations of physical therapists with specific interests – 12 of which are now recognised as official World Physiotherapy subgroups.

World Physiotherapy’s World Congress is held every two years. There have been 19 World Physiotherapy congresses in all. Proceedings from past congresses, including abstracts, posters, presentations and some audio/videoed sessions are available online. The next World Physiotherapy Congress will be in 2021 in Dubai.

In 1996 World Physiotherapy established World PT Day which has been celebrated annually ever since, and has grown in popularity and influence. Every year physiotherapy organisations and individual physical therapists around the world organise campaigns and events to celebrate and publicise the role of physical therapists.

Vision and Mission[edit | edit source]

World Physiotherapy's vision is to move physiotherapy forward so the profession is recognised globally for its significant role in improving health and wellbeing.

As the international voice of physiotherapy World Physiotherapy's mission is to:

  • unite the profession internationally;
  • represent physiotherapy and physical therapists internationally;
  • promote high standards of physiotherapy practice, education and research;
  • facilitate communication and information exchange among member organisations, regions, subgroups and their members;
  • collaborate with national and international organisations; and
  • contribute to the improvement of global health.

Activity[edit | edit source]

World Physiotherapy provides services to its member organisations, campaigns to improve world health and produces policies and guidelines. It encourages high standards of physiotherapy and global health by facilitating the exchange of information and producing resources. All of its activities are shaped and informed by research.

World Physiotherapy shares information through a variety of publications and online media, centred around its website Its publications include World Physiotherapy News, a monthly E-update, policy documents and Keynote papers on a number of subjects.

Strategic Plan[edit | edit source]

The WCPT Strategic Plan 2017 – 2021 is the outcome of consultation with member organisations, regions, subgroups, networks and individual physical therapists around the world and describes the long-term vision for the WCPT.