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Introduction[edit | edit source]

India, is a South Asian country with a parliamentary system governed under the Constitution of India. Physiotherapy in India is considered under Allied and Health Professionals, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare[1]. With a population of 1.37 billion India has only 0.59 Physiotherapists for every 10000 population. There is a great need and scope for physiotherapists in India. While most of their services are available at cities and urban dwellings they are yet to reach the nook and corner of this vast land.

Patient Access to Physiotherapy or Physical Therapy Services / Entry Point[edit | edit source]

There are several different ways that healthcare is delivered in India. It can be public, private, or a mixture of the two.

Public:[edit | edit source]

There are different schemes and policies which offer a cover for Physiotherapy under them.

Private:[edit | edit source]

In India , if a health insurance policy offers cover for Out Patient Department (OPD) or day care procedures, then physiotherapy is covered under it , even if it is not linked to a surgery.

Therapist Contact:[edit | edit source]

  • A physiotherapist can act as a first contact practitioner. A patient can have direct access to physiotherapy. Direct access means a person can refer themselves to a physiotherapist without a referral from another health professional. However, in India, PT is majorly a secondary contact profession[2].
  • This is a lack of awareness regarding health education and physiotherapy profession in India[3]. However, the condition is improving in recent years.

Therapist Preparation[edit | edit source]

Degree/Credentialing:[edit | edit source]

In India, there is just one programme after the completion of the 10+2 examinations with physics, chemistry and biology as included subjects. Entry to the Physiotherapy programme is through National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) which is scheduled once a year pan-India.

An individual has to graduate with a Bachelor in Physiotherapy (BPTh) to be considered a physiotherapist in India.

The B.P.T (Bachelor in Physiotherapy) is a full-time course of 4 years + 6-month internship offered across the country in a number of private and government medical colleges.

Following their BPTh/BPT, those who wish to specialize in a particular field can opt to pursue their Masters' (MPT) which is a full-time- 2 -year course (Thesis oriented). They have to clear a Common Entrance Test (CET) to start the Masters' programme. The CET is conducted state-wise or University wise in case of private universities.

Physical therapy is an expanding field with a good job market both in India and abroad. Selection into the program is competitive. From the origin as a diploma program, it has moved to a degree program. Masters and Doctoral programs are available in a few Institutions in India.

Specialization:[edit | edit source]

They can specialize in:

  • Pediatrics Physiotherapy
  • Women's Health and Obstetrics Physiotherapy
  • Sports Physiotherapy
  • Neurological Physiotherapy
  • Orthopedic/ Musculoskeletal Physiotherapy
  • Geriatrics Physiotherapy
  • Cardiovascular Physiotherapy
  • Community Physiotherapy

They also may choose to pursue the Ph.D in Physiotherapy.

All courses include a mandatory supervised practice component in a clinical setting.

The learning goals and objectives of the undergraduate and graduate education program have been based on the performance expectations and are divided into nine key areas so that the curriculum is standardised in the country[1]:

  1. Clinical care
  2. Communication
  3. Membership of a multidisciplinary health team
  4. Ethics and accountability at all levels (clinical, professional, personal and social)
  5. Commitment to professional excellence
  6. Leadership and mentorship
  7. Social accountability and responsibility
  8. Scientific attitude and scholarship (only at higher level- PhD)
  9. lifelong learning

Professional Associations[edit | edit source]

Physiotherapists are licensed by the physiotherapy council in respective states where Independent physiotherapy council is there, which maintains a rigorous code of ethics and high standards of continuing competency.

The Indian Association of Physiotherapy is an apex body representing the interests of Indian physiotherapists and their patients. It was a member of WCPT from 1962 and has been re-inducted in the WCPT in 2020. Read more about it here.

Information about the Patient Community[edit | edit source]

Physiotherapists in India treat a broad range of conditions that affect the musculoskeletal, circulatory, respiratory and nervous systems.

India still lacks a streamlined referral system as compared to the Western world[4].

Social/Cultural Influences[edit | edit source]

India is well-known for its cultural, traditional and ethnic diversity. Mostly the Indian population believes in traditional forms of treatments and home-based remedies with rich ancestral values. However, slowly the scenario appears to be changing.

Delivery of Care[edit | edit source]

  • Physiotherapy care can be accessed in India in a private or public setting. There are out-patient departments, private clinics, in-hospital PT services set up to provide services to the general public.
  • There are physical therapists' associated with sports associations and committees to provide on-field and off-field care.
  • Physiotherapy can also be provided with home healthcare services.
  • Professional companies have started employing physical therapist to avail their services for their employees and their families.

References[edit | edit source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Allied Health Section. Model Curriculum for Physiotherapy. 2017.
  2. Shimpi A, Writer H, Shyam A, Dabadghav R . Role of Physiotherapy in India – Role of Physiotherapy in India – A Cross-sectional Survey to Study the Awareness and Perspective among Referring Doctorss. Journal Medical Thesis 2014  May-Aug ; 2(2):11-15
  3. Doshi D, Jiandani M,Gadgil R, Shetty N. Physiotherapy Awareness in Medical and Non-Medical Population: A Social Media Survey. Int J Physiother Res 2017;5(2):1971-1975. DOI: 10.16965/ijpr.2017.119
  4. Pattanshetty R, Metgud DC. Awareness of physiotherapy among other health professionals in India: Current scenario. Indian J Phys Ther Res 2019;1:69-70