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By Flynn Remedios – Futuristic Media Network

With the young and old alike making a beeline for gymnasiums, health-clubs and alternate means of rehabilitation and relaxation, the role of physiotherapists and physical therapists has increased manifold.

Speaking on the sidelines of the WCPT-AWP & IAP Congress 2009 scheduled to be held from 22nd to 25th January’09 at the Nehru Centre, Worli, Mumbai, Prof D H Dastoor -eminent physical therapist and Organising Secretary of the Event opined that many gyms that have sprouted in metros like Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore and Kolkatta are ill-equipped to cater to the needs of most of their clients. “Prescription for physical exercise is as crucial as prescription for any other medication,” she opined, adding that if one was told to do 25 pushups and had to do say 50 if would be the same as over-dosing on any other restricted medication. “Physical exercise when prescribed as a means of rehabilitation or as a cure for certain joint pains or spinal problems is as crucial as medication for any life-threatening ailments and should not be misused or taken lightly,” she advised.

Experts from 23 member countries of the Asia West Pacific (AWP) region of the World Confederation of Physical Therapists (WCPT) are expected to come together to share their experience, techniques and scientific knowledge in Clinical and Research areas in the field of Physical Therapy and to deliberate on professional issues at the symposiums, debates, workshops and panel discussions that are all part of the WCPT-AWP and IAP Congress. The Congress will also focus on Lifestyle-related diseases which are rampant not only in metros in India, but also in smaller towns.

Elaborating further on this issue, Dr Dastoor said, “Many gyms have trainers who may be good at supervising basic physical training, but they are not trained physios.” Physical Trainers cannot double up as physical therapists and give advice or counsel clients with respect to body aches, joint pains, or musclo-skeletal problems. Sadly many of them do so, Dr Dastoor lamented.

Given the growing problem of Lifestyle-related diseases that now plague about 70 to 80 per cent of the working population in a metro, thanks to the bad condition of roads, overcrowded public transport, odd-working hours, added commuting time due to residential locales shifting out of the city or away from commercial hubs many people tend to rush to gyms and health clubs. Coming down heavily on certain fly-by-night operators who lure the populace with flashy advertisements featuring male and female models with toned, chiseled bodies, Dr Dastoor said that one should be very careful before enrolling for a fitness program. “It is imperative to check the academic and experience credentials of the “expert” dishing out advice in health clubs and gymnasiums as some of them could be Rehabilitation Therapists or even mere Physical Trainers claiming to be experts in Physiotherapy.

Besides Indian experts like Dr Ali Irani – President of the IAP (and former Physiotherapist of the Indian Cricket Team), Dr D H Dastoor – Organising Secretary, Dr Savita Ravindra, chairperson – AWP Region, other international experts at the WCPT-AWP and IAP Congress will include Dr Margot Skinner, Dr Marilyn Moffat – President WCPT, Dr Michael Shacklock, Dr Sara Meeks and Dr Cathy Hazzard, besides many others.

This is the 4th Asia-West Pacific (AWP) Regional Conference of the World Confederation of Physical Therapists (WCPT) conducted with the Indian Association of Physiotherapists. This significant and path-breaking four-day event will be inaugurated by WCPT President Dr Marilyn Moffat, an eminent expert herself in the field of physical therapy. Many other leading luminaries from the realm of physiotherapy will be present and will conduct workshops and make presentations during this event, said Dr Dastoor.


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