Physiotherapy and Mental Health: 5 Unexpected Benefits

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Welcome to our article exploring the unexpected ways physiotherapy can boost your mental health! Physiotherapy isn’t just about fixing physical ailments – it also has surprising benefits for your mind. From improving mood to managing pain, we’ll delve into five key ways physiotherapy can enhance your mental well-being. Discover how these unexpected perks can help you feel better, both physically and mentally.

If you’d like to learn more about what physiotherapy entails before diving into this article, make sure you read our Ultimate Guide to Physiotherapy first.

How Physiotherapy and Mental Health Interact

When your physical body suffers, so does your mental health – and vice versa. We see this in many of our patients at One Body. When your quality of life is reduced, your activities are limited, and you are in chronic pain, you might also feel depressed, anxious, lethargic, and perhaps even a little stir-crazy!

When you feel this way, fixing the body (or just taking those first steps for recovery) can restore confidence and hope. The goal of physiotherapy is to take a holistic approach, helping you totally regain function and remove limits to your physical abilities. But physio can be so much more than this:

  • It fosters a sense of empowerment – you have control over your health journey!
  • Exercise can reduce stress, anxiety and depression (more on this below).
  • Your physiotherapist is your biggest cheerleader, helping you overcome physical challenges.
  • Overcoming your physical challenges helps you build resilience too.
  • Education is also a huge part of physio, helping you understand how to lead a healthier, positive lifestyle.

Simply attending physiotherapy, getting out of your home and into a clean and modern clinic, can be a great way to boost your mental health. Spending weekly sessions in a hyper-positive, encouraging environment can be a welcome break from your work or home life (and if you have private health insurance, you might not need to pay a penny for it either).

How to Improve Your Mental Health

Improvements to your mental health are part of physiotherapy, but physio isn’t the only treatment you should explore. If you are suffering from poor mental health, you should reach out to the mental health support available in your area via the NHS.

As well as physical activities or physiotherapy, your doctor might recommend other ways to boost your mental health:

  • Being social – connecting with other people outside of social media.
  • Learning a new skill – this might include hobbies, education, or a new career path.
  • Focusing on nutrition – what you eat impacts your health, including your mental health.

You might also discover that medication is the best way forward for your individual mental health challenges. We strongly recommend you talk to a healthcare professional if your mental health is not in a good place. There is no reason to suffer alone!

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5 Mental Health Benefits from Physiotherapy

There are five unexpected health benefits that you might uncover during your physiotherapy treatment. These are improved mood and wellbeing, reduced anxiety and depression, enhanced quality of life, increased self-esteem and confidence, and better management of chronic pain.

1. Improved Mood and Well-Being

Physiotherapy interventions, such as exercise programs and physical activity, have been shown to positively influence mood and promote overall well-being in individuals with mental health conditions.

Even if you are just feeling a little down, one review found that moderate exercise can improve your mood or help maintain it at a high level. However, the review also notes that excessive exercise has the opposite effect – so listen to your physiotherapist and don’t overdo it! We know what pace is best for your recovery.

In physiotherapy, exercise might involve:

  • Stretching exercises
  • Strengthening exercises
  • Range of motion exercises
  • Balance and coordination exercises
  • Postural exercises

It’s not just about lifting weights or getting sweaty – these are targeted and mindful exercises to improve your well-being.

2. Reduced Anxiety and Depression

Regular physical activity and exercise prescribed by physiotherapists can help alleviate symptoms of anxiety and depression, leading to improved mental health outcomes. It doesn’t need to be vigorous exercise either, so don’t worry if you have a medical condition or injury that is holding you back. 

One review noted that “exercise seems most helpful for treatment-resistant depression, unipolar depression, and posttraumatic stress disorder” and that mindfulness was helpful for both anxiety and depression. Mindfulness, the act of purposefully paying attention to the present moment, is often a side effect of physio. We help you pay attention to your body and live in the moment through a rejuvenating soft tissue massage, for example.

Another way that physio modalities can reduce anxiety is through acupuncture. Another review found that:

“There is good scientific evidence encouraging acupuncture therapy to treat anxiety disorders as it yields effective outcomes, with fewer side effects than conventional treatment.”

3. Enhanced Quality of Life

Physiotherapy interventions aim to address any physical health problems associated with mental health diagnoses, ultimately improving your quality of life (QOL) by promoting overall health and functioning.

The WHO defines QOL as “an individual’s perception of their position in life in the context of the culture and value systems in which they live and in relation to their goals, expectations, standards and concerns.”

As physiotherapists, we consider your QOL and the potential for improvement when creating your personalised treatment plan. We want to restore your independence to ensure you can live life without limits.

4. Increased Self-Esteem and Confidence

Physio sessions that are carefully tailored to your individual needs can boost your self-esteem and confidence levels, empowering you to better manage your mental health challenges.

During physiotherapy, your physiotherapist listens to you – communication is so important! This is a time to focus on your ailments and your goals for the future. Then, we create an action plan to help you achieve those goals.

Your physio sessions guide you step by step to recovery, whether you are dealing with a traumatic injury or a chronic condition. Every session is a chance to achieve something, which can be powerful for many individuals with conditions that limit their ability to live freely.

5. Better Management of Chronic Pain

Physiotherapists are skilled in managing chronic pain associated with mental health conditions, offering non-pharmacological pain management strategies and exercises that can improve physical and mental well-being.

One randomised controlled trial found that multidimensional physiotherapy (physio that encompasses physical, psychological, educational, lifestyle, and work-related components) was particularly effective at producing statistically and clinically significant improvements in pain.

Living with chronic pain has a huge toll on your mental health, so working with a physiotherapist to manage, reduce or heal your pain can be extremely helpful. Typically, we reduce pain through manual therapy techniques like massage to stimulate blood flow, break down tough tissues, reduce inflammation, and encourage the body to heal.

Explore Physiotherapy at One Body

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At One Body LDN, we want to seamlessly integrate physiotherapy and mental health support. Our experienced and licensed physiotherapists will help you feel at ease throughout your journey to wellness. 

With conveniently located clinics across London, in Farringdon, Old Street, London Bridge and more, we offer a welcoming atmosphere equipped with state-of-the-art facilities – it’s a place where you can relax. 

Our approach to physiotherapy involves a diverse range of modalities, including massage, exercise, strength training, acupuncture, cupping, and more. We’re committed to guiding you every step of the way, ensuring personalised care that helps you feel fully supported. 

Book your first session today or explore our award-winning London physiotherapy team to find the right physiotherapist for you.

FAQs

How does physiotherapy help with mental health?

Physiotherapy helps with your mental health by promoting physical well-being, reducing stress, and enhancing mood through exercise and therapeutic techniques. The mind and body are linked – we can tend to both through physical therapies.

Does physio help emotionally?

Yes, physiotherapy can have emotional benefits by improving your mood, reducing anxiety, and providing a sense of accomplishment through physical activity. It’s a chance to change your life, reduce pain, and remove physical limits. It can be very liberating!

Is physiotherapy good for depression?

Yes, physiotherapy can be beneficial for depression. Some studies have found that the exercises prescribed by a physiotherapist can reduce depression by increasing serotonin levels, promoting relaxation, and improving overall well-being.

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Kurt Johnson
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