A group exercise class in the courtyard of Vilniaus Univerisity, run by Lithuanian physical therapists.
A group exercise class in the courtyard of Vilniaus Univerisity, run by Lithuanian physical therapists.

Country by country: how PTs marked World PT Day

Hundreds of physical therapists around the world organised activities to mark World Physical Therapy Day on 8th September. Here are some of the accounts of activities sent in to WCPT by member organisations, institutions and groups of physical therapists.


To celebrate World Physical Therapy Day, the Australian Physiotherapy Association (APA) launched their first “i ♥ my physio’ competition”, inviting Australians to tell them how their lives had been changed by physical therapy.

The competition was used to highlight the role physiotherapists have in keeping people moving, healthy and living to their full potential.  The association also used World Physical Therapy Day as an opportunity to recognise the work that physiotherapists do for their patients: in the past year, 13,000 Australian physiotherapists conducted more than 17 million consultations within the community. 

Physiotherapists’ role in preventing Australia’s leading causes of death and disability – heart disease, diabetes, obesity, and stroke – was also highlighted. 


The Bangladesh Physiotherapy Association (BPA) organised activities throughout the country including:

• rallies involving physiotherapists and patients;
• seminars and workshops;
• presentations and speeches;
• poster displays in colleges and hospitals;
• free mobile health camps and awareness programmes.

The BPA President, Secretary General and Executive Committee attended different programmes across the country. The day generated much newspaper and television coverage.


The Physical and Occupational Therapy Undergraduate Society at McGill University, Canada, celebrated World Physical Therapy Day with games, quizzes, and prizes. Students were encouraged to buy a "What is Physiotherapy?" t-shirt, with a dollar from each sale donated to the Physiotherapy Foundation of Canada (PFC). Over CAD$ 200 was raised.



The Department of Physiotherapy in St James’s Hospital, Ireland, provided free fitness classes to promote physical activities among staff in the hospital. Experienced physiotherapists conducted introductory yoga and Pilates classes, and gave talks and demonstrations on strengthening and conditioning. There was a lunchtime walking club for those who could not attend the classes.

Awareness of the activities was high, with a promotional slot provided on the hospital’s intranet. Feedback from staff indicated that the “Fit for life” campaign message was well received.


For the second year in a row, the Associazione Italiana Fisioterapisti used World Physical Therapy Day 2012 to publicise their campaign raising awareness of unauthorised physical therapy. A free phone line and a campaign poster were made available.


The Kuwaiti Physical Therapy Association (KPTA) held its largest ever event to celebrate World Physical Therapy Day. A World PT Day team made up of 67 volunteers organised events from 6th to 15th September including:

• a walkathon
• screening tests for BMI, blood sugar, heart rate and blood pressure
• foot examination.

The events, held under the “Fit for life” campaign message, took place in hospitals and shopping malls. Materials distributed included 20,000 copies of WCPT’s “Fit for life” flyer, and tens of thousands of leaflets on obesity, heart and lung health and back health.  Posters were displayed in 15 hospitals in the country. There was extensive coverage in newspapers, radio and television.  


The Liliane Akiki Rehabilitation Center in Lebanon marked World Physical Therapy Day with physiotherapists offering public fitness sessions, physical activities, presentations on sports related disorders, assessments and treatment

This full-day free public event was focused on the “Fit for life” theme, and was well covered by local media including TV, radio, newspapers and magazines.


Students from the Faculty of Health Care at the Vilniaus Kolegija/University of Applied Sciences in Lithuania celebrated World Physical Therapy Day with a fun and active programme involving all students and faculty staff.

The focus was the “Fit for life”. A group exercise/dance class was held in the university courtyard followed by the popular game of “Bumčikas”. After the physical exercise there was a quiz. The day was greeted with great enthusiasm by students and teachers alike.


The Macau Physical Therapist Association (MPTA) started off World Physical Therapy Day with a scoliosis screening for school-aged children. This was followed by lectures on young people’s health issues (childhood obesity and scoliosis). There was also a Fit Ball exercise workshop, a postural correction booth and a presentation on the development of the physical therapy profession in Macau.  Around 100 participants were involved.  


The Masterskill Global College in Ipoh, Malaysia, celebrated World Physical Therapy Day with a variety of games and activities.  Seniors, lecturers, clinical instructors and students all participated in the programme which included discussions on the contribution physical therapists make in the care and prevention of disease through community based rehabilitation.


The Nepal Physiotherapy Association (NEPTA) and Kathmandu University (KU) jointly organised World Physical Therapy Day events including a 3km walkathon from Dhulikhel Hospital to Chaukot with the theme “Health Challenge”. Over 350 people, including physiotherapists and members of the public, took part. Prizes – a Movement for Health t-shirt and a cup – were awarded to both the winner and the last to finish. 

The day was also used as an opportunity to put forward a request to the university Vice Chancellor to include a postgraduate programme at Kathmandu University. 

The event was broadcast on national television with the focus on generating awareness of physiotherapy to the general public. Watch a video of the day.

New Zealand

Physiotherapy New Zealand members celebrated World Physical Therapy Day with a debate, displays, advertorials, professional meetings and social get-togethers.

To encourage their members to mark the day, Physiotherapy New Zealand produced a range of resources including a questionnaire for the public to assess their level of physical activity, an electronic World Physiotherapy Day banner, and a “Did you know?” fact sheet demonstrating the value of physiotherapy in various areas.


The cardiorespiratory physical therapy special interest group of the Portuguese Association of Physical Therapists celebrated the day with an exhibition, lectures by physical therapists, physical activity sessions for the public and a health screening. There was also advice on posture and musculoskeletal disorders. The event took place in the town of Portalegre and was a collaboration of several guest physical therapists, teachers and students from the Setúbal and Castelo Branco schools of physical therapy.


The Swedish Association of Registered Physiotherapists reported that it received orders from over 600 of their members for materials to celebrate World Physical Therapy Day 2012 – more than double the number received two years ago. All around the country hundreds of physiotherapists held events in health centres, hospitals, public squares and shopping centres.

This year’s message in Sweden was that there is no need for a referral to see a physiotherapist. A survey carried out on behalf of the association in 2011 showed that only half of the general public were aware that they could self refer.

Over 20,000 leaflets, 16,000 postcards, 15,000 magnets and hundreds of posters with this message were distributed to the public. In addition, materials and information were sent to 1,000 health care politicians and nearly 100 personnel managers.


The American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) highlighted World Physical Therapy Day by drawing attention to the “Fit for life” campaign via an e-blast sent to its members.  The day, along with WCPT’s new materials and "Fit for life" campaign message, were also promoted in APTA’s monthly publication PT in Motion. 

At the University of South Alabama, Dr Kyoung Kim, Associate Professor of Physical Therapy at Daegu University in Daegu, South Korea, presented a lecture to the entire student body to mark the day. Dr Kim, who is currently undertaking a year-long sabbatical as Visiting International Professor at the university, talked about his international physical therapy experiences.


The President of the Zimbabwe Physiotherapy Association, Gilson Timire, appeared on national TV, promoting the physiotherapy profession on a breakfast show.  Articles about physiotherapy were published in all the major daily newspapers, and the new Zimbabwe Physiotherapy Association pamphlet was printed and distributed in 11 different cities and towns throughout the country, along with the “Fit for life” fliers printed off the WCPT website.  Pamphlets were also distributed in hospitals, pharmacies, medical centres and the doctors’ association headquarters.

A group of physiotherapists and student physiotherapists displayed a “Physiotherapy and you” banner and handed out leaflets in Harare’s main pedestrian mall, and were able to engage many people in conversations about the profession. Physiotherapists also handed out leaflets and informed the public about physiotherapy in 10 other cities and towns.