As the global demand for physiotherapy continues to rise, there is growing concern that the US will soon be overtaken by the likes of Canada and Australia as the number one market for the field.
According to a recent report from the International Physiotherapy Association (IPA), which tracks the demand for international physio, there are now 7.4 million global physiotherapeutic jobs in the US.
The IPA, which is based in Sydney, Australia, said in its report that the demand has doubled since 2008, when the US and Canada combined accounted for the largest percentage of physiotherapist jobs in terms of employment, with China in third place.
China, which has emerged as a global centre for the medical use of massage, is now the largest provider of physiotherapy in the world, according to the IPA report, with the country also having the highest number of physiocomponents per capita.
According the IPA, the US accounted for 5.7% of the world’s total number of jobs in 2009, up from 4.5% in 2006, with Australia accounting for 4.3%.
The report states that the growth in demand has been driven by a number of factors, including the rise in the number of individuals seeking physiotherapy and an increase in international students taking up physiotherapy as a career.
Despite this, it also noted that there are still significant gaps in terms the number and types of physiospecific treatments being offered.
The report also stated that there is still much to be done to ensure that physiotherapy is accessible and affordable for everyone, noting that there have been “several significant changes in policy and practice that have limited access to physiotherapy.”
The IPA also noted the growing popularity of alternative treatments such as massage therapy and acupuncture, which it called “highly innovative”.
This is in contrast to some of the traditional ways of providing physiotherapy that the IPA found have remained stagnant, such as traditional chiropractic and osteopathic therapies, it said.