Physical Therapy vs. Physiotherapy: Navigating the Similarities and Differences at Union Health and Performance

Rehabilitation and wellness are fields rich with terminology that can sometimes be confusing. ‘Physical therapy’ and ‘physiotherapy‘ are terms that are often thought to be synonymous, yet they carry subtle distinctions that may affect the treatment approach. At Union Health and Performance in Squamish, we prioritize client education, helping you understand these terms to make informed choices about your health journey. This blog post will demystify the terms physical therapy and physiotherapy.

Understanding the Terms

Physical Therapy is the term predominantly used in the United States, while Physiotherapy is more commonly used in Canada and other countries. Both aim to empower patients to overcome physical challenges, whether it’s due to injury, surgery, or chronic conditions.

Scope of Practice

Physical therapists and physiotherapists are professionals who employ evidence-based techniques to assist patients in achieving their fullest potential in movement and function. Their practice encompasses:

  • Injury prevention
  • Rehabilitation from injury or surgery
  • Management of acute and chronic conditions
  • Enhancement of health and fitness

Educational Pathways

In the U.S., practitioners complete a Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) program, while in Canada, physiotherapists typically graduate with a master’s degree in physiotherapy. Both educational routes involve comprehensive training in the science of movement and hands-on clinical experience.

Treatment Modalities

The treatment modalities used by physical therapists and physiotherapists often overlap and can include:

  • Manual therapy techniques
  • Tailored exercise programs
  • Movement and function analysis
  • Patient education and lifestyle advice

Union Health and Performance’s Unified Approach

At Union Health and Performance, we blend the best practices from both physical therapy and physiotherapy to provide a holistic approach to care. Our services are designed to:

  • Enhance mobility and strength
  • Reduce pain and discomfort
  • Improve overall function and performance
  • Educate on self-management strategies for long-term health

The Canadian Perspective

In Canada, ‘physical therapy’ and ‘physiotherapy’ are considered equivalent, both in legal terms and in practice. Professionals in this field are held to the same high standards of practice and patient care, regardless of the term used.

The Essence of Care

What truly matters is not the label but the effectiveness of the treatment and the care provided. At Union Health and Performance, our team is committed to excellence, whether they are referred to as physical therapists or physiotherapists.


Whether you’re exploring physical therapy or physiotherapy, the goal is the same: to facilitate recovery and enhance quality of life. At Union Health and Performance in Squamish, we’re dedicated to providing exceptional rehabilitative care, guiding you towards achieving your personal health and wellness goals.