What is the difference between Physiotherapy, Biokinetics, Chiropractic and Massage Therapy?

  • Physiotherapy (click here for more information) – An orthopaedic and sports physiotherapist is a degreed allied health practitioner skilled in orthopaedic and neuro-musculoskeletal diagnosis, treatment and management of the client. Note that rehabilitation, manipulation and massage are in the scope of practice of the physiotherapist. However, physiotherapists vary in their skill set and approaches based on post-degree and/ or higher degree education. These practitioners are sanctioned by and required to be members of the HPSCA (Health Professional Council of South Africa) and the South African Society of Physiotherapy.
  • Biokinetics – A ‘bio’, as biokineticists are often called, is an allied health practitioner specialized in the rehabilitative modality of exercise. Being degreed individuals, they are educated in final phase rehabilitation and prescriptive exercise interventions for the health promotion and maintenance of special populations. The scope of practice of biokinetics does not include the manual physiotherapeutic approaches of mobilisation, manipulation, dry needling and direct soft tissue release of the musculoskeletal system. These practitioners are sanctioned by and required to be members of the HPSCA (Health Professional Council of South Africa).
  • Chiropractic – A chiropractor is a degreed practitioner titled a Doctor of Chiropractic. Chiropractic involves adjustments of the subluxation complex of the spine. These adjustments, when appropriately applied, are very effective when administered by a skilled Chiropractor. They are not, however, a fix-all for all spinal pain or pathology. Some chiropractors administer treatment to areas beyond the spine and may employ modalities similar to those used in physiotherapy. These practitioners are governed by the Allied Health Professional Council and not the HPSCA (Health Professional Council of South Africa).
  • Massage Therapy – Massage is very useful for therapeutic or relaxation purposes. Massage therapy can take several different forms. Massage therapists are certified by their institute of learning, and are not in any way educated in diagnosis or rehabilitation.
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