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Physiotherapy Vs Physiology: How Are the Two Courses Different?

Pratyush Roy
Pratyush RoyUpdated On: August 21, 2020 04:46 pm IST

People often tend to confuse between Physiotherapy and Physiology as both specialisations have many similarities. However, they have their own set of differences too. Find out all about Physiotherapy and Physiology in detail in this article.

Physiotherapy Vs Physiology: A Comparison

Are you interested in the healthcare sector but do not want to pursue MBBS to become a doctor? There are many fields and specialisations open for the aspirants who wish to make a career in the medical field without being a doctor. Physiotherapy is one such course that you can choose.

On the other hand, if after MBBS, you want to study in-depth about the exercises and addressing the problems of the human body, Physiology is a good option to pursue as a post-graduate level of study. People generally confuse between Physiotherapy and Physiology and this confusion has valid reasons as many things are similar in both the courses. In the article below, we will discuss in detail about the differences and similarities between the two courses.

Physiotherapy and Physiology are both medical services rendered to a person in need of medical help. It is essential to know the similarities between Physiotherapists and Physiologists first before talking about the differences.

What is Physiotherapy?

Physiotherapy or ‘Physical Therapy’ is an allied medical course which tries to address a patient's problem he/she has developed from any disease or accident which results in the loss of mobility or pain in certain locations of a body, especially in moving body parts, bones, tissues etc. Physiotherapy has been there as a popular practice for ages. Students can study Bachelors of Physiotherapy (BPT) or B.Sc in Physiotherapy as one of the most popular bachelor's courses in the sector.

Job Responsibilities of a Physiotherapist

A physiotherapist is more likely to work with people who have met with an accident or any other incident which has caused the patient injury or loss in mobility. Physiotherapists follow the doctor's direction to prescribe exercises. The exercises prescribed by the physiotherapist aim to restore the movement of the organs or body-parts which have been affected. A Physiotherapist does not only prescribes exercises but also uses medical technological equipment to address the problems in a better way using exercises.

The key responsibilities of a physiotherapist include the following:

  • Organising exercise session as a part of therapy
  • Helping the patient recover from illness, accident or injury
  • Making detailed reports for future exercise planning and development evaluation
  • Assisting doctors and nurses if required
  • Following the directions given by doctors before prescribing exercises
  • Educate the patient about the exercises and their benefits for mental motivation

What is Physiology?

Physiology is a comparatively new course in the allied health sciences and it is a detailed study of the anatomy of the body and its origins but unlike physiotherapy, Physiology can also be studied in the case of animals, plants, birds, etc rather than just the human body. Physiology is a sub-discipline of Biology. Physiology is mostly studied at the postgraduate level. MD in physiology is a very popular course. At the bachelor's level. some colleges also offer B.Sc in Physiology.

Job Responsibilities of a Physiologist

A physiologist usually works with healthcare institutes and deals with the issues of the respiratory system, heart, brain, and more. Unlike the physiotherapist, Physiologists handle issues which are more internal in nature. A physiologist also prescribes exercises but it can be at the prevention level as well. In a healthcare institution, the job responsibilities of a Physiologist include the following:

  • Monitor and record patients' health and medical performance while exercising and under medication, make thorough observation over time to deliver results to the physician.
  • Use medical equipment and machinery (if needed) while making a patient go through the exercise of lungs and heart.
  • Performing tests to evaluate physical and mental stress levels.
  • Work hand-in-hand with physiotherapists and assess the medical performance of a patent in response to physiotherapy.

Similarities between Physiotherapy and Physiology

Following are some of the similarities between the two courses-Physiotherapy and Physiology

  • Both Physiology and Physiotherapy belong to the allied health course.
  • A person who is studying physiology and another one who is studying physiotherapy get training for 4 years in their course. There are a number of similarities in both sectors. Both include studying some common subjects such as the nervous system functions, like anatomy, biomechanics and cardiopulmonary functions.
  • Both physiotherapy and physiology are utilised for the overall health and mobility of a patient irrespective of age with an aim to develop the quality of life.

Differences Between Physiotherapy and Physiology

Both the courses seem to be similar but they do have some differences as well. The main difference lies in what the two courses focus upon and the kind of exercises that are a part of the courses:



Mainly musculoskeletal disorders, which means, disorders regarding muscle and bones are treated by physiotherapy. This includes some medical conditions such as arthritis, joint aches, back pain, cardiorespiratory ailments like emphysema, asthma, neurological disorders like Parkinson’s disease, stroke and post-surgery complications, etc.

Physiology focuses on increasing metabolism and vigour as the course of treatment along with rehabilitation. The diseases mainly treated by physiological exercises are obesity, hypertension, diabetes, immunity complexities, arthritis etc.

Physiotherapy uses some specific methods to address these problems one by one. The techniques used by Physiotherapy are manipulation, electrotherapy, mobilisation, therapeutic physiotherapy exercises, and gentle massage. These are performed by trained physiotherapists after evaluating the patient’s physical conditions.

Physiological treatments are not rendered only after identifying the problem. The treatment to lower any kind of discomfort before the proper diagnosis is a part of physiology exercises. In physiology, a proper plan is designed with the mainstream treatment and modifications in lifestyle and behaviour.

Physiotherapy can be studied at the Bachelors's level (BPT) course.

Physiology is a higher academic course at the Post Graduate level medical science. One has to complete MBBS before opting for MD in Physiology.

Physiotherapy Colleges in India

A 4 Year BPT course is gaining popularity day by day in India. People are also going for B.Sc in Physiotherapy. Whereas BPT is a 4-year course, B.Sc Physiotherapy is a 3 years course. BPT is slightly more popular as it deals with more technicalities required in the profession. Let us have a look at the Top Physiotherapy colleges in India below:

College Name

Apex College For Girls (ACG), Jaipur

IIMT University (IIMTU), Meerut

Jayoti Vidyapeeth Women's University - JVWU, Jaipur

Garden City University - (GCU), Bangalore

Sanskriti University, Mathura

Marwadi University (MU), Rajkot

The ICFAI University, Jaipur

Mansarovar Global University (MGU), Sehore

Guru Kashi University (GKU), Bathinda

Physiology Colleges in India

Mostly, Physiology is studied at the postgraduate level. The degree offered in Physiology is MD (doctor of medicine) which is the highest academic degree for medical studies. People can study physiology after completing their graduation in medical courses. Some of the top colleges which offer Physiology admission in India are as follows:

Kalinga Institute of Industrial Technology (KIIT), Bhubaneswar

Shyam University (SU), Dausa

Centurion University of Technology and Management (CUTM), Bhubaneswar

Siksha 'O' Anusandhan University - SOA Bhubaneswar

Well explore the colleges mentioned below and if you feel like knowing more about them or want to apply, fill out our Common Application Form (CAF) and our education experts will guide you through the entire admission process. If you have any questions, you can avail FREE counselling by calling on our tollfree number 1800-572-9877.

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If you are interested in taking admissions to any one of the Physiotherapy or Physiology colleges in India, then you can fill out the Common Application Form, available on our website. For more interesting articles on medical topics, stay tuned to CollegeDekho


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