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Physiother Res Int. 2016 Dec;21(4):237-246. doi: 10.1002/pri.1637. Epub 2015 Aug 12.

Considering the Role of Physical Therapists Within the Treatment and Rehabilitation of Individuals With Eating Disorders: An International Survey of Expert Clinicians.

Author information

1
School of Sport, Exercise and Rehabilitation Sciences, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, B15 2TT, UK.
2
School of Health and Social Care, University of Greenwich, London, SE9 2UG, UK.
3
University Psychiatric Centre, KU Leuven, Leuvensesteenweg 517, B-3070, Kortenberg, Belgium.
4
Department of Neurosciences, KU Leuven, Leuvensesteenweg 517, B-3070, Kortenberg, Belgium.
5
Department of Rehabilitation Sciences, KU Leuven, Tervuursevest 101, B-3001, Leuven, Belgium.
6
Department of Health Sciences, Division of Physiotherapy, Lund University, Lund, Sweden.
7
Faculty of Health and Social Sciences, Department of Occupational Therapy, Physiotherapy and Radiography, Bergen University College, Bergen, Norway.
8
University Carlos III of Madrid, Madrid, Spain.
9
Spanish Association of Physiotherapists in Mental Health, Madrid, Spain.

Abstract

PURPOSE:

Recent research has demonstrated that physical therapy may benefit the physical and mental health of people with eating disorders (EDs). Because this is a new and developing field, this study aimed to investigate the experience, practices and knowledge of international physical therapy experts to inform clinical practice, education and research.

METHODS:

An international cross-sectional survey design was undertaken with experienced physical therapists within the field of EDs. Physical therapist responses were analysed with descriptive statistics and thematic analysis as appropriate.

RESULTS:

Twenty-eight international physical therapists participated. On average, participants had 6.9 years (95% confidence interval: 3.1-10.7, n = 27) of clinical experience working in ED settings and devoted approximately 39.3% (95% confidence interval: 23.8-54.8, n = 27) of their time to treating individuals with EDs. Participants reported that physical therapy interventions have a diverse range of benefits on the physical, mental and disease-specific factors (e.g. binges) in people with EDs. The key role of physical therapists includes improving body awareness, especially during physical activity combined with psycho-education about healthy doses of physical activity. Physical therapists were able to identify a range of barriers and facilitators to physical activity in people with EDs.

DISCUSSION:

This paper provides a first step towards understanding the role and value of physical therapists working with individuals with EDs. Copyright © 2015 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

KEYWORDS:

exercise; mental health; physiotherapy; rehabilitation services

PMID:
26267762
DOI:
10.1002/pri.1637
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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