Physical therapy combines medical treatment methods which use natural reactions on external irritants/stimuli.
The name for this type of therapy is related to the term physiology, the teachings of natural bodily functions.
Effect and effectiveness of physical therapy can be explained by the stimulus-response model, the physiological reaction of the body to external stimuli. Types of reaction to irritants can be identified as follows:
- Direct effect (e.g. flush/reddening of the skin)
- Adaptation (e. g. alleviation of pain or auditory sensitivity)
- Longterm adaption / conditioning (e. g. strengthening of muscles)
Physical therapy is a so-called passive treatment and therefore does not involve any action or active movement by the patient. The body, however, reacts according to the stimulus-response principle, causing certain changes to, for example, blood flow or blood pressure to take place.