How Physical Therapy Helps to Cope with Mental Health  

August 16, 2021 • By Benjamin Wilson
The estimated reading time is 3 minutes

Physiotherapy in mental health is an area within physical therapy responsible for recognizing and treating physical problems associated with mental disorders, being of great help for individuals with these characteristics.

Considering how mental health has deteriorated during the last year and a half, due to the forced quarantine and the pandemic situation, it has become even more urgent to take a deeper look into this matter.

Among patients with mental disorders, somatic disorders can be observed that, curiously, appear more frequently. For example, about 70 percent of patients with anxiety disorder show joint hypermobility.

Another example is the high prevalence of metabolic syndrome in patients diagnosed with schizophrenia, the life expectancy of these patients is 20 years less than "normal". The main risk factor is cardiovascular problems.

Physical therapy in mental health encompasses a wide number of techniques aimed at improving mental disorders:

  • Therapeutic exercise
  • Basal Body Awareness Therapy
  • Psychomotor therapy

Physiotherapy in mental health has shown scientific evidence in:

  • Schizophrenia
  • Depression
  • Eating Disorders
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Addictive behaviors

If in mental disorders the symptoms coexist with psychic pathology, through a multidisciplinary team, it will be necessary to implement a physical approach that is adapted to a comprehensive treatment.

Mental health physiotherapy

We will say that physiotherapy is responsible for studying the movement of the human body, it intervenes in the different dysfunctions that patients present, focusing on the prevention, evaluation, promotion, and treatment of different pathologies, it favors independence, autonomy and it has a very positive impact on the lives of patients.

Physiotherapy plays a very important role in mental disorders since it improves and reduces the physical problems caused by mental illness due to the adverse effects that can be traduced in physical and mental deterioration caused by this type of condition, or by medications.

Main considerations

We will see the large number of bodily symptoms that show the close relationship and interaction between the psyche and the body. For instance:

  • In depressive disorders, hypotonia, a generalized flexion pattern with internal rotation of the shoulders, and chronic fatigue usually appear.
  • In states of anxiety, in which you usually feel tremors, muscle tension, shallow breathing, increased heart rate, and tingling.

This somatization shows how mental disorders directly affect the physical state of people and vice versa, finding here the foundation of physical therapy in mental health, since physical therapy has a direct impact on the mental health of patients.


When patients with mental disorders are intervened, different techniques such as coordination and balance exercises are implemented, strength is worked through the resistance provided by your own body. Memory work is also implemented through the execution of cognitive stimuli.

Other passive activities but with good results are relaxation exercises, breathing exercises, body awareness, and postural hygiene. All these techniques have been shown to delay the negative effects of mental conditions including the emotional component as well as the physical and cognitive component.

Another method to consider is aerobic exercise. It is recommended for activities such as cycling, swimming, walking, or playing sports.


Undoubtedly, a health discipline such as physical therapy, whether oriented to mental health or with a motor approach, is a specialty - practically millenary - that helps and encourages patients to recover from their ailments with comprehensive methods.

If you require physical therapy services, at Miracle Physical Therapy and Massage Center they have qualified professionals specialized in physical and mental rehabilitation. They are located in Farmington and Warren, in the state of Michigan. Check out here:

They will accompany you in a personalized way throughout your treatment. Health is your number one priority!

Benjamin Wilson

He is a fitness trainer and part-time blogger interested in nutrition and in leading a healthy lifestyle. He writes smart and inspirational articles on nutrition supported by scientific research and his own personal experience in the healthcare industry.
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