The End of Physiotherapy is the first book length critical history of the profession ever written. Prompted by the tensions and pressures now being felt by physiotherapists throughout the world, the book seeks answers in the profession’s past. Through a detailed and comprehensive analysis of the principles, practices, systems and structures developed by successive generations of practitioners, teachers and regulators, the book argues that the roots of the profession’s present problems can be found in the way it established its legitimacy and orthodox status. Drawing on a wide range of historical and contemporary sources from the United Kingdom, North America and Australasia, the book explores how neoliberal economic reforms, the burden of chronic illness and lifestyle diseases, the end of the welfare state, and people’s increasing skepticism towards orthodox healthcare, might now be posing challenges that the physiotherapy profession is ill-equipped to answer. The book explores the idea of a physiotherapy paradox, whereby the very conditions that once gave the profession its social standing now threaten to undermine it. The book challenges physiotherapists to reflect on these conditions and see the challenges now being posed as a call for the greatest reform ever undertaken by the profession: a challenge that will require physiotherapists to leave behind the very principles that once made their profession great, and carve out an entirely new professional identity.
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