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Massachusetts Physical Therapy Scope of Practice

Definition of Physical Therapy

''Physical therapy'', a health profession that utilizes the application of scientific principles for the identification, prevention, remediation and rehabilitation of acute or prolonged physical dysfunction thereby promoting optimal health and function. Physical therapy practice is evaluation, treatment and instruction related to neuromuscular, musculoskeletal, cardiovascular and respiratory functions. Such evaluation shall include but is not limited to performance and interpretation of tests as an aid to the diagnosis or planning of treatment programs. Such treatment shall include but is not limited to the use of therapeutic exercise, physical activities, mobilization, functional and endurance training, traction, bronchopulmonary hygiene postural drainage, temporary splinting and bracing, massage, heat, cold, water, radiant energy, electricity or sound. Such instruction shall include teaching both patient and family physical therapy procedures as part of a patient's ongoing program. Physical therapy also shall include the delegating of selective forms of treatment to physical therapist assistants and physical therapy aides; provided, however, that the physical therapist so delegating shall assume the responsibility for the care of the patient and the supervision of the physical therapist assistant or physical therapy aide.

Physical therapy shall also include the providing of consultation services for health, educational, and community agencies.


Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 112 ยง 23A

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