Opportunities in physiotherapy

Coordinator of the Master of Physiotherapy, Balaji Sivapiragasam, demonstrates the proper techniques to his students in the Rehabilitation Lab.

MALAYSIA is in dire need of more physiotherapy practitioners.

According to health awareness digital media platform Code Blue, Tangga Batu MP Bakri Jamaluddin says that with only 4,500 physiotherapists in Malaysia, the ratio of physiotherapists to the population is 1:7,300 – which is much lower than the World Health Organization’s recommended ratio of 1:200.

Ironically, physiotherapy is also one of the top emerging careers in helping people recover from injuries or illnesses to improve their quality of life.

A degree in physiotherapy allows for a flexible career that can be practised in various settings, including hospitals, clinics and even sports teams.

As the most recognised healthcare expert in the movement system, physiotherapists play a crucial role in the medical system as the preferred movement specialists for all pathologies that impede mobility.

A physiotherapist’s key role is to incorporate physical, psychological, emotional and social well-being to help people recover from injury, reduce pain and stiffness, increase mobility and movement, and maximise function and quality of life.

This role is also flexible enough for practitioners to take house calls for home care therapy which is in high demand for geriatric patients in particular.

“Malaysia will officially be considered an ageing country in 2030, with people aged 60 years and over surpassing 15% of the working population,” says University of Cyberjaya’s Master of Physiotherapy programme coordinator Balaji Sivapiragasam.

“A situation like this creates job opportunities for physiotherapists upon graduating, creating many future opportunities to help them manage pain and prevent disease.”

On the other hand, there is also the exciting field of sports that a physiotherapist can dabble in. The future of physiotherapy lies in the rise of hybrid coaches and therapists who are experts in the strength and conditioning aspects of human movement.

A physiotherapist in sports can work in a wide variety of settings and be involved in social and club-level sports, as well as attend training sessions.

The glamorous role includes working in an elite athlete setting, in competitive and professional sports, which involves working and travelling with them and their teams.

A physiotherapist may also choose to specialise in neurology, which helps patients who have suffered a stroke, had a traumatic brain injury or were diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease.

A neurological physiotherapist plays a crucial role in helping to rehabilitate and slow down physical deterioration. This includes the fulfilling act of helping children with disabilities achieve developmental milestones.

Another specialism that physiotherapists can opt for is in the musculoskeletal field. A specialist musculoskeletal physiotherapist reviews, assesses and provides management plans for patients with complex conditions.

An injury to bones, joints, muscles, tendons, ligaments or nerves are the most common causes of musculoskeletal pain. This therapy is usually recommended to address accidental injuries and sports injuries, as well as resolve physical impairment due to lifestyle and ageing.

The Masters of Physiotherapy programme at University of Cyberjaya is one of the latest additions specifically designed to expand the body of knowledge in physiotherapy.

The new programme, which offers a choice of two specialisations in Advanced Musculoskeletal or Neurology, hopes to advance the subject understanding with its innovative curriculum and research advantages.

Students can start with a Bachelor’s in Physiotherapy at the university before pursuing their postgraduate studies, as the programme consists of a curriculum design based on the World Confederation for Physical Therapy’s recommendations.

“The university has recognised that physiotherapy is a skill-based profession and has lavishly allocated more than 5,000sq ft for a physiotherapy lab furnished with state-of-the-art equipment,” says Balaji.

“There is a good mixture of Malaysian and international students, as the course structure is based on the international standard, apart from fulfilling the Malaysian Qualifications Agency’s criteria.”

The university recently inked a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with AdipoLABs Healthcare (M) Sdn Bhd, which is a dynamic and innovative organisation dedicated to conducting extensive research and development activities to create cutting-edge technologies and introduce new products of the highest quality.

The partnership will see University of Cyberjaya house a first-of-its-kind medical device at its physiotherapy lab for research and collaboration opportunities.

The Pain Bot is an advanced pain detection and treatment technology that is new to the nation.

“It is truly an honour to collaborate with the University of Cyberjaya. With this MoU, I hope we can expand the boundaries of technology and strengthen the relationship between Malaysia and Korea.

“We hope the research conducted here can benefit Malaysian patients suffering from pain and discomfort,” says AdipoLABs chief executive officer Han Sung-ho.

Besides the physiotherapy programmes, the Faculty of Allied Health Sciences at University of Cyberjaya also offer programmes on Biomedical Engineering Technology, and Medical and Health Science.

The Biomedical Engineering Technology programme provides an in-depth knowledge of medical instrumentation, biomechanics, medical imaging and more. The Medical and Health Science programme, on the other hand, provides students with a wealth of expertise in patient care, allowing them to seek a career as assistant medical officers.

You can now enrol at University of Cyberjaya and be part of the technology-driven Faculty of Allied Health Sciences.

To find out more about the programmes and scholarships offered, visit cyberjaya.edu.my/studyphysiotherapy, e-mail studywithus@cyberjaya.edu.my or message the university’s education counsellors via WhatsApp at 011- 1112 3344.

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