Physiotherapists have come out loud and clear on the importance of physical exercises to good mental health.
They made this assertion on Monday in Lagos, Nigeria that physical exercise of any sort was vital for good mental health, especially in the treatment of depression.
They said that physiotherapy was also important in the well-being of people suffering long-term health issues.
According to them, physiotherapy and mental health go hand in hand.
The physiotherapists spoke on the sideline of an awareness programme in Ikeja organized by some NGOs to commemorate the World Physical Therapy Day.
The NGOs namely: Pro-Health Community Physiotherapy in partnership with the Physiocrat Team and Mentally Aware Nigeria Initiative, specialize in physical therapy and mental health.
Mr Makinde James, a Physiotherapist with a special interest in the treatment of Orthopedic and Neurological conditions, said:“The message I will like everyone to understand is that physiotherapy is very important when it comes to health and also mental health is very important when it comes to physiotherapy conditions.
“Conditions such as stroke, recovery from fractures, children with poliomyelitis, cerebral palsy or even adults with issues of peripheral nerves (nerves that run along your arms and legs) require physiotherapy.”
James said that persons suffering from long-term conditions needed to know the place of physiotherapy and mental well being in their recovery process.
“In fact, they don’t get healed in a short time, they take a long time, and the longer the recovery time, the more the person is mentally tasked.
“So, it is very important for family members of those that are suffering from these conditions to know how to encourage and positively affirm their care,’’ James said.
A representative of Pro-Health Community Physiotherapy, Mrs. Opeyemi Bakare, urged people to engage in physical activities that they love and to stick to it.
Bakare said: “Exercises help in improving one’s mood because of the adrenalin effect that comes up with exercises.
“People who suffer from chronic illnesses get depressed; not only them but also their caregivers as well.
“As physiotherapists, it’s our job to look out for these signs and also use exercises to help treat depression.
“Exercises make you feel good, improve your self-esteem and momentarily just battles and lowers the effects of depression.
“I advise people to find an activity that they like, do it with a group of friends or even alone stick to it,’’ Bakare said.
Mrs Joy Akumabor, a Physiotherapist from Physio-Craft, however, expressed the hope that Nigeria would see physiotherapy as a multidisciplinary approach in the treatment of chronic illnesses.
“Aside from physical therapy, we hope that we will get to a stage in our country where we see physiotherapy as a multidisciplinary approach to treatment.
“There has been studies abroad even some emanating from here that have shown how physiotherapy can be influential in the management of people with depression, bipolar disorders, e.t.c,’’ Akumabor said.
The Coordinator for Training, Mentally Aware Nigeria Initiative, Mrs Shola Ogunbiyi, said that there was no health without mental health.
“Depression is a mood disorder because it affects your social life as well as your day to day activities.
“Depression is not a feeling; it is an illness just like malaria, tuberculosis and what have you, and people suffering from depression should see a doctor,” she said.
Ogunbiyi said Nigerians lacked the understanding of what mental illnesses were, adding that this was why people focused mostly on physical therapy and neglect mental therapy.
The World Physical Therapy Day is celebrated annually on Sept. 8 to give physical therapists the opportunity to raise awareness about the crucial contributions of their profession to health.
The general theme for each year is “Movement for Health’’, which is usually broken down into different health conditions yearly.
This year’s theme focuses on the role of physiotherapy and physical activity in mental health.
As part of the awareness programme, there were a free screening for different health conditions, counseling, and measurement of anthropological features