Linking Body and Mind - the Key to Effective Physiotherapy


Welcome to Helsinki 8-10 February 2021


As Chair of ICPPMH 2020 Organising Committee and on behalf of the Finnish Association of Psychophysical Physiotherapy it is my great pleasure to welcome you all to the 8th International Conference of Physiotherapy in Psychiatry and Mental Health in Helsinki, Finland.


This is the biannual conference of the International Organisation of Physical Therapy in Mental Health (IOPTMH): http://www.ioptmh.org/

The theme of this year, Linking Body and Mind - the Key to Effective Physiotherapy, highlights the direction of the physiotherapy field and research around the world. How can this new research and knowledge be implemented into clinical work?


Physiotherapy in mental health is person centered and process-related work. We as physiotherapists study and work with the moving and living body. We study the movement quality, reflect the movements and promote new movement opportunities to our patients.

Do we support or suppress patients willingness to move? We need to meet and treat the whole person, not just one body part. We can't just do "tricks". We need to include  something more, and that something is


We work in a world where depression, anxiety and chronic pain are increasing. What do we know about the evolution of mind and body, i.e.  why do we have emotions like depression or anxiety, or why is pain an

important sensation? We face many kinds of new challenges that science cannot yet explain. We work with patients with different types of functional disorders, unexplained pain, traumatizing backgrounds etc.

Unfortunately we have to approach and work with the ugly parts of life too. For example, the after effects of school shootings, wars, torture and exile on the person. We need to consider the body as well as the mind when treating these people. Today we know that all the feelings and emotions are bodily experienced. Facing these issues daily at work, it’s truly important also to take care of ourselves as professionals.

The conference provides a forum for physiotherapists to meet and share knowledge of education, research, clinical practice, and to discuss important professional issues within the field of Physiotherapy in

Psychiatry and Mental Health.

You are all warmly welcome to Finland!

Tanja Balk,

Chair of the Finnish Association of Psychophysical Physiotherapy