The effect of psychomotor physical therapy on subjective health complaints and psychological symptoms

Physiother Res Int. 2010 Dec;15(4):212-21. doi: 10.1002/pri.462.


Background and purpose: The objective of this study was to examine the effect of Norwegian psychomotor physical therapy on subjective health complaints and psychological symptoms.

Method: A non-randomized waiting list controlled design was used. Physiotherapists in Norway recruited patients for a treatment group (n = 40) and waiting list control group (n = 22). Patients on the waiting list could only be included for 6 months, as they then started treatment. Symptoms registration was obtained from both groups at baseline and 6 months, and only for the treatment group also at 12 months. The following self-report forms were used; Subjective Health Complaints Inventory (SCH); Beck Depression Inventory-II (BDI-II); Spielberger State-Trait Anxiety Inventory-Trait (STAI-T); Bergen Insomnia Scale (BIS); Fatigue Questionnaire (FQ); Quality of Life Inventory (QOLI); The Client Satisfaction Questionnaire (CSQ).

Results: The patients had had widespread and clinically significant health problems for an average of 9 years upon entrance to the study. After 6 months in psychomotor physical therapy, all the measured symptoms in the treatment group were significantly reduced, but only quality of life was significantly reduced when compared to the waiting list control group. After 12 months in therapy, the patients in the treatment group had continued to improve on all measured variables. The symptoms of anxiety and depression, as well as quality of life, were improved from clinical to non-clinical level.

Conclusions: Norwegian psychomotor physical therapy seems to have potential for reducing symptoms of subjective health complaints, depression, anxiety, insomnia, fatigue and improving quality of life, although the process takes time. Further research is needed to gain more rigorous data, and randomized controlled studies are highly welcomed.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anxiety / therapy*
  • Depression
  • Fatigue / therapy*
  • Female
  • Health Status
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Physical Therapy Modalities*
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales
  • Psychomotor Performance*
  • Quality of Life* / psychology
  • Sleep Initiation and Maintenance Disorders / therapy*
  • Stress, Psychological / therapy
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Waiting Lists