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Advertising apples as oranges? Such type of misleading advertising occurs with health care services, too. In some states the term “physical therapy” is misrepresented or inappropriately advertised to the public by individuals who are not licensed as physical therapists. This characterization is misleading to the public, illegal in some states, and an issue of public protection for patients who think they are under the care of a licensed physical therapist, but in reality are not.

“Physical therapy” is not a generic term—it describes the care provided by or under the direction of licensed physical therapists. When people seek “physical therapy” they deserve to know their care is in the hands of a licensed physical therapist. Other health care providers might share some of the same treatment techniques or rehabilitative procedures used by physical therapists, but the care should only be described or advertised as “physical therapy” or “physiotherapy” when provided by or under the direction of a licensed physical therapist.

While two health care professions may share common elements, labeling them the same thing is not right—it’s like comparing apples to oranges.