What is Kinesiology and What do Kinesiologists do?

Kinesiology patient

What is Kinesiology

Kinesiology is a growing profession that aims to optimize health and wellness through the study of the human body. The Greek word “Kinesis” means “to move” so in essence, kinesiology studies the movement of the human body. Registered Kinesiologist, Beth Stulen shares what exactly Kinesiologists do and when you should think about seeing one.

What do Kinesiologists do?

With an education grounded in anatomy, physiology, psychology and biomechanics, kinesiologists are equipped to help you move and function at your best. Kinesiologists guide patients through active rehabilitation of injuries, help with the prevention and management of lifestyle diseases and provide coaching to take your athletic performance to the next level. The end goal is to improve the quality of life through by helping achieving health and wellness goals. Ultimately, they are personal trainers but approach the body with a healthcare lens.

What is the Difference Between a Kinesiologist and Physiotherapist?

Some people can confuse a kinesiologist for a physiotherapist. The difference is boiled down to the purpose of each role. A physiotherapist’s main purpose is to reduce the pain whereas the kinesiologist is to treat injury. A physiotherapist helps reduce the symptoms (pain) but the kinesiologist treats and rehabilitates the cause (injury). You will notice that a physiotherapist uses passive techniques like needling but a kinesiologist will use active rehabilitation techniques like exercises and fitness programming.

How can a Kinesiologist help you?

Kinesiologists are important members of multidisciplinary teams who work together to achieve your goals, whether that’s rehabilitation after a car accident, climbing stairs independently or deadlifting without back pain (this chart nicely lays out the various fields under kinesiology). Through evidence-based research, kinesiologists help prevent and treat injuries using certain methods. Such methods include active rehabilitation, soft tissue release and more. If you have nagging injuries, a disability, chronic disease or simply want to optimize your movement and performance, a Kinesiologist can help!

Who can see a Kinesiologist?

Kinesiology treatment does not require a referral. However, Kinesiologists cannot diagnose specific conditions therefore it is common for Physiotherapists to refer patients to Kinesiologists with a diagnosis to help guide treatment.

  • Someone rehabilitating a physical injury sustained at work, in a car accident, through sport or daily activities
  • Someone without an injury interested in improving their health and well-being through physical activity
  • Someone with a chronic disease such as diabetes, heart disease, osteoporosis who wishes to improve their quality of life through safe exercise


Hopefully the idea of a kinesiologists is much clearer now. Kinesiology is the study of the human body and movement. The end goal is to treat the cause and get down to the root of the problem. If you are dealing with any chronic disease or injury, and are looking to improve your physical activity, a kinesiologist will be the better option over a physiotherapist. You can always give your physiotherapist a call and ask if you qualify to see a kinesiologist and if it is needed.


The Physio Shop specializes in evidence-based physiotherapy and massage therapy in a sweet commercial drive clinic, with a friendly barbershop feel. Plus, we do virtual sessions too, because 2020 right? If you’re dealing with nagging aches and pains, schedule a session with our finest Physiotherapists or Massage Therapists today. Or stop by and say hello to Sophie, that works too.


Canadian Kinesiology Alliance. (n.d.). What is kinesiology? Canadian Kinesiology Alliance. Retrieved October 15, 2021, from https://www.cka.ca/en/what-is-kinesiology.

Who are kinesiologists? British Columbia Association of Kinesologist . (n.d.). Retrieved October 15, 2021, from https://bcak.bc.ca/for-the-public/areas-practice-kinesiologists/.