About Osteopathy

What Is Osteopathy?

Osteopathy is an established and recognised system of diagnosis and treatment for a wide range of medical conditions. It works with the structure and function of the body, and is based on the principle that the well-being of an individual depends on the skeleton, muscles, ligaments and connective tissues functioning smoothly together.
To an osteopath, for your body to work well, its structure must also work well. So osteopaths work to restore your body to a state of balance, where possible without the use of drugs or surgery.

Osteopaths use touch, physical manipulation, stretching and massage to increase the mobility of joints, to relieve muscle tension, to enhance the blood and nerve supply to tissues, and to help your body’s own healing mechanisms. They may also provide advice on posture and exercise to aid recovery, promote health and prevent symptoms recurring.

Regulation of Osteopaths and Training Standards

In 1993, osteopathy became the first major complementary health care profession to be accorded statutory recognition under the 1993 Osteopaths Act. All osteopaths in the UK are regulated by the General Osteopathic Council (GOsC). It is against the law for anyone to call themselves an osteopath unless they are registered with the GOsC, which sets and promotes high standards of competency, conduct and safety.
All osteopaths practising in the UK have completed rigorous training. Students of osteopathy follow a four year full time course during which they study anatomy, physiology, pathology, pharmacology, nutrition and biomechanics. In addition they undergo a minimum of 1,000 hours of clinical supervised training.

NHS and Osteopathy

Most osteopaths work in the private sector, either alone or in a group practice Osteopaths are considered primary health practitioners and therefore you do not need to be referred from your GP for private treatment.

Osteopathy is not considered an alternative to conventional medicine but complementary to it and, as such, osteopaths are always willing to co-operate with your GP. Although a wide range of conditions can be helped through osteopathy, not everything that goes wrong can be addressed by an osteopath. Osteopaths are trained to recognise medical conditions which require further investigation (x-ray, MRI, other scans) and will not hesitate to refer you to your GP.