What is Osteopathy?

Osteopathy is a well-established and well-recognised system of diagnosis and treatment, with its main emphasis on the structural and functional integrity of the body. It is distinctive from other forms of treatment since it recognises that much of the pain and disability we suffer stems from abnormalities in the functioning of the body’s structure and from possible damage caused to the body by disease.

Osteopathy examines all aspects of the body: muscles, nerves, ligaments and joints, and then seeks to restore a state of balance (homeostasis) by treating the body's functionality as a whole.

How does Osteopathy work?

Osteopaths use a highly developed sense of touch (palpation) to assess areas of weakness, tenderness or restriction and to diagnose dysfunction and dis-ease within the body. This unique approach to the assessment and treatment of the whole body is just one of the many things that makes Osteopathy so successful.

After diagnosis, the osteopath can usually apply various manual techniques to restore harmony to the body:

Is Osteopathy regulated?

There are several organisations throughout the UK known as health and social care regulators. These organisations oversee the health and social care professions by regulating individual professionals.

General Osteopathic Council

In May of 1998, the General Osteopathic Council (GOsC) opened a statutory register of all osteopaths operating within the UK; two years later (May 2000) this transitional registration period ended and Osteopathy became a protected and regulated profession. It is now a criminal offence for anyone to offer osteopathic services unless they are registered with the GOsC.

The GOsC continuously regulates, promotes and develops the profession of Osteopathy and maintains the statutory register of those entitled to practise. Only practitioners that meet GOsC's high standards of safety and competence, and that carry professional indemnity insurance, are eligible to join the register.

British Osteopathic Association

The British Osteopathic Association (BOA) operates in a similar way to the General Osteopathic Council in that it promotes the Osteopathic profession and offers continuous professional development to its members. The BOA also offers osteopathic News items, NHS guidance packs, various business services and osteopathic indemnity insurance.

What Qualifications does an Osteopath require?

In order to practise Osteopathy legally, potential practitioners must have completed a four to five-year honours degree at a recognised university and must be registered with the General Osteopathy Council.