Ever wondered what Osteopathy is? Here’s an explanation…

Osteopathy is a 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 wellbeing 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 you body’s own healing mechanisms. They may also provide advice on posture and exercise to aid recovery, promote health and prevent symptoms recurring.

Source: https://www.osteopathy.org.uk/visiting-an-osteopath/about-osteopathy/

What do osteopaths treat?
Training and Regulation
"Osteopaths provide safe, effective treatment and care that aims to promote the health of patients. Using manual therapy, health advice and sometimes exercise, tailored to the needs of the individual, people of all ages see osteopaths, from babies to the elderly"
Source: Institute of Osteopathy

Osteopaths must train at university for at least 4 years before completing their Masters in Osteopathy. Their degree includes lecture-based learning, written assignments, clinical based work, clinical exams and a dissertation. In order to graduate, students must have completed at least 1000 hours of clinic practice by the end of their course.

Once an osteopath has graduated, they are able to apply to the register of osteopaths, governed by the General Osteopathic Council (GOsC). By doing this, they can then legally use the term “osteopath”. According to the 1993 “Osteopaths Act”, anyone who isn’t registered with the GOsC can not use the title “osteopath”. It is protected by law.


After graduating, some osteopaths then carry on their formal studies to concentrate their work to a specific group of people. Some specialisms include: Paediatric osteopathy and Equine or Animal osteopathy. The degree of training within these post-graduate courses vary.

According to the GOsC, osteopaths must undergo at least 30 hours of study each year in order to maintain their membership and registration with the GOsC. This needs to be a mixture of formal courses as well as independent study.

Recently, osteopathy was added onto the list of allied health professions (AHP), recognised by the NHS. Other allied health professions include:

  • Art Therapists

  • Drama Therapists

  • Music Therapists

  • Chiropodists / Podiatrists

  • Dietitians

  • Occupational Therapists

  • Operating Department Practitioners

  • Orthoptists

  • Osteopaths

  • Paramedics

  • Physiotherapists

  • Prosthetists and Orthotists

  • Radiographers

  • Speech & Language Therapists

Source: General Osteopathic Council, https://www.osteopathy.org.uk/training-and-registering/becoming-an-osteopath/

Source: NHS, https://www.england.nhs.uk/ahp/role/