You are on page 1of 7

Facts About Osteopathic Medicine

5. Osteopathic Medicine Treats the Whole Person
Musculoskeletal manipulation helps repair the brain/body connection so the body may heal itself.

6. Osteopaths Perform Musculoskeletal Manipulation

An Osteopath treats not only disease but the entire person, focusing on physical, mental, and emotional
health.
10. Former President George Bush Employed an Osteopath as His
Primary Doctor


About osteopathy
This page provides an overview of what osteopathy is, what osteopathic treatment involves and the regulation of osteopathy. There are currently 4,818
osteopaths (as at 5 November 2013) on the UK Statutory Register of Osteopaths.
What osteopathy is
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 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 osteopathy
All osteopaths in the UK are regulated by the General Osteopathic Council (GOsC).
Osteopaths are required to renew their registration each year and we provide registrants with an annual licence to practise. As part of this process, the
GOsC checks that osteopaths have current professional indemnity insurance, remain in good health and of good character, and
have met mandatory continuing professional development requirements.
Protection of title
The title 'osteopath' is protected by law. 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. The GOsC can, and will, prosecute individuals who practise as
osteopaths when they are not on the GOsC Register. For information about what to do if you think someone is practising as an osteopath but is not on
the Register, see our Protection of title page.
Further information
See Osteopathy in practice to learn more about the profession and use the Register to find a local osteopath. You can also download our information
leaflets What to expect from your osteopath and Standards of osteopathic care.
Who and what do osteopaths treat?
Osteopaths’ patients include the young, older people, manual workers, office professionals, pregnant women, children and sports people. Patients
seek treatment for a wide variety of conditions, including back pain, changes to posture in pregnancy, postural problems caused by driving or work
strain, the pain of arthritis and minor sports injuries.
Feedback
We welcome comments and feedback about this website and the information on it. If you have any comments or if you have not been able to find the
information you want in this section or on the website as a whole, please contact us by using the form on the Contact us page or by
emailing info@osteopathy.org.uk.

Visiting an osteopath
On this page we explain what happens when you visit an osteopath, what a treatment is likely to cost and how to find a local osteopath. You can also
download our public information leaflet What to expect from your osteopath.
Before your first appointment
Check that the osteopath is registered with the General Osteopathic Council (GOsC), the regulatory body for osteopathy. You can do this by
checking the Register on this website which lists osteopaths by name and location, or by calling us on 020 7357 6655.
Osteopathic practices should be able to provide information about the osteopath, the clinic, what the treatment involves, payment methods and
anything you need to know in advance of your first visit.
Listening and examining
Osteopathy is a patient-centred, system of healthcare. A first appointment generally lasts about 45 minutes to an hour to allow
the osteopath adequate time to:
 listen and ask questions about your problem, your general health, other medical care you are receiving or medication
you are taking, and record this in your case notes.
The information you provide will be confidential;
 examine you properly. It is likely the osteopath will ask you
to remove some of your clothing. Tell your osteopath if you
are uncomfortable about this. You should expect privacy to undress and a gown or towel should be provided. You can
ask a friend or relative to accompany you and be present throughout your treatment;
 ask you to make simple movements and stretches to observe your posture and mobility. Because of the body’s structure, pain or
stiffness you are experiencing in one part may be linked to a problem elsewhere;
 examine the health of the joints, tissues and ligaments using their hands and a highly developed sense of touch called palpation.
Your osteopath will also check for signs of serious conditions they cannot treat and may advise you to see your GP or go to hospital. They should
provide you with a letter explaining what they believe to be the problem.
Diagnosis and treatment
Osteopathy specialises in the diagnosis, management, treatment and
prevention of musculoskeletal and other related disorders.
Your osteopath will give you a clear explanation of what they find (their diagnosis) and discuss a treatment plan that is suitable for you. They will
explain the benefits and any risks of the treatment they are recommending. It is important to understand and agree what the treatment can achieve,
and the likely number of sessions needed for a noticeable improvement in how you feel.
Treatment is hands-on and involves skilled manipulation of the spine and joints, and massage of soft tissues. Your osteopath will explain what they are
doing and will always ask your permission to treat you (known as consent). Ask questions at any time if you are unsure what you have been told or if
you have any concerns.
Self-help measures and advice on exercise may be offered to assist your recovery, prevent recurrence or worsening of symptoms.
How much does it cost?
Most people visit an osteopath as a private patient and pay for their treatment. Fees can depend on the osteopath’s experience and the location of the
practice, but can typically range from £35 to £50 for a 30-minute session.
If you have private health insurance it may be possible to claim for your treatment. You will need to ask your insurance company about the available
level of cover and whether you need to be referred by your GP or a specialist.
All the osteopathic training schools have clinics attached, where students train, supervised by qualified osteopaths. Patients can get treatment there at
reduced rates. See our list of training schools to find out whether there is a training school clinic near you.
Ongoing care
Because of the physical nature of the treatment, it is not unusual to sometimes feel sore in the first 24-48 hours after treatment. Your osteopath will
explain any likely reactions that you could expect. If you have any concerns it is important to contact the osteopath and ask their advice. It may require
more than one visit before your problem is resolved. The osteopath will review your progress at each subsequent visit and seek your consent to any
changes to your treatment plan.
Is referral from a doctor necessary?
Most patients 'self refer' to an osteopath for treatment. You can use the statutory Register of osteopaths on this website to find local osteopaths.
Although referral by a GP is not necessary, you are encouraged to keep your GP fully informed, so that your medical records are current and complete.
This will ensure your receive the best possible care from both health professionals. With your permission, your osteopath may send a report to your GP
with details of your condition and treatment. You can also request a letter for your employer if this is helpful.
Feedback
We welcome comments and feedback about this website and the information on it. If you have any comments or if you have not been able to find the
information you want in this section or on the website as a whole, please contact us by using the form on the Contact us page or by
emailing info@osteopathy.org.uk.



An Illustration Often Seen
Very often we come into personal contact with cases which illustrate this clearly. Two people are exposed
to the same disease. One escapes entirely.
The other contracts it and becomes sick. The explanation lies in the physical condition of the two bodies.
In one, a normal condition prevails.
Nature is unhampered. All of her processes are being carried on. All of her duties are being discharged
without interference. In the other, resistance has been weakened by impaired nervous forces. Somewhere
something has prevented the machinery of nature from working properly. The body has been rendered
helpless to self-protection and sickness has occurred
as the inevitable result. The Osteopathic method of treating the body which
has succumbed to disease will be the process of locat- ing the disordered structure which interferes with
the normal functions of the body and then correcting the faulty condition by Osteopathic methods of
adjust- ment. Nature then begins her own process of making the necessary repairs and counteracting the
disease.
Osteopathy is a process of aiding nature. Wherever
interference to nature's machinery exists the Osteopathic
physician goes to begin the treatment of the
disease. At that point of interference lies the true
cause. Working at that point he can correct the condition
that permits the disease to exist and set nature
free to begin the healing process that must be carried
on before the body can become well.
The normal human body—like a wonderfully intricate
machine—is made up of countless parts delicately
adjusted in correct relationship with each other.
Health is present so long as those parts maintain this correct relationship and do not press upon nor
interfere with each other.
When sickness is made possible by a faulty position of any of these parts the Osteopathic physician
proceeds toward restoring health by adjusting back to normal the structure that is out of line.
The normal human body—like a wonderfully in- tricate machine—is made up of countless parts
delicately adjusted in correct relationship with each other. Health is present so long as those parts
maintain this correct relationship and do not press upon nor interfere with each other.
When sickness is made possible by a faulty position of any of these parts the Osteopathic physician
proceeds toward restoring health by adjusting back to normal the structure that is out of line. When
sickness is made possible by a faulty position of any of these parts the Osteopathic physician proceeds
toward restoring health by adjusting back to normal the structure that is out of line.
Osteopathy is Spinal Adjustment—and More

While the Osteopathic physician lays chief emphasis
upon the spinal column, it must not be understood
that he gives no consideration to other parts of the
body. While the foundation of his treatment is always
the adjustment of structure in order to maintain
a normal body, it must not be understood that he forsakes
certain other proven methods which can contribute
additional aid to nature.
Osteopathy is a broad science. It appreciates that
unless the man himself lives right the body cannot live
right. Sometimes adjustment of habits of living is
as important as the adjustment of the mechanism of
the body. In such cases the Osteopathic physician
will prescribe the necessary diet, hygiene or environment.
Osteopathy appreciates that in serious cases of
poisoning an antidote is a necessity. Accordingly, the Osteopathic physician will administer it. He
understands
and makes use of anesthetics when the exceptional
case requires them. He appreciates and makes
use of antiseptics and surgical dressings when open
wounds are to be treated.
Osteopathy recognizes fully that surgery is a necessity.
It teaches the practice in its schools and makes
use of surgical benefits in the treatment of cases that
require it. Surgery, however, is only a court of last
resort. No part of the body is sacrificed until urgent
necessity requires it.
A half century of experience has demonstrated that
many cases, which the public mind considers hopeless
without surgery, have been satisfactorily relieved by
Osteopathic methods and the use of the knife obviated.
If the knife becomes a necessity, however,
it finds encouragement, and not antagonism, from the
Osteopathic profession.
Careful Diagnosis is the First Osteopathic Duty

A careful diagnosis is the first duty of the Osteopathic
physician. He determines definitely the nature
of the trouble and the location of the causes before
he begins his treatment. In the process of diagnosis
all known and proven scientific methods are employed.
His examination is made from two distinct angles.
The first is to determine the exact nature of the ailment
through the facts made evident by the symptoms.
The second is to make a thorough inquiry into the underlying causes of the sickness by
carefully examining
the physical structure of the body in order to
determine the location of the disordered structure that
lies behind the trouble.
Knowing the nature of the disease and knowing
where the interference to the nerves exists, the Osteopathic
physician proceeds to re-adjust the faulty structure
until it is once more normal. The effect on the
diseased condition is automatic. Natural processes
are resumed when the interference is removed. The
restorative powers of the body make the necessary
repairs and the whole physical structure returns to a
state of health.
Osteopathy is Applicable to All Diseases

Osteopathic practice is not limited to special diseases
but is applicable to all diseases classed as curable.
The training of the Osteopathic physician includes
all the requirements demanded by a general
practice.
During his college years, he receives a rigid training
in the diagnosis and proper Osteopathic treatment
for organic diseases, diseases of the nervous system,
of the digestive system, eyes, the ears, the nose and
the throat. He makes a thorough and careful study
of all known facts regarding the nature of the entire
category of human ailments and the correct Osteopathic
procedure for treating them.
Before he is given his graduation diploma, he must
not only qualify in the knowledge which he possesses* regarding all forms of sickness, but he
must have demonstrated
his competency to treat them by actual experience
in the clinic of the school.
The training of the Osteopathic physician is as
broad as the field of human ailments. It provides for
the treatment of any form of disease; for the use of
surgery; for the care of confinement and motherhood
cases; for diet, hygiene, and environment problems.
Osteopathy is a broad and thorough science for maintaining
or restoring the health of the body.