What is Osteopathy and what do Osteopaths do?

Osteopathy originated in America, it was introduced into the UK towards the end of the first first world war as a form of treatment that emphasised joint manipulation and massage to treat injuries and disease. In America the profession gradually aligned with the medical profession whilst in the UK Osteopathy evolved outside hospital based and NHS main stream medicine. Whilst incorporating an orthodox understanding of human anatomy and neurophysiology for most of the twentieth century Osteopathy was seen and an alternative therapy in the UK. However In 2000 Osteopathy became a fully regulated profession in the UK with guaranteed standards and lengths of training similar to physiotherapy.

Osteopaths use a variety of techniques to assess their patients including postural analysis, palpation and clinical orthopaedic tests. Treatment ranges from soft tissue release techniques such as massage and stretching to ease muscle tension, to joint manipulation to improve joint alignment and joint mobility.  Osteopaths have gained a reputation for treating back pain, neck pain and related disorders such as sciatica but Osteopaths are also trained to treat problems throughout the whole body.

Like many physiotherapists in private practice osteopaths may undertake additional training such as in (medical) acupuncture, clinical Pilates, Shock Wave Therapy etc.

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