What is Osteopathy

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.

Osteopaths believe in the principle that structure and function are inter-related, so we work to restore your body to a state of balance, where possible without the use of drugs or surgery.

We use our hands to identify abnormalities in the structure and function of a body, and to assess areas of weakness, tenderness, restriction or strain.

We 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.

We work with your body’s natural ability to heal itself.  The treatment usually starts by releasing and relaxing muscles and stretching stiff joints, using gentle massage and rhythmic joint movements.  The particular range of techniques we use will depend on your particular problem, and we always discuss your treatment plan with you before we begin.

We may also provide advice on posture and exercise to aid recovery, promote health and therefore prevent symptoms recurring.

There is no ‘typical’ osteopathic patient – our patients include new-born babies to octogenarians (and beyond!), manual workers, office professionals, pregnant women, children and sports people – anybody really!

Patients generally seek treatment for a wide variety of conditions, such as:

  • back pain,
  • ’sciatica’,
  • hip and knee pain,
  • headaches and neck pain,
  • repetitive strain injury,
  • changes to posture in pregnancy,
  • postural problems caused by driving or work strain,
  • the pain of arthritis
  • sports injuries.

If your condition or symptoms do not appear above, we can probably still help – please contact us and we will be happy to discuss your case with you.

All osteopaths in the UK are regulated by the General Osteopathic Council (GOsC).
We are required to renew our registration each year and the GOsC provide us with an annual licence to practise. As part of this process, the GOsC checks that we have current professional indemnity insurance, remain in good health and of good character, and have met the mandatory continuing professional development requirements.

Our 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, who can, and do, prosecute individuals who practise as osteopaths when they are not on the GOsC Register.   The GOsC and its members want to promote a high standard of competency, conduct and safety.

The GOsC states that:

“There are more than 4,000 osteopaths registered with the General Osteopathic Council, which includes some who practise abroad. Those practising in the UK carry out more than seven million consultations every year. Of those consultations, 54% of new patients are seen within one working day of contacting the osteopath and 95% are seen within one week.

The profession attracts almost equal numbers of male and female practitioners, and some have already qualified in another healthcare practice such as medicine, nursing or physiotherapy.

The majority of UK osteopaths (83%) practise in England, with 3.1% in Scotland, 2.2% in Wales, 0.4% in Northern Ireland and 9.1% working overseas.

Most osteopaths are self-employed and work in the private sector, although some are working in multi-disciplinary environments within the NHS and in occupational healthcare in public bodies and private companies.”


Can I see an osteopath through the NHS?

Currently, access to osteopathy on the NHS is limited, but services are becoming more widespread as commissioning authorities recognise the benefits of providing osteopathy to patients.  To find out if NHS treatment is available in your area, speak to your GP and/or contact:

1. If you are in England – your local primary care trust.

2. If you are in Scotland – your local health board.

3. If you are in Wales – your local health authority.

4. If you are in Northern Ireland – your local health and social service board/group.

There is more information on who to contact in your region on the NHS website at www.nhs.uk.

Can I claim on my private medical insurance?

Many private health insurance policies provide cover for osteopathic treatment.  It may be possible to claim for a course of treatment but you should check in advance with your insurance company before seeking osteopathic treatment, in order to confirm the available level of cover and whether you will need to have a referral from your GP or a specialist.