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Osteopathy is not well-known in the UK as it does not have a prominent profile within the wider community. To address the issues that and speculations that arise in the absence of wide-spread understanding, we have compiled a repository of osteopathy resources which we hope will provide the background information needed to a address common questions.
Osteopathy is a medical discipline which does not use drugs and aims to promote self-healing. The primary aim of an osteopath is to understand the root cause of a patient's condition. Once the cause is understood, appropriate remedies are implemented to speed recovery.
Most initial appointments will commence with the osteopath asking probing questions to enable a deep understanding of how an injury happened or the important factors behind a condition. The osteopath will then watch carefully the movement of a patient to understand what is limiting freedom of movement, e.g., a spinal misalignment or muscular adhesions.
Qualifying as an osteopath requires at least 4 years of study at an approved higher education institution such as a university or college. Many take osteopathy as a post-graduate degree. The curriculum overlaps with medical degrees with common study of human anatomy for instance.
As a hands-on medical profession osteopathy is not just a dry academic pursuit. Whilst book-learning is necessary, students are required to watch and learn from experienced professionals.
Osteopaths operate under tight professional strictures which mandate ongoing investment in knowledge-building for all. This entails attendance at a minimum number of educational sessions each year. In addition many osteopaths voluntarily expand their knowledge with specialist courses.
In 1993 parliament passed legislation to bring the osteopathy profession into line with other medical professions by establishing a strict regulatory regime. Statute establishes the General Osteopathic Council which is the registrar of all osteopaths, establishing their qualifications to work as such and hearing any complaints as to competence. The Council also has a more limited role as a sponsor of research and to ensure the safety of techniques commonly used.