Osteopathy is an established, recognised system of diagnosis and treatment that lays its main emphasis on the structural integrity of the body. It is distinctive in the fact that it recognises much of the pain and disability we suffer stems from abnormalities in the function of the body structure as well as damage caused to it by disease.
It uses many of the diagnostic procedures used in conventional medical assessment and diagnosis. Its main strength however lies in the unique way the patient is assessed from a mechanical, functional and postural standpoint and the manual methods of treatment applied to suit the needs of the individual patient.
Osteopaths use their hands both to investigate the underlying causes of pain and to carry out treatment using a variety of manipulative techniques. These may include muscle and connective tissue stretching, rhythmic joint movements or high velocity thrust techniques to improve the range of motion at a joint.
In 1993 osteopathy became the first major complementary health care profession to be accorded statutory recognition under the 1993 Osteopaths Act. This culminated in the opening of the statutory register of osteopaths by the General Osteopathic Council in May 1998. Only those practitioners able to show that they have been in safe and competent practice of osteopathy will be allowed onto the register and in future all osteopaths will be trained to the same high rigorous standards. All osteopaths need to have medical malpractice insurance and to follow a strict code of conduct. Patients have the same safeguards as when they consult a doctor or dentist.