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Osteopathy is a primary care profession, focusing on the diagnosis, treatment, prevention and rehabilitation of musculoskeletal disorders, and the effects of these conditions on patients’ general health.

Using many of the diagnostic procedures applied in conventional medical assessment, osteopaths seek to restore the optimal functioning of the body, where possible without the use of drugs or surgery. Osteopathy is based on the principle that the body has the ability to heal, and osteopathic care focuses on strengthening the musculoskeletal and neurological systems to treat existing conditions and to prevent illness.

Osteopaths’ patient-centred approach to health and well-being means they consider symptoms in the context of the patient’s full medical history, as well as their lifestyle and personal circumstances. This holistic approach ensures that all treatment is tailored to the individual patient.

All osteopaths must be registered with the General Osteopathic Council as the title ‘osteopath’ is protected by law, and only those included on the Register are entitled to practise as osteopaths. Unregistered practice is a criminal offence in the UK.

To be eligible for registration, undergraduate students follow a four-year B.Sc. degree course combining academic and clinical. After graduation, osteopaths are required to update their training throughout their working lives and must complete a minimum of 30 hours Continuing Professional Development per year in order to remain registered and legal to practice.

It is a common misconception that osteopaths only study bones. Osteopathic training demands a thorough working knowledge of all aspects of the body including: anatomy, physiology, neurology, nutrition, exercise, biomechanics, pain, injury and the repair process.

For more information, contact the General Osteopathic Council – www.osteopathy.org.uk

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