In general, osteopathy is a type of medical treatment that detects and treats damaged parts of the body, with a particular emphasis on the inter-relationship between muscles, ligaments, nerves, bones and organs. Osteopaths and osteopath clinics use a holistic approach, which involves applying a philosophy of treating the whole person to the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of illness, diseases and injuries.
Osteopathy is used to treat a wide range of conditions including sports injuries, back pain, neck pain, headaches, sciatica, arthritis, headaches, shoulder pain, rhematism, muscular pain, joint pain, whiplash, repeitive strain injury and even sleeping difficulties.
In the UK the first osteopathic college, the British School of Osteopathy, opened in 1917 and still exists today. British osteopaths use manipulative techniques such as spinal manipulation based on the holistic philosophy to treat patients, and they learn these skills on specialist courses at the British School of Osteopathy and at other educational institutions.
Osteopaths working in the UK are generally not medical doctors, although some doctors do undertake osteopathic training as a postgraduate interest. The osteopathy profession is regulated by the General Osteopathic Council (GOsC), which was established under the Osteopathy Act 1993. The council acts to protect the public by maintaining a register of
practitioners; investigate allegations of professional misconduct; and ensure the quality of training.
There are currently seven approved training institutions in the UK and there are around 5,000 registered osteopaths currently working in the UK. The majority of these osteopaths work in private practices and osteopath clinics, although a small number do work for the NHS. Today there is an increasing interest in osteopathy in the UK with more and more people turning to osteopaths to help relieve their aches and pains.