Who Can Be an Osteopath?

All osteopaths practising in the UK have to be registered with the General Osteopathic Council (GOsC) who regulate their standards and requirements for practise. Anyone calling themselves an osteopath who are not GOsC registered is working illegally. Although some osteopaths work within the NHS, most work in private practises as self-employed professionals.

Osteopathic Training

An osteopath trained in the UK will have undertaken a 4 or 5 year degree ending in a BSc (Hons), BOst or similar (or a masters degree). These degrees concentrate on anatomy and physiology of the human body and include a large element (over 1000 hours) of practical work and clinical skills. UK degrees for osteopaths include modules on nutrition, pathology, pharmacology and numerous other medically orientated subjects in order to highlight the holistic nature of osteopathy and teach the training osteopath how to view the body as a whole system.

The inclusion of nutritional training illustrates how your diet can alter your physiological state making you more (or less) vulnerable to different diseases and disorders. The science and diagnosis of disease is known as pathology and this is taught during osteopathic training so that the osteopath is able to diagnose as well as treat disease. This further illustrates the highly medical nature of osteopathy (compared to massage alone).

Pharmacology is taught in order to allow the osteopath to understand the potential effect of any drugs that you are already taking may have on your body. This means that osteopathy can be used to alleviate side effects from drugs that you may have been prescribed by your GP. However, osteopathic treatment rarely includes the use of drugs or surgery.

So, your osteopath will have undertaken one of these osteopathic degrees that are accredited by the GOsC in order to become registered to practice osteopathy. This means that you can be confident about their knowledge before you start treatment with them.

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