About Osteopathy

Osteopathy is an established and recognised system of diagnosis and treatment which is useful for a wide range of medical conditions. It works with the structure and function of the body and is based on the principle that the well-being of an individual depends on the skeleton, muscles, ligaments, and connective tissues, functioning smoothly together.

To an osteopath, for your body to work well, its structure must also work well, so osteopaths work to restore your body to a state of balance. Osteopaths use touch, physical manipulation, stretching, and massage, to increase the mobility of joints, to relieve muscle tension, to enhance the blood and nerve supply to tissues, and to help your body’s own healing mechanism. Osteopaths may also offer advice on posture and exercise to aid recovery, to promote health, and to prevent symptoms from recurring.

[Ref: General Osteopathic Council website 2022] Click here to go to the GOsC website.

The origins of osteopathy

Osteopathy was founded in the late 1800s by the physician and surgeon Andrew Taylor Still. Having trained and worked as a doctor Still realised that, in order to achieve the highest possible form of health, all parts of the body should work together harmoniously. His aim was to restore the body to optimal health with minimal surgery and medicine, influenced by his view that medical treatments of the time were largely ineffective and, in some cases, harmful.

In 1892 Still set up a school in Missouri where he taught osteopathy and it is from these small beginnings that osteopathy was introduced to the UK around the turn of the century. The first school of osteopathy in the UK was founded in London in 1917 and, over time, other schools and colleges followed.

All osteopaths in the UK must now attain specialist degree-level training with at least 1,000 hours of clinical placements before they can register as an osteopath with the General Osteopathic Council.

Today there are more than 5,000 osteopaths in the UK performing over seven million patient consultations a year.

[Ref: Institute of Osteopathy and the General Osteopathic Council websites 2022]

Model of a spine hanging on a stand near a desk
Stehtescope and pen on a desk in an osteopathic clinic