Osteopathic Profession

History of Osteopathy

Osteopathy was founded by Doctor Andrew Taylor Still in 1874 in Kirksville, USA. Dr. Still was a physician and surgeon who looked for a alternative treatment of disease because conventional medicine had caused more harm than good to his own family. He believed that treating the musculoskeletal system could help a variety illnesses and developed a range of manipulative techniques to diagnose and treat conditions. He founded the first Osteopathic college, the American School of Osteopathy in Kirksville, now known as the A.T. Still University.

General Osteopathic Council (www.osteopathy.org.uk)

Osteopathy was the first complementary therapy to gain government recognition. The General Osteopathic Council (GOsC) was formed in 1993 and regulates Osteopathy in the UK. In order to practise in the UK, osteopaths must be registered with the GOsC and hold full professional indemnity insurance.

The Institute of Osteopathy IO (www.iosteopathy.org)

According to the IO, the UK’s osteopathic profession membership organisation for registered Osteopaths:

“Osteopathy is a gentle and effective hands-on approach to healthcare, based on the principle that the way your body moves influences how it functions”.

“Osteopaths are highly competent healthcare professionals, recognised by the NHS as fully qualified to diagnose and treat independently.”

“Over 30,000 people every day visit an osteopath suffering from a variety of conditions including neck or back pain, joint or muscular pain, sports injuries, recurring headaches and more.”

“The body has the natural ability to maintain itself and, by helping this process, an osteopath can promote restoration of normal function. The principle of osteopathy is that the wellbeing of an individual relies on the way that bones, muscles, ligaments, connective tissue and internal structures work with each other.”

“An osteopath will take the time to understand their patient, and their unique combination of symptoms, medical history and lifestyle. This helps to make an accurate diagnosis of the causes of the pain or lack of function (rather than just addressing the site of the condition), and from that, to formulate a treatment plan that will achieve the best outcome.”

“Osteopaths can work alongside other health professionals, such as GPs, nurses, midwives as well as alternative medical practitioners. Osteopathy works well to complement other medical interventions including surgery and prescribed medication.”

The National Institute of Clinical Excellence (NICE) “advises that GPs can safely refer patients to an osteopath for treatment. Osteopathy is available on the NHS in some areas of the UK. ”


Osteopathic Profession Around The World

The General Osteopathic Council states:

“Osteopathy is regulated in the United Kingdom, USA, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, France, Switzerland, Finland, Portugal, Iceland and Malta.”

From the Osteopathic International Alliance 2012 Survey:

Osteopathy and Osteopathic Medicine: A Global View of Practice, Patients, Education and the Contribution to Healthcare Delivery

The OIA 2013 survey of 33 countries identified at least 87,850 osteopathic physicians worldwide, a 70% increase over the past decade. The vast majority (82,500) are in the US, where in 2012 osteopathic physicians accounted for 7.2% of US physicians.

The survey identified approximately 43,000 osteopaths worldwide, nearly triple the number a decade ago. The countries with the largest number are France, Germany, Italy, UK, Australia, Belgium and Canada, which together accounted for almost 38,000 practitioners.

The total number of students enrolled at US osteopathic medical schools has risen from 14,409 in 2006-7 to 21,741 in 2012-13. The OIA 2013 survey identified 25 countries with osteopathy training schools or universities: the countries where data were available reported 14,750 enrolled osteopathy students, of whom 10,000 were in France.