I've been lucky enough to have Chiropractic and Osteopathic treatment in the past. I've got friends who are Osteopaths and have been lucky enough to visit the British School of Osteopathy as well. In my view there seem to be more similarities between Chiropractic and Osteopathy than there are differences.
Obviously as a trained and registered Chiropractor I know more about Chiropractic, the research into Chiropractic and the training to be a Chiropractor than I do about Osteopathy. I don't think it would be appropriate for me to try to define or describe what Osteopathy is, or what Osteopaths do or treat. At the bottom of this page I have included the General Osteopathic Council's definition of Osteopathy as well as the General Chiropractic Council's definition of Chiropractic.
A friend of mine Michael Wickham D.O, N.D, M.R.N. who is an excellent Osteopath in Peacehaven (Meridian Osteopathic Clinic) summed things up quite well when he came to one of our summer Open Days.
Michael's explanation was that:
"The two professions are a bit like twins. They are very similar from the outside but have subtle differences when you get to know them. Most of the differences between the two professions are related to our history. The treatment experience depends more on the individual Chiropractor or Osteopath you see. It is important to find someone you like and trust."
"What osteopathy is
Osteopathy is a system of diagnosis and treatment 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, where possible without the use of drugs or surgery. 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 mechanisms. They may also provide advice on posture and exercise to aid recovery, promote health and prevent symptoms recurring."
Regulation of osteopathy
All osteopaths in the UK are regulated by the General Osteopathic Council (GOsC).
Osteopaths are required to renew their registration each year and we provide registrants with an annual licence to practise. As part of this process, the GOsC checks that osteopaths have current professional indemnity insurance, remain in good health and of good character, and have met mandatory continuing professional development requirements.
Protection of title
The title 'osteopath' is protected by law. It is against the law for anyone to call themselves an osteopath unless they are registered with the GOsC, which sets and promotes high standards of competency, conduct and safety.
The GOsC can, and will, prosecute individuals who practise as osteopaths when they are not on the GOsC Register. For information about what to do if you think someone is practising as an osteopath but is not on the Register, see our Protection of title page."
"What is chiropractic treatment? Chiropractors are concerned with the framework of bones and muscles that support the body (the 'musculoskeletal system'). Some problems of the musculoskeletal system can be caused by accidents, stress, lack of exercise, poor posture, illness and everyday wear and tear. These problems may cause pressure on the nerves in the body. Depending on your condition, the chiropractor may manipulate parts of your spine or joints and give you advice on exercise, self help, diet and lifestyle. Some chiropractors also offer rehabilitation programmes. Manipulation involves precisely handling or moving joints, or parts of the spine, sometimes moving them further than they would normally move."
"Can anyone call themselves a chiropractor? No. It is illegal for anyone in the UK to use the title 'chiropractor' or to imply that they are a chiropractor unless they are registered with us (the General Chiropractic Council). All chiropractors must have insurance cover for claims made against them."