This page provides information about osteopathy, what osteopathic treatment involves and the regulation of osteopathy.
What is osteopathy?
Osteopathy is an officially recognised primary healthcare profession, which focuses on the diagnosis, treatment prevention and rehabilitation of musculoskeletal conditions and the effects of those conditions on a patient’s general health. It works with the structure and function of the body: for the body to work well, its structure must also work well. Osteopathy is based on the principle that the body has the ability to heal and that the well-being of an individual depends on the different parts of the body functioning smoothly together. Osteopaths’ patient-centred approach to health and well-being means they consider symptoms in the context of the patient’s full medical history, as well as their lifestyle and personal circumstances. This holistic approach ensures that all treatment is tailored to the individual patient. 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 also provide advice on posture and exercise to aid recovery, promote health and prevent symptoms recurring. Osteopathy is based on the principle that the body has the ability to heal, and osteopathic care focuses on strengthening the musculoskeletal systems to treat existing conditions and to prevent illness.
Regulation of osteopathy
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 Osteopathic Council of New Zealand (OCNZ). The OCNZ regulates all osteopaths in New Zealand, and sets and promotes high standards of competency, conduct and safety. It also requires Osteopaths to renew their registration each year and provides registrants with an annual licence to practise. As part of this process, the OCNZ checks that osteopaths have current professional indemnity insurance, remain in good health and of good character, and have met mandatory continuing professional development requirements.
Who and what do osteopaths treat?
Osteopaths’ patients include babies, the young, older people, manual workers, office professionals, pregnant women and sports people. Patients seek treatment for a wide variety of conditions, including back pain, repetitive strain injury, changes to posture in pregnancy, postural problems caused by driving or work strain, the pain of arthritis and minor sports injuries.