Osteopaths suggest that all aspects of the body need to be in balance and harmony for there to be good health and well-being. Osteopaths use hands-on techniques including joint mobilisation, manipulation, massage and deep pressure. They also advise people on their diet and lifestyle.
Before treatment they begin by discussing with the client their current and past health problems. They then examine the client’s posture and gait using their hands to examine muscles, ligaments and vertebrae, sometimes using X-rays or other orthodox tests.
Once diagnosis has been made they then carry out a course of treatment. This usually includes working on the body and adjusting the joints through swift but gentle pressure followed by massage. After treatment they may give advice on exercise.
An osteopath may refer the client on to a doctor or another complementary therapist if they are unable to solve the problem.
Osteopaths are usually self-employed so can work flexible hours. They may need to work some unsocial hours to fit in with clients.
Osteopaths work mostly in a consulting room, although they may treat some patients in their own homes, so being able to drive would be useful.
The work involves standing and bending, and can be physically demanding.
To become an osteopath you will need:
Osteopathy is expanding due to an increase in posture-related ailments in car drivers and computer users. Currently over 3500 osteopaths are registered with the GOsC in the UK.
Most osteopaths are self-employed, working either in their own practice or in a private health care centre or sports clinic. Frequently osteopaths treat clients on the NHS who have been referred to them by their GP.
There are a few opportunities for employment within the NHS.
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