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The website is a great resource of information on Osteopathy. So if you want to know more about Osteopathy or you are looking for an Osteopath then use our site to help you. An Osteopath is likely to consider your long term development so that you won't have to visit your Osteopath on a regular basis forever. Use our resource to research Osteopathy and find an Osteopath.

In This Article
History Of Osteopathy How Does It Work?
A Typical Appointment What To Expect
Timings/ Cost/ Sessions Is It Right For You?

Osteopathy was first practised in the late 19th century by American physician Andrew Taylor Still. His research and development of osteopathy was born from his growing disillusionment with medical practice of the day and the death of his own children whom he was powerless to help.

Dr. Still proposed that when bones are out of place, blood flow and nerve impulses become restricted causing disease. By manipulating these bones back into position, the flow is restored and disease can be cured. Still began teaching osteopathy in his school in Missouri (which would become the American School of Osteopathy) and many of the newly trained osteopaths from this school soon began to arrive in the UK.

One such student was Scotsman Dr J Martin Littlejohn who is believed to have given the first talk on osteopathy in the UK during 1898. In 1911, the British Society of Osteopaths was formed later changing its title to the British Osteopathic Association (BOA). The British School of Osteopathy is the oldest and largest osteopathic school in the UK. There are currently over 3,500 osteopaths registered with the profession's governing body.


Osteopathy is a recognised and established system of diagnosis and treatment of muscles, ligaments, nerves and joints damaged by day-to-day stress, injury or disease. This damage usually appears in the body as pain, inflammation, loss of mobility or impaired organ function.

With organ function for example, an osteopath will recognise a curved spine and misaligned rib joints can affect the respiratory system as it places pressure on the lungs. By correcting this problem, the symptoms can be alleviated. 

Osteopathy is a manual therapy and does not involve the use of drugs or surgery. Osteopaths use physical manipulation techniques to correct the body's structure, ease restricted movement and re-establish normal circulation. By doing so, the body will function efficiently minimising further damage or disease.


Be prepared

Osteopathy is regulated and the term 'osteopath' is protected. Practitioners must be registered with the General Osteopathic Council (GOsC) assuring patient's of a high level of protection. To register, osteopaths must have a qualification in osteopathy from an accredited GOsC course and abide by a code of ethics, practise and ongoing development training.

Many osteopaths are members of the British Osteopathic Association, an independent body that represents osteopaths and works closely with the GOsC and Department of Health. Check that your practitioner is registered with the GOsC as this guarantees the correct qualifications and training. Osteopathy on the NHS is currently limited and you will need to check with your Primary Care Trust to see if treatment is available in your area. If it is, be aware that there will be a waiting time before you can be seen and your GP will need to refer you.

Before your first appointment, write down your symptoms and concerns and take any prescription drugs or non-prescription drugs with you so your osteopath can make an accurate diagnosis. Be aware that osteopathy requires physical movement and you will need to undress. If you are uncomfortable with doing this, discuss with your osteopath and take along appropriate sportswear instead.


During your first appointment, your osteopath will take a detailed history of your health and ask about your symptoms, lifestyle and diet. They will then do a physical examination that may involve taking your blood pressure and testing reflexes. They will also examine your posture and range of movement. In some cases an X-ray will be required.

The osteopath will then start with gentle stretching and massage techniques helping relax the tissues and muscles and ease any tension. This will be followed by manipulation techniques and mobilisations. You may hear a popping noise in your joints as they use these manipulations but this shouldn't be painful. Gas bubbles in the fluid of our joints pop with certain movement and it is perfectly normal. Osteopathy can also use gentle movement of the skull; this type of therapy is called cranial osteopathy and is a specialised treatment.

Side-effects of the therapy include a slight soreness in the affected joint or a headache and feeling of tiredness. This should pass after a day or so but should it persist consult your osteopath. After your session, the osteopath may give you exercises to do at home as well as dietary or lifestyle advice.


Your first session with an osteopath will last about an hour as a diagnosis of your condition is made. Follow-up sessions can last between 30 - 45 minutes.

Costs for treatment vary and you are advised to check these with your local practitioner before making an appointment. Expect to pay between £30 - £60 for your first session and £25 - £50 for subsequent sessions. Most healthcare insurance will pay out for osteopathy but check with your insurer to see that your policy covers you.

You will probably feel the benefits from osteopathy after your first session but anywhere from 5 - 10 sessions are recommended, particularly for people with chronic conditions. Your osteopath will discuss this before beginning your treatment and will advise you of your progress.


Osteopathy is a safe and proven therapy used among people both young and old and its benefits are widely recognised in the healthcare profession. Pregnant women with joint pain and back pain have benefited from the therapy but it is advised that those who are 8 - 12 weeks pregnant should not have the treatment.

If you are taking anticoagulant drugs to thin your blood then osteopathy should not be used and cancer patients with cancer of the bone or bone marrow should not have certain osteopathic techniques used on them. Consult with your GP if your condition can be treated with osteopathy before making an appointment.


This therapy or modality may help with:

Accident trauma Arthritis Back Pain
Chronic Fatigue Chronic Pain Circulation Problems
Disc Problems Endometriosis Flat Feet
Fractures Frozen Shoulder Glue ear
Headaches Heel Pain Infant colic
Joint Pain Ligament Sprain Lumbago
Lymphedema Migraines Multiple Sclerosis MS
Muscle Cramps Neck pain Neck stiffness
Osteoporosis Post operative pain Postural problems
Pregnancy Repetitive strain injury Rheumatism
Sciatica Scoliosis Shoulder pain
Spinal Injury Sports injuries Sprain (Ankle, Knee)
Tennis Elbow Whiplash

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Featured Osteopathy Practitioners

Sample Of Practitioners By Location
Osteopath Central London Osteopathy Birmingham Osteopathy Brighton
Osteopathy Bristol Osteopathy Cardiff Osteopathy Coventry
Osteopathy East London Osteopathy Edinburgh Osteopathy Glasgow
Osteopathy Harley Street Osteopathy Leeds Osteopathy Liverpool
Osteopathy Manchester Osteopathy North London Osteopathy Nottingham
Osteopathy South London Osteopathy West London

About Therapist Qualifications

British Osteopathic Association (BOA) British Osteopathic Association (BOA) More Info General Osteopathic Council (GOsC) General Osteopathic Council (GOsC) More Info


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