An Osteopath is trained to recognise and treat many causes of pain. Osteopathy is an established system of diagnosis and manual treatment, which is recognised by the British Medical Association as a discrete clinical discipline. In 1993, osteopathy became the first major complementary health care profession to be accorded statutory recognition under the Osteopaths Act. Only practitioners meeting the highest standards of safety and competency are eligible for registration. Proof of good health, good character and professional indemnity insurance cover is also a requirement. Osteopaths are committed to a programme of Continuing Professional Development.
Prospective patients can be confident that when they visit a registered osteopath, they will experience safe and competent treatment from a professional practitioner who adheres to a strict Code of Conduct, giving them the same safeguards as when they visit a doctor or dentist.
Osteopathic training is demanding and lengthy, and a recognised qualification is only available from osteopathic educational institutions accredited by the GOsC these are called RQ colleges. Trainee osteopaths study anatomy, physiology, neurology, pathology, biomechanics and clinical methods during a four or five year BSc honours degree programme. Such wide-ranging medical training gives osteopaths the skills to diagnose conditions when osteopathic treatment is not advisable, and the patient must be referred to a GP for further investigation.