Osteopathy is a non-invasive, drug-free branch of the primary health-care system that seeks to restore your body’s natural balance and function by means of physical intervention and professional advice. The osteopathic approach to patient care places emphasis on the reciprocal relationship between physiological and anatomical structures. The holistic approach that characterises the osteopathic approach to patient care acknowledges that pain and disability are influenced by environmental, psychosocial (mind-body relationship) and ergonomic factors ( repeated and sustained postures and movements).

Osteopaths use clinically-reasoned standard and osteopathic medical tests to diagnose, provide hands-on treatment, such as osteopathic massage and joint manipulation, provide specific advice/education to the patient, and may refer and co-treat with other professionals. They diagnose by including assessment of asymptomatic areas of the body that may influence your condition.

The term “Osteopath” is protected by law, requiring specific and particularly rigorous discipline in full-time university study, with major studies in anatomy, physiology, pathology, symptomatology, and osteopathic approach to diagnosis and treatment. In Australia osteopaths must complete a 5-year university programme that includes training in recognising medical conditions of non-musculoskeletal origin. Osteopathic training is on non-pharmacological, non-surgical management of musculoskeletal conditions, caused by many different conditions. On completion of that programme osteopaths register with the Federal Government to become AHPRA-registered primary health care practitioners.

Osteopathy has some similarities to other manual therapies but differs in underlying philosophy, diagnostic approach, problem-solving and treatment approach, and to the frequency and duration of consultations which characterize the approach of other disciplines.

Primary health care is the first level of contact that people have with the healthcare system. In Australia, this incorporates personal care with that promotes health, personal care that aims to prevent illness and injury, self-determination, choice and equity of access and the social determinants of health.