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Career in Osteopathy

What is Osteopathy?

Osteopathy is a drug-free manual medicine that focuses on total body health by treating and strengthening the musculoskeletal framework. Osteopathy is based on the idea that health is closely related to the structure of the body. Main principle behind Osteopathy is that the well-being of an individual depends on their bones, muscles, ligaments and connective tissue functioning smoothly together. The medicinal therapy focuses on improving a patient’s mobility or functions of their internal systems by administering various massage, physical manipulation and stretching techniques allowing free flow of blood through the body and specific organs. Osteopathic medicine is considered as one of the best

treatments for neuro-Musculo-skeletal disorders.

Who is an Osteopath?

An Osteopath is a healthcare professional who practices a system of medicine that focuses primarily on the musculoskeletal system. He should have thorough knowledge of anatomy, physiology and hygiene. In Osteopathy, hands are used rather than medical equipment to cure disorders or relieve pain in skeletal system, immune system and the nervous system. Osteopathic medicine is used to treat health conditions including back pain, sports injuries, and repetitive strain injuries. This can be used either as an exclusive treatment or alongside treatment by drugs. Osteopaths work with people of all age groups, from infants to elderly patients, providing relief for a variety of disorders and illnesses. It stipulates that disease is caused by abnormal changes in the tissues of ligaments, muscles and organs as well as in the position and mobility of the bones wherever situated in the body.

What does an Osteopath do?

Osteopath treat patients using a variety of manual techniques such as soft tissue stretching, muscle relaxation, gentle mobilization or manipulation. These treatment methods are normally employed simultaneously with exercise, dietary and occupational advice in an attempt to help patients recover from pain, disease and injury. Osteopaths diagnose complaints from patients using information from case histories, physical examinations, manual 'palpation' (i.e. the use of touch), observation of patient’s body structure and mobility, and clinical aids such as X-rays, CT scans and laboratory tests. Osteopathy course trains the medical professional to treat health conditions including back pain, sports injuries, and repetitive strain injuries and it works for people of all age groups, from infants to elderly patients, providing relief for a variety of disorders and


The general treatment taught in Osteopathy courses in India are:

  • Stretching of tissues of the affected area

  • Gentle mobility of the bones

  • Muscle relaxation

  • Light exercise

Knowledge areas and skills that need to be acquired –

Personal skills

1. Good communication, listening and interpersonal skills

2. Good organisational skills

3. Ability to pay attention to detail

4. Good hand eye coordination

5. Ability to work as a team

6. Good health and physical fitness

7. Understanding and sympathetic

8. A genuine desire to help people

Education –

Those who have completed MBBS, BAMS, BHMS or bachelor of Naturopathy and Yogic science or any other bachelor’s degree in the medical field can apply for a course in Osteopathic medicine. However, there are only few institutes in India that offer course in this subject field.

Career Prospects

Osteopathy is a comparatively new field of Alternative medicine which is not that much popular among students or still they are not aware of this field. The scope for this growing career field is much for the enterprising aspirant as those qualified in this area are few compared to the opportunities that are readily available to explore. Osteopaths usually work in combination with dietitians, medical practitioners, naturopaths, podiatrists and other healthcare professionals. In most cases, Osteopaths are self-employed, usually they run private practice by starting clinics of their own. The working hours can be irregular, appointments can be more during the evening or at weekends. One can also opt to work in a health centre or hospital. Alternatively, individuals may decide to go into the field of research, in order to deepen knowledge about Osteopathic techniques.

Osteopathy Career Opportunities:

Like M.D.s, osteopathic physicians are licensed at the state level. Osteopathic physicians who wish to specialize may become "board certified" (in much the same manner as M.D.s) by completing a 2- to

6-year residency within the specialty area and passing the board certification exams Colleges offering courses related to the Career:

In India, there are only few institutes that offer courses in Osteopathic medicine. Dr. NTR University of Health Sciences, Andhra Pradesh and Holy Angels College of Alternative Medicine, Mumbai, Institute of Alternative Medicines, Kolkata offer certificate course in this subject. But outside India, there are many universities that offer courses in this subject field, hence in order to specialise most of

them go abroad. In the US, Campbell University; School of Osteopathic Medicine, North Carolina; Albama College of Osteopathic Medicine; Michigan State University are some of the universities that offer courses in Osteopathy.

Job outlook, Work values and Guidelines –

Osteopath Responsibilities:

Salary: As the Osteopaths charge as per treatment, their earnings will vary with the number of patients they see. However, this too will depend upon experience and place of employment. A self-employed Osteopath is free to charge a sessional rate according to his/her reputation. Even for a single visit one may charge Rs. 4000 starting from Rs 500 at the minimum, this too depends on each case, but the fresher in the field can charge only less than this rate.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is it like being an Osteopath?

Working as an Osteopath has so many fantastic aspects to it! ...Motivating people – be it to just get healthier, increase wellbeing and decease pain, or to reach their exercise goals is all part of being an osteopath. Helping patients along their journey by getting them moving and pain free is really rewarding

How difficult is it to become an Osteopathy?

Osteopaths are trained to degree level attaining either a Bachelor's (BSc) or Masters of Science (MSc). Courses typically last four to five years and are a combination of academic, research and over 1,000 hours of hands-on patient-facing clinical training.

Is it worth to pursue Career as an Osteopathy?

Osteopathy as a career. Osteopathy is a challenging, rewarding and varied profession that makes a real difference to the quality of patients' lives. Many osteopaths choose to be self-employed and set up their own practice, allowing them to shape their career around their personal commitments and interests.

What are Osteopaths like and how valuable is the profession?

There's limited evidence to suggest that osteopathy may be effective for some types of neck, shoulder or lower-limb pain, and recovery after hip or knee operations. There's currently no good evidence that it's effective as a treatment for health conditions unrelated to the bones and muscles (musculoskeletal system).

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