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Frequently Asked Questions

Essential Information

Frequently Asked Questions

On this website we aim to provide answers to your questions about the regulation of osteopathy, standards of training and practice, how to find an osteopath, what to expect when you see an osteopath and what to do if you have concerns about an osteopath or your treatment. To help us do this, we list below some of the questions we are most frequently asked, along with the answers.

Can anyone call themselves an Osteopath ?

The title ‘osteopath’ is protected by law, and only those included on the UK Statutory Register are entitled to practise as osteopaths. Unregistered practice is a criminal offence in the UK.

Can I claim on my private medical insurance ?

Many private health insurance policies provide cover for osteopathic treatment. It may be possible to claim for a course of treatment but you should check in advance with your insurance company before seeking osteopathic treatment, in order to confirm the available level of cover and whether you will need to have a referral from your GP or a specialist. We are covered by all the major insurers, including BUPA, AXA PPP and Norwich Union.

Do I need a GP referral to see an Osteopath ?

Most patients ‘self refer’ to an osteopath for treatment. Although referral by a GP is not necessary, patients are encouraged to keep both their GP and osteopath fully informed, so that their medical records are current and complete and the patient receives the best possible care from both healthcare practitioners.

Does Osteopathy work ?

There exists a great deal of research which not only provides a physiological basis for Osteopathic concepts and techniques, but also provides statistical data on outcomes. Reports have shown not only a consistent level of successful outcome, but also a high degree of patient satisfaction.

How many treatments will I need ?

The number of treatments you need depends on the condition and person we are treating. We aim to keep your appointments to a minimum. Your osteopath will be able to tell you within a short period of time whether they can treat you or if they need to refer you to someone else.

How much does treatment cost ?

Please call us to discuss.

What about long-term preventative care ?

Osteopaths believe that getting patients to keep returning for more treatments is not the best form of long term preventive care. The key to preventing health problems recurring, and to developing long-term solutions, lies in increasing patients’ awareness of the causes of problems, and in giving them the help they need to take responsibility for their own health. This is done in a number of ways:

  • By identifying the causative factors of a patient’s problems, such as problems with workplace ergonomics, and trying to reduce or eliminate them.
  • By teaching patients more efficient and less strenuous body usage in their actions at home or at work.
  • By helping patients become aware of postural problems and how to correct them.
  • By providing individually tailored exercise programmes both for rehabilitation and prevention.
  • By teaching relaxation techniques to reduce stress.
  • By working in conjunction with other practitioners such as dieticians, occupational therapists etc. where appropriate.

Osteopaths thus believe that long-term prevention is the result of a cooperative effort between patient and practitioner.

What's the difference between Osteopaths, Chiropractors and Physiotherapists ?

It’s not the role of any health professional to try to define what another health care professional is, and what they do. If you want a definition, it would be best to ask people in those professions. What we can do is tell you about the defining characteristics of Osteopathy, which are its underlying philosophy and its broad range of techniques.

While “Biomechanics” has become one of the most rapidly developing areas of medicine in recent years, Osteopathy was one of the first professions to incorporate biomechanical analysis of how injuries occur and what the secondary effects are likely to be. To take a simple example, if you go to an Osteopath with a knee injury, the Osteopath will do much more than just examine and treat your knee. They will want to know exactly how the injury occurred in order to assess not just which tissues in the knee are injured, but also whether there may be any involvement of other areas with a mechanical relationship to the knee, such as the foot, hip, low back and pelvis, and the associated soft tissues.

They will then want to analyse any possible secondary effects. For instance, you may be “avoiding” the bad knee and putting more weight on the other side. Over a period of time, this may lead to problems developing in the low back or the “good” knee. The Osteopath will then use this information to prescribe a treatment plan that addresses not just the knee, but all of the other areas of the body and associated tissues that may be involved. The plan will include attention not just to the joints and their associated soft tissues, but also to the blood supply to the affected areas, the lymphatic drainage, the nerve supply etc., in order to include all those factors which will affect the success of healing. It is this “whole body, multi-system” approach that has been the basis of Osteopathy’s success over the last century.

Can I bring a friend or relative ?

Yes – if you wish, you can have someone present throughout your consultation and treatment.

Can I see an Osteopath through the NHS ?

Currently, access to osteopathy on the NHS is limited, but services are becoming more widespread as commissioning authorities recognise the benefits of providing osteopathy to patients. To find out if NHS treatment is available in your area, speak to your GP and/or contact: 1. If you are in England – your local primary care trust. 2. If you are in Scotland – your local health board. 3. If you are in Wales – your local health authority. 4. If you are in Northern Ireland – your local health and social service board/group. There is more information on who to contact in your region on the NHS website at If your GP is on the list of doctors in the NHS section of this website, you will be able to have a course of osteopathy paid for by the NHS. A referral from your GP is required. Please ask for further information. Davis Powers & Associates are able to provide osteopathic treatment on the NHS providing your GP is on the list of providers. Please see NHS section of our website for further info or contact us directly.

Does it hurt ?

Some soft tissue treatment may cause discomfort during treatment. Your osteopath will tell you what to expect, and will want you to let them know if you are in pain. You may feel a little stiff or sore after treatment. This is a normal, healthy response to the treatment.

How do I know if an Osteopath is registered ?

The title ‘osteopath’ is protected by law. It is against the law for anyone to call themselves an osteopath unless they are registered with the GOsC. If you are concerned please contact the General Osteopathic Council on 020 7357 6655.

Is Osteopathic treatment safe ?

There’s no such thing as a form of medical treatment which is guaranteed 100% safe in every case. Even the painkillers you buy in the supermarket for a headache may cause severe side effects in some patients. That said, however, Osteopathy has one of the best safety records of any medically-related profession. Osteopaths are trained to recognise any condition that might make Osteopathic treatment inadvisable, and will refer patients for appropriate medical attention in such cases. Just as a Doctor regards safety as the most important factor in selecting the appropriate medication for a particular patient, so an Osteopath will also select the most appropriate style of treatment with safety as the prime consideration.

What should I wear ?

As with any medical examination, you will probably be asked to undress to your underwear, so please wear something you are comfortable in.

How long do Osteopathic appointments usually last ?

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