History and Regulation

Osteopaths in the United Kingdom are estimated to carry out over seven million consultations every year. Whilst osteopathy has continued to grow in popularity in recent years, it is actually almost as old as modern medicine, dating back to around 1870, in the United States, with the first osteopathic training college opening in the United Kingdom in 1907. 

Subsequently osteopaths have worked within a voluntary system of regulation, which set standards of training and practice. 

In 1993, osteopathy became the first major complimentary health care profession to be accorded statutory recognition under the 1993 Osteopaths Act. This culminated in the opening of the statutory Register of Osteopaths, by the General Osteopathic Council (GosC), in 1998. This ensures that all osteopaths are regulated by law, which requires the highest standards of practice and conduct. All osteopaths undergo a 4-5 year training in osteopathic medicine. Osteopaths are then required to undertake lifelong learning through mandatory continuing professional development (CPD).

UK government advice, through the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE), now recommends manual therapy and manipulation, of the type provided by osteopaths, as part of the treatment and management of non-specific persistent lower back pain.

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