Beginners Guide To Osteopathy In New Zealand

Osteopath treat young male for jaw pain

I interviewed Dr Caley Olesen from The Local Osteo to find out what their most Frequently Asked Questions about Osteopathy are.

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What is an Osteopath?

Your local osteopath is a healthcare professional who uses physical manipulation, exercise, and other therapies to diagnose and treat various conditions, such as damage to the muscles, tendons, and ligaments.

This often includes the diagnosis and treatment of skeletal and neuromuscular disorders, myofascial pain, sports injuries, joint-related problems, and postural imbalances.

What Conditions are Treated by an Osteopath?

Some of the more common conditions that are treated by an osteopath include lower back pain, sciatica, headaches, neck and shoulder pain, muscle strains, tendinitis, postural stress, and repetitive strain-related injuries.

Osteopaths may also help people who are dealing with chronic pain, sports injuries, spinal misalignment, and chronic fatigue syndrome.

How Does an Osteopath Diagnose a Condition?

When diagnosing a condition, an osteopath will take several steps. First, they will conduct a physical examination, which includes inspecting the body for any imbalances or misalignments. They will also take a complete medical history of the patient, assess any underlying conditions, and review their lifestyle choices.

With this information, an osteopath can create a personalised treatment plan based on the individual’s needs.

What Treatment Does an Osteopath Provide?

Treatment plans are tailored to each individual’s specific needs. Common forms of treatment include therapeutic stretching, manipulative therapy, soft tissue massage, and advice about diet and exercise.

In some cases, an osteopath may use complementary therapies such as acupuncture, hydrotherapy, or nutrition plans.

Are Osteopaths Regulated?

Yes, osteopaths are required to be registered with the Osteopathic Council of New Zealand and have a current Annual Practising Certificate.

What Qualifications Do Osteopaths Need?

To become an osteopath you need to have the following qualifications:
– Bachelor of Musculoskeletal Health or Applied Science
– Postgraduate Diploma in Osteopathy

You may apply for registration only if you hold a qualification:
– Accredited by the Osteopathic Council of New Zealand, being:
– a Master of Osteopathy; or
– a Bachelor of Musculoskeletal Health and Postgraduate Diploma in Osteopathy; and
– Awarded by an institution accredited by the Osteopathic Council of New Zealand
– This currently includes Unitec Institute of Technology, Ara Institute of Canterbury and Te Pūkenga New Zealand Institute of Skills and Technology


You have passed the OCNZ qualifications assessment process.
– The Osteopathic Council does not, at present, recognise any other New Zealand qualification.

What is the Difference Between an Osteopath and a Chiropractor?

The main difference between an osteopath and a chiropractor is that osteopathy uses a more holistic approach to diagnosis and treatment. Osteopathic practitioners evaluate the whole body to determine the cause of the problem. By contrast, chiropractors focus more on the spine and musculoskeletal system.

What Are the Benefits of Osteopathy?

Osteopathy serves a variety of purposes, some of which include treating and managing a range of musculoskeletal problems including sciatica, back pain, joint pain, tension in the neck and shoulders, and much more.

It also helps improve posture and range of motion in the joints, releases tension from the tissues, increases circulation for better oxygenation of the cells, and promotes greater emotional balance and wellbeing.

Who Can Benefit from Osteopathy?

Osteopathy can benefit people of all ages. Athletes, dancers, martial artists, and anyone who has sustained an injury can benefit greatly from treatment since it helps bring balance to the body and its many systems.

Is Osteopathy Safe?

Osteopathy is a safe and effective form of treatment. It is important to seek treatment from a qualified and licensed osteopath to ensure you’re getting the best care possible.

What Should I Expect from an Osteopath?

During an osteopathic appointment, it’s important to provide the practitioner with full disclosure about your health in order to get the most out of the session. Your osteopath may ask questions about your diet, lifestyle, job or recreational activities, and any previous or current health problems.

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