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What is Osteopathy?

Osteopathy (founded in 1874 by Dr. Andrew Taylor Still in USA) is an established internationally recognized manual medicine system of analysis and treatment, which lays its main emphasis on the structural and functional integrity of the musculoskeletal system. 

Are there International Standards for Osteopathic Training?

Of interest is a recent international document published by the “World Health Organization” (WHO) in 2010 entitled, “Benchmarks for Training in Traditional/ Complementary and Alternative Medicine: Benchmarks for Training in Osteopathy.”

World Health Organization 2010. ISBN 978 924 1599665 (NLM classification: WB 940)

http://www.who.int/medicines/areas/traditional/BenchmarksforTraininginOsteopathy.pdf

This document clearly articulates (see p.10) that there are presently two (2) categories of training programs within the existing disciplines of osteopathy practiced worldwide: Type I - Four year full-time training (4200 hours), for those with no prior health-care training; and Type II - (1000 hour training) for those with prior training as health-care professionals. Both of these training programs, according to this WHO report, enable individuals to become qualified osteopathic practitioners, or “primary-contact health-care practitioners”.

On page 10 of this document, under the headline “Training of osteopathic practitioners”, there are two different training pathways described in detail, referred to as “Type I” and “Type II” programmes. The specifics of the “Type II Programme”, which would summarize the training available here in Canada, begins on page 14 of this document.

The Type II programme is designed to enable other health-care professionals to become qualified osteopathic practitioners. The syllabus and curriculum for Type II programmes will vary depending upon the prior health-care training and clinical experience of each individual student. Graduates of Type II programmes must demonstrate the same competencies of osteopathy as graduates of Type I programmes. This programme typically has duration of 1000 hours, to be adapted depending on the individual's prior training and knowledge.” (WHO, Benchmarks for Training in Osteopathy, page 14).

The 5 year, part-time training program that manual osteopathic practitioners in Nova Scotia attend at the Collège d’Études Ostéopathiques (CEO) consists of over 1300 hours of class-room instruction, coupled with a supervised external student clinic that currently totals 144 hours. Additionally, a research thesis is undertaken, typically taking between 1 – 2 years to complete, which then must be defended in front of an international jury. This more than fulfills the above-stated requirement for graduates of the “Type II” osteopathic program.

What is Natural Medicine?

Natural Medicine is a term used to convey the idea that with an osteopathic treatment, nothing is added (medications or remedies) or subtracted (surgery) from the body. Instead, the osteopathic philosophy embraces the notion that the body is naturally able to heal itself. The practitioner of Traditional Osteopathy works with the body to enhance this natural ability to self-regulate and self-heal.

 

What is Palpation?

 

Palpation (sometimes referred to as listening) is a diagnostic skill that the Osteopath uses to feel or sense the state of the tissues or systems being examined. This sense encompasses the many sensory aspects of touch, such as the ability to detect moisture, texture, temperature differential, and subtle motion. This ability to detect almost imperceptible motion, provides the Osteopathic Manual Practitioner with the capability of perceiving the inherent motion present in all living organisms. This palpatory ability is not a gift—rather it is a trained skill that takes years to develop.