- What is Osteopathy?
- How can Osteopathy play a role in health care in BC and whom can it help?
- Why do you now call yourselves Osteopathic Practitioners instead of osteopaths?
- Is treatment covered by MSP or extended benefits and how much does it cost?
- Do I need a Dr's Referral?
- How does the SPMPO compare with osteopathic organisations in other parts of Canada and the rest of the world?
- What are the differences between osteopaths and osteopathic physicians?
Osteopathy is a safe and effective approach to health care which works in combination with the individuals own homeostatic mechanisms to help restore homeostasis and optimal health. It understands the relationship between structure and function within the body and that all aspects of the body must work together to maintain health.
In practice an osteopathic practitioner will assess the whole body as a unit and not just the area that is causing symptoms. For example if you may complain of knee pain, the osteopathic practitioner will assess the function of the knee but also look for any compensations within the body that are a result or a cause of any dysfuntion in the knee.
Once the osteopathic practitioner has assessed the whole body they will use a combination of techniques such as joint articulation, myofascial release, visceral and cranial, as appropriate for each individual. The result is that the knee will have less stress placed upon it, allowing for healing and a decrease in pain, while also improving the functional biomechanics throughout the body which may improve that diffucult digestion and decrease those headaches that seemed to have nothing to do with the knee pain.
Osteopathy forms a very useful adjunct to health care options already on offer in British Columbia. Results with chronic pain scenarios, for just one example, happen more quickly than with most other approaches, proving to be less painful and less arduous for the patient - and are much more cost effective.
The Osteopathic International Alliance (OIA) recognises internationally that there are two streams of osteopathic practice. Osteopathy practised by osteopaths, and osteopathic medicine practised by osteopathic physicians.
The majority of countries in the world and the majority of osteopaths in Canada use these internationally accepted titles and definitions. Unfortunately, British Columbia is out of step with these standards and the titles “Osteopath” and “Osteopathic Physician” are currently reserved for osteopathic physicians here.
Members of the SPMPO therefore use the title ‘Osteopathic Practitioner” in British Columbia to make it very clear that we are not physicians and to conform with the law.
We regret any public confusion which may be caused by not following international standards, but this is beyond our control.
Treatment with an osteopathic practitioner is not covered by MSP as we are not physicians. However more and more extended benefits companies will now cover osteopathy so plese check with your company for the specifics of your plan. The cost of treatment will vary slightly between practitioner so please check with the individual for their fees.
No you do not need a referral to visit an osteopathic practitoner.
The SPMPO is not an official regulating body, nor is it able to certify any provincial recognition. Like other organisations of its kind in Canada and throughout the world, however, it is an association of professional osteopaths (or Osteopathic Practitioners in BC) committed to fostering education of the public about the profession, demonstrating accountability and ethical practice, and providing a list of practitioners whose training is known to be of a high standard.
The training of osteopaths (called Osteopathic Practitioners within BC) and osteopathic physicians have the same origin - in the work of Dr. Andrew Taylor Still, MD.
From early in the 20th century, however, these two fields were evolving differently. As the name indicates, osteopathic physicians are medical doctors. As such, they are trained to prescribe drugs, perform surgery, deliver babies, and to have the prerequisites to specialize in other branches of medicine. Osteopathic physicians are almost exclusively trained in the USA. Osteopaths (or Osteopathic Practitioners within BC) are not MDs, they are not trained in allopathic medicine but purely osteopathic manual treatment. Osteopaths are trained in many countries, all over the world.
Worldwide osteopaths (or Osteopathic Practitioners within BC) have a very comprehensive practical training in what has come to be known as Osteopathic Manual Therapy. It is this manual practice or manipulation which was most distinctive about the founder of osteopathys (Dr. Still) methods, and it is the wide range of manual practice approaches that evolved from Still's principles which forms the core of Osteopathy. In fact, the manual practice of osteopathy has hugely influenced all of the physical therapy approaches - from chiropractice through massage and physiotherapy, to rolfing, cranio-sacral therapy, sports medicine and zero balancing.
Both streams of osteopathy are recognized by the osteopathic international alliance (OIA) which represents 75,000 osteopathic practitioners and osteopathic physicians from more than 20 different countries worldwide.