Fishponds Practice


Osteopathy - Training and Regulation

One of the most important functions of the GOsC is to evaluate the content and standards of the courses which train osteopaths.

Historically courses which trained osteopaths awarded the qualification DO or diploma in osteopathy. However with the advent of statutory self regulation in the mid 1990's, most gaduates were awarded a BsC(hons) or BsC degree.

As there was considered no practical way of evaluating past courses, when the Osteopaths Act, (1993), was enforced in the late 1990's all osteopaths in practice at that time were subjected to a detailed examination of their knowledge and competence. There was no 'grandfather clause' under the Act, whereby existing practitioners might go through automatically onto the new register. Any who did not meet the required standards were examined in more detail and submitted for retraining and mentoring. Some of course were eventually rejected.

Since then the only route to becoming an osteopath and to be registered with the GOsC is to successfully complete an approved course providing a recognised qualification.

Some elements of the courses on offer today are very similar to those DO courses, many of which were of a very high standard. Yet the change to statutory self regulation has created much greater security for the osteopathic colleges and far greater opportunities to collaborate with universities and other academic institutions. This does seem to have resulted in a raising of standards in some areas of the courses as best practice in the rest of the academic world has been adopted.

Whilst anatomy , physiology, pathology, diagnosis, nutrition, biomechanics and all the other subjects that an osteopath needs to know are still on the curriculum, there is now a much greater emphasis on research skills. This is both by producing pieces of research and by being able to interpret and make use of professional and scientific literature.

Historically courses tended to consist of four years of full time study and this is still true at:

British Osteopathy Society Buildig

The British School of Osteopathy, (BSO):


European School of Osteopathy building

The European School of Osteopathy, (ESO:  )

British College of Osteopathic Medicine

The British College Of Oseopathic Medicine, (BCOM), http// has just introduced a five year full time course.

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Some Useful Osteopathic Web Links
(taken from the NCOR Journal 'Osteopath' February 2005)

The internet has an ever-increasing number of sites, but only a limited number are useful for osteopathic research. A selection of sites follows; it is not exhaustive, but includes sites widely agreed to be both useful and of good quality.

Accredited osteopathic education institutions:

When looking for research activity within the profession and the research profile of the different educational institutions, the colleges’ own websites are useful. Listed alphabetically they are:

• British College of Osteopathic Medicine:

This site also lists the titles of presentations made at all five International Conferences on Advances in Osteopathic Research (ICAOR).

• British School of Osteopathy:

• College of Osteopaths:

• European School of Osteopathy:

• London College of Osteopathic Medicine:

• London School of Osteopathy:

• Oxford Brookes University:

• Surrey Institute of Osteopathic Medicine:

In addition, the BSO produces the Osteopathic Research and Treatment Bulletin:

Details of undergraduate osteopathic research, including contributions fro the BSO, can also be found on the website for the Vienna School of Osteopathy:


Registering and professional bodies:

Useful information can be found on these sites for the United Kingdom osteopathic profession and its counterparts overseas:

• The General Osteopathic Council:

• The British Osteopathic Association:

• American Osteopathic Association:

• Australian Osteopathic Association:

• Canadian Osteopathic College:

General osteopathic resources:

Approximately 500,000 sites can be found relating to osteopathy if the term is typed into Google. Many of these are solely for marketing purposes and the scant information is often of limited use. Examples of some good general sites are:

• Osteopath – 222 of the best sites:

• Osteopathic Resources:

• Spine Information:

• The Osteopathic Home Page:

Societies for areas of special interest:

• Arthritis and Musculo-skeletal Alliance:

• Australian Spine Society:

• Cervical Spine Research Society:

• Migraine Action Organisation:

• Scoliosis Research Society:

• Society for Back Pain Research:

• The Migraine Trust:

• The Sutherland Society:


Sites for evidence-based medicine:

• Effective healthcare bulletins:

• Effectiveness matters:

• Evidence-based management of musculoskeletal pain:

• Internet Resources in Health and Medicine:

• National Institute for Clinical Evidence:


Other useful websites:

• University of Texas:

Information about a number of useful CAM sites and databases for students.

• Osteopathic Centre for Children:

• Osteopathic Sports Care Association:

• Children’s Hospital Boston:

The Centre for Holistic Paediatric Education and Research (CHPER) is devoted to improving the wellbeing of children through advances in holistic healthcare.

• Complementary/Integrative Medicine Education Resources of MD Anderson Cancer Centre

A good site for cancer therapy information.

• Rosenthal Centre for CAM Research on Women’s Health, funded by NIH:

• National Electronic Library for Health (NELH):

This particularly useful site has links to a number of other valuable sites.

• Bandolier: This is an independent journal about evidence based healthcare written by Oxford scientists. It is a source of high quality information for healthcare professionals, patients and their carers. Information comes from systematic reviews, meta-analyses, randomised trials and from high quality observational studies.

• The Cochrane Library: The Cochrane collaboration was founded in 1993 and is an international nonprofit and independent organisation. It produces and disseminates systematic reviews of healthcare interventions. cochrane-frame.html

• Health Information for London Online ( HILO):

• Health Education Resources Online (HERO):

• Central Office for Research Ethics:

• Current Trials in Medicine:

• National Research Register of Health Related Research Projects in England, Scotland and Wales:

• Research Councils ( UK):

• Medical Research Council:

• Department of Health:

• Faculty of Public Health:

• Anglo European College of Chiropractic:

• British Chiropractic Association:

• British Dietetic Association:

• Chartered Society of Physiotherapy:

• General Chiropractic Council:

• Quackwatch:


These will list all previously published research and other osteopathic literature.

• To improve your search techniques:


To access Pub Med, CINAHL (Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health), Cochrane, Merck and Guidelines databases.

• Medline (Pub Med):

• The Osteopathic Literature Database:

• Physiotherapy Evidence Database (PEDro):

• Database of Abstracts of Reviews and Effectiveness (DARE):

• TRIP database:

• Allied and Complementary Medicine (AMED) database:

• NIH International Bibliographic Information on Dietary Supplements (IBIDS):

A database of published international scientific literature on dietary supplements.

• The Arthritis and Complementary Medicine Database (ARCAM) and the Complementary and Alternative Medicine and Pain Database (CAMPAIN):



These will give current published research. Some journals will give free access to full text articles over a certain age e.g. 12 months since publication.

Osteopathy Today:

British Medical Journal:

Clinical Evidence: msd/msd.jsp


• New England Journal of Medicine:

Manual Therapy:
www.harcourtinternational. com/journals/math

Journal of the American Osteopathic Association:

Free Medical Journals:


European Journal of Pain:

Science Direct:

The Lancet:

Clinical Biomechanics:

Clinical Chiropractic (formerly British Journal of Chiropractic): www.harcourtinternational. com/journals/clch

Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics (JMPT):

Medscape General Medical Information:

American Journal of Clinical Nutrition:

Annals of Internal Medicine:


Journal of Clinical Investigation:

Journal of Neuroscience:

Journal of the American Medical Association:

Royal College of General Practitioners OnlineJournals:

The Medical Literature Guide:

Charitable organisations:

• BackCare (formerly known as the National Back Pain Association):

• Action Medical Research:

• Arthritis Research Campaign:


Research course and funding information:

• RD Learning:


Current health news:

Patients often bring newspaper articles to their appointments. The most popular sites are:

Daily Mail:

The Daily Telegraph:

The Guardian:

The Independent:

The Times:



• National Statistics Online:

• Glossary of statistical terms:

• Statistic resources: resources.html#software

• Sample size calculations:


Sites useful for practice:

• Online Medical Dictionary:

• British National Formulary:

• Radiographic Anatomy of the Skeleton: Anatomy/skeleton.htm

• Laboratory test results normal values:


Complementary medicine research sites:

• Research Council for Complementary Medicine:

N.B. A fee is charged for a search.

• Institute for Musculoskeletal Research and Clinical Implementation:

• National Research Register, UK:

• Bastyr University for naturopathic education:

• National Centre for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) of USA:

• The Meridian Institute:


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These links are represented in the Links and Resources section of this website where it is possible to suggest your own reciprocal link for inclusion in this website.  If you have an Osteopathic Website which you think could be added to our own database of weblinks and you also have a reciprocal link from your website to this one, then please use the application form in the Links and Resources section to submit your reciprocal link.




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