Osteopaths are primary health care practitioners who recognise the important link between the structure of the body and the way it functions. Osteopathy is a form of manual medicine which facilitates healing by focusing on how the skeleton, joints, muscles, nerves, circulation, connective tissue and internal organs function as a holistic unit.
Using skilled evaluation, diagnosis and a wide range of hands-on techniques, osteopaths can identify important types of dysfunction in your body. Osteopathic treatment uses techniques such as stretching and massage for general treatment of the soft tissues (muscles, tendons and ligaments) along with mobilisation and manipulation of specific joints and soft tissues using direct or indirect techniques.
In New Zealand, osteopaths are university trained in anatomy, physiology, pathology, general medical diagnosis and osteopathic techniques. Osteopaths are trained to recognise conditions which require medical referral. They work with other registered health professionals including general practitioners, specialists and radiologists to provide the best service to their patients.
Osteopaths are registered ACC treatment providers, and you do not require a referral from your GP to receive ACC covered treatment. Osteopathic treatment is also covered by some private health insurers.