Media Releases

19th April 2015


Osteopathy Recognised Globally & Celebrated Locally

"It's More Than Just Treating Bad Backs"


Osteopathy and its contribution to global healthcare will be celebrated this week by 400 registered and practicing New Zealand Osteopaths during the National Osteopathy Awareness Week 19-25 April.

They join 130,000 colleagues working in over fifty countries involved in the International Osteopathic Healthcare Week which runs in tandem with the Kiwi national event.

This week free health checks will be conducted in various parts of the country to help communicate the importance of osteopathic care which originated in the United States over one hundred years ago in 1874.

The evidence-informed type of manual medicine is gentle and has wide ranging benefits.

"It's more than just treating bad backs. We look at the whole interconnectedness of human physiology and treat the bigger picture of dysfunction, not just the physical symptom. We can help anyone from a newborn to an octogenarian", says Osteopaths New Zealand President, Mr Jonathon Lloyd Paine.

The hands-on healthcare approach diagnoses problems and provides treatment in order to decrease symptoms like pain and improve function. It facilitates healing by focussing on how the musculoskeletal system, nerves, circulation and internal organs function as one unit.

Typically Osteopaths can assist with:

  • Unsettled babies (reflux)
  • Debilitating headaches
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Chronic arthritis
  • Temporomandibular joint problems
  • Back pain
  • Pregnancy related disorders (pelvic pain)
  • Developmental problems
  • Sports injuries
  • Biomechanics
  • Rehabilitation

Globally, Osteopathy is a well-established healthcare option that's also being utilised effectively by elite athletes on the international sporting stage.

It's become an invaluable part of the New Zealand Olympic team preparation for cycling, triathlon and canoeing and an essential tool for board sailors competing at World Championship level.

In New Zealand it's regulated under the Health Practitioners Competence Assurance Act (2003) and Osteopaths are registered ACC providers.

Osteopaths in New Zealand must undergo five years university training to a Masters postgraduate degree level and if practicing, be registered with the Osteopathic Council of New Zealand.

Unitec in Auckland is the sole tertiary provider of Osteopathic training in New Zealand.


Media Enquiries:

Sarah Sparks


Managing Director

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Osteopaths New Zealand (ONZ)

National professional body representing registered osteopathic practitioners nationwide that was formed in March 2013 with the aim of providing a unified voice for the Osteopathic profession in New Zealand representing the interests of Osteopaths, as well as promoting and increasing awareness of Osteopathy. .

Osteopathy is experiencing exponential growth and has doubled over the last decade with over 130,000 practitioners working in over fifty countries according to a recent global study1 by worldwide association, the Osteopathic International Alliance (OIA).

Osteopathic Council of New Zealand (OCNZ)

The regulatory authority established by the Health Practitioners Competence Assurance Act (2003). The principle purpose of the Act is to protect the health and safety of members of the public by providing for mechanisms to ensure that health practitioners are competent and fit to practise their professions.

The title "Osteopath" is protected by the Act, so that only Osteopaths that are registered with the Osteopathic Council may use the title of Osteopath and only Osteopaths that hold a current practising certificate may lawfully practice Osteopathy in New Zealand. 

Osteopathy Featured in ACC Research

The growth and popularity of osteopathy in New Zealand has been further backed by figures from the largest study of its kind involving over three million ACC claims over an eight-year period in nine specific injury areas namely: cervical, thoracic, lumbar, sacroiliac, coccyx, shoulder, elbow, wrist, and ankle.

This retrospective analysis of ACC data, funded and managed by the OCNZ, provides a strong basis for concluding that osteopathy is a cost effective treatment and is experiencing a dramatic increase in patients choosing to consult an osteopath for the nine types of injuries listed in the report.

Whilst there is no annual spend data for osteopathic care in New Zealand on record, the ACC figures show that osteopathy, compared to other manual professions (i.e. chiropractors, physiotherapists, acupuncturists), attracted fewer treatment visits per claim, suggesting osteopathy to be more cost effective in the short to long term.2

More key findings from the statistical study show that the osteopathic profession has seen a dramatic increase in the general public choosing to consult wih an osteopath compared to the early 2000's3 with more women choosing osteopathy compared to men.4


1 Source:: Statistical Analysis of Manual Therapists Funded By ACC - Multiple Profession Claims

2 Source:: initial referrals and aspects of the patient journey - OCNZ Chairperson Emma Fairs

3,4 Source:: Statistical Analysis of Manual Therapists Funded By ACC - Demopraphic Profiles


Read previous media releases:

22nd February 2015

16th February 2015

17th September 2014

11th June 2014