Osteopathy and its contribution to global healthcare is celebrated annually in April by 500+ registered and practising New Zealand osteopaths during the national Osteopathy Awareness Week.
They join over 130,000 colleagues working in over fifty countries in the International Osteopathic Healthcare Week which runs in tandem with the Kiwi national event, held this year between 14th-20th April.
The aim of Osteopathy Awareness Week is to help communicate the importance of osteopathic care which originated in the United States over one hundred years ago in 1874 and has now spread across the world.
Once considered alternative, Osteopathy now makes a global contribution to a patient-centred, evidence-informed, integrative healthcare approach. With an increasing amount of people turning towards drug-free therapies, Osteopathy seems to be a popular approach to many.
The evidence-informed type of manual medicine is gentle and has wide ranging benefits.
“Osteopaths treat more than you think. We look at the interconnectedness of human physiology, the reciprocal relationship between structure and function, and we treat the individual, not just the physical symptoms. We can help people of all ages and from all walks of life, including newborns and the elderly,” says Osteopaths New Zealand President, Naaznin Karim.
The hands-on healthcare approach diagnoses problems arising in the musculoskeletal system and focuses on improving function and decreasing pain levels. It facilitates healing by looking at how the musculoskeletal system, nerves, circulation and internal organs function as one unit.
Typically, osteopaths can assist with:
Globally, Osteopathy is a well-established healthcare option that's also being utilised effectively by elite athletes on the international sporting stage.
In New Zealand, Osteopathy is regulated under the Health Practitioners Competence Assurance Act (2003) and Osteopaths are registered ACC providers.
Osteopaths in New Zealand must undergo four to five years university training, typically to a Masters postgraduate degree level, and if practising, be registered with the Osteopathic Council of New Zealand.
Unitec in Auckland and Ara in Canterbury are the two tertiary providers of Osteopathic training in New Zealand.
Jessica Gamblin, Communications, Osteopaths New Zealand
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.
Membership with Osteopaths New Zealand is voluntary, unlike the obligatory requirement to be registered with the Osteopathic Council of NZ, and approximately 60% of actively practising osteopaths in NZ are currently members of the association. As Osteopaths NZ promotes best practice, it proudly provides a badge of credibility to its members.
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 practice 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 and osteopathic medicine are making a significant contribution to global healthcare with the osteopathic profession now established in over 50 countries, according to a report released by the Osteopathic International Alliance (OIA) in 2014. The report – Osteopathy and Osteopathic Medicine – a Global View of Practice, Patients, Education and the Contribution to Healthcare Delivery – was commissioned by the OIA with consultation from the World Health Organization (WHO) as an initiative to document the growing significance of osteopathic healthcare worldwide.1
The OIA, of which Osteopaths NZ is a full member, recently marked its one-year anniversary since being admitted into official relations with the WHO.
1. The report “Osteopathy and Osteopathic Medicine – a Global View of Practice, Patients, Education and the Contribution to Healthcare Delivery” is available to download at www.oialliance.org
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