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Since the Osteopaths Act of 1993, osteopathy is statutorily regulated by the General Osteopathic Council (GOsC). By law, all osteopaths must be registered here further to a minimum of four years training, and it is an offence for anyone to call themselves an osteopath if they are not registered. The British Medical Association's guidance for GPs states that doctors can safely refer patients to osteopaths.
Osteopathy is a manual, physical therapy, with practitioners using their hands to help to relieve pain and restrictions, and encourage optimal function. A variety of techniques may be used, which might include soft tissue techniques, mobilisation and articulation, or manipulation, depending on the presentation and the patient 's preferences.
Cranial osteopathy is a subtle, refined treatment which encourages the release of stress and tension throughout the body. It is a very gentle method of treatment. For more information, please refer to the Sutherland Society.
All types of osteopathy look at the whole patient, as well as focussing at the site of discomfort, with the aim of finding the cause of the presenting problem.
Myofascial acupuncture, also called dry needling, can be very effective for pain relief for a wide range of musculoskeletal pain, as well as sprains and muscle spasms. It is based on anatomy and works to inhibit the perception of pain. It can also be used to release trigger points - 'knots' in muscles - often with less discomfort to the patient than by working with the hands.