Osteopaths work with their clients to achieve a sense of wellbeing by helping them develop muscles, bones, ligaments, nerves and joints that work efficiently together. They do this by using their highly developed sense of touch to reduce swelling, ease pain, locate strains and increase mobility.
To work as an osteopath, you will need to be physically fit and have a genuine desire to help people. If you're interested in human biology, and have good coordination and practical skills, this job could be just right for you.
To train as an osteopath, you need to complete a four-year degree or master’s degree, and gain registration with the General Osteopathic Council (GOsC). If you are already medically qualified, you may be able to take a shortened programme.
As an osteopath, you would begin a session by asking your client about their health and medical history. You would examine their posture and gait, paying particular attention to their muscles, ligaments and vertebrae. You may also use X-rays and other traditional methods to help with your diagnosis.
With a diagnosis, you may plan a course of treatment, which would involve using gentle, hands-on techniques such as:
• joint mobilisation
• deep pressure.
You would also advise your clients about their diet and lifestyle. As part of their treatment, you may give clients exercises to do at home. Osteopathic treatments do not involve surgery or drugs.
You would work with a variety of clients who are experiencing a range of problems including:
• older people with arthritis
• babies with colic
• adults with lower back pain
• people recovering from a sports injury
• women going through posture changes caused by pregnancy.
You are likely to find most work as a self-employed osteopath in the private sector, running your own practice or working in a private health care centre or sports clinic.
To be successful, you will need to be prepared to invest time and money into building up your list of clients and establishing your reputation.
You may also find some opportunities in community-based clinic, working alongside chiropodists and physiotherapists. There may also be opportunities within occupational health teams or consultancy firms. You could check with your local surgery or clinical care commissioning group to see if osteopathy is offered locally. With experience you could go into research or training. You could also work overseas.
Those who have completed MBBS, BAMS, BHMS or bachelor of Naturopathy and Yogic science or any other bachelors degree in the medical field can apply for a course in Osteopathic medicine. However, there are only few institutes in India that offer course in this subject field.
As the Osteopaths charge as per treatment, their earnings will vary with the number of patients they see. However, this too will depend upon experience and place of employment. A self employed Osteopath is free to charge a sessional rate according to his/her reputation. Even for a single visit one may charge Rs. 4000 starting from Rs 500 at the minimum, this too depends on each case, but the fresher in the field can charge only less than this rate.