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Inaugural National Osteopathy Awareness Week

Inaugural National Osteopathy Awareness Week

Osteopathy Mainstream Healthcare Choice in World First ACC Report

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 study by worldwide association, the Osteopathic International Alliance (OIA).

To increase awareness in New Zealand about osteopathic healthcare, the inaugural National Osteopathy Awareness Week 13-19 April is being held to coincide with the OIA’s World Osteopathy Health Week.

Organiser and President of the national professional body, Osteopaths NZ Leyla Okyay says; “Osteopathy is no longer considered a complementary and alternative medicine, it is a mainstream, legislated healthcare choice. Osteopaths are registered ACC treatment providers and our peers in the medical industry are actively referring patients to our practitioners.”

2014 marks another milestone for the profession. It is the ten year anniversary of the establishment of the Health Practitioners Competence Assurance Act (2003) and the establishment by the Minister of Health of the industry’s governing body, the Osteopathic Council of New Zealand (OCNZ). 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.

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.

More key findings from the statistical study show that the osteopathic profession has seen a dramatic increase in the general public choosing to consult with an osteopath compared to the early 2000’s 3 with more women choosing osteopathy compared to men.

The practice of osteopathy originated in the United States over one hundred years ago in 1874 and it is an evidence-informed form of manual medicine. It is based on the principle that the body is fundamentally able to heal itself. It facilitates healing by focusing on how the skeleton, joints, muscles, nerves, circulation, connective tissue and internal organs function as a whole unit.

Unitec in Auckland is the sole tertiary provider of osteopathic training in New Zealand, currently training just over one hundred osteopaths in a five year program that culminates in a Master qualification in osteopathy. Up to twenty five practitioners annually enter the profession from countries overseas, predominantly the United Kingdom.

There are 407 registered and practicing osteopaths in New Zealand currently.


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