top of page


Osteopathic manual practice (also known as osteopathy, manual osteopathy or European style osteopathy outside the US) is a health profession that offers patient-centred whole body approaches to healthcare for functional improvement and pain relief. OMP recognises the vital link between the structure of the body and the way it functions. Osteopathic manual practitioners (OMPs) focus on how the skeleton, joints, muscles, nerves, circulation, connective tissue and internal organs function as a holistic unit.
Osteopathy in US (also known as osteopathic medicine or American style osteopathy) was founded in 1874 by Dr. Andrew Taylor Still. Currently in the United States osteopathy is a medical system of care, indistinguishable from medicine. There are over 145,000 students and osteopaths (also known as osteopathic physicians) in USA. American Doctors of Osteopathy (DO) are recognized as medical
professionals in all states with the same scope of practice as medical doctors (MDs) and similar to an MD can prescribe medications and perform surgery, take x-rays and offer other medical and diagnostic care.

At the beginning of the 20 th century over a century ago a British osteopath who was a student of Dr Still founded a school of osteopathy in the United Kingdome to offer doctor of osteopathy degree program with the same curriculum as a medical school. Students were going to learn surgery and pharmacology. Fortunately the medical doctors in UK opposed this school and put pressure on the government to cancel the operating license of this new British osteopathy school. The government gave in. Operating license of the English school was taken away. The school however modified its curriculum by removing the surgery and pharmacology, hoping that in future it could obtain the license again. Students started to study, however the school was unsuccessful in getting a license to teach medicine. Students graduated, called themselves osteopaths and started practicing. And a new profession was born!

Those newly graduated osteopaths in UK had similar education to medical doctors without learning surgery and pharmacology. Their success in treating chronic pain made them popular. Some of these students moved to other countries and opened their own schools calling what they taught osteopathy. As a result, osteopathy became the name of two different distinct health professions around the world. In USA and Canada, osteopathy means osteopathic medicine or American style osteopathy. Its practitioners go to school same as medical doctors and pass similar boards to become licensed physicians. The DOs in USA and Canada work exactly like a medical doctor, being able to perform surgery and prescribe medications amongst other things.

Outside USA and Canada, the profession of osteopathy means manual osteopathic care, without surgery or medications. Its practitioners are called osteopaths in all countries of the world (except USA and Canada). The profession of osteopathy is regulated in UK, Australia, New Zealand, France, South Africa, Italy and some other European countries.
In USA and Canada the American style osteopathy (osteopathic medicine) is regulated. In Canada the European style osteopathy is called manual osteopathy to distinguish itself from osteopathic medicine and its practitioners are called manual osteopaths, osteopathic manual practitioners and/or osteopathic
manual therapists. In the Canadian province of Quebec however they are called osteopaths. Dr Shawn Pourgol, president of National Academy of Osteopathy (Canada) was successful in getting the profession of manual osteopathy recognized in Canada as a health profession by getting Osteopathic Manual Practitioners classified under Canada’s National Occupational Classification (NOC) code 3232(practitioners of natural healing). Currently in Canada there are about 3,000 manual osteopaths and about 50 osteopathic physicians.

In the United States, to differentiate European style of osteopathy from osteopathic medicine, the profession has been named OSTEOPATHIC MANUAL PRACTICE (OMP). Its practitioners in USA are calledosteopathic manual practitioners.
Osteopathic manual practitioners are not osteopaths in USA and do not offer osteopathy, osteopathic medicine or medical care. They are osteopathic manual practitioners offering only hands-on manual therapy. They do not offer medical diagnosis. They are not doctors. And they do not prescribe medications, perform surgery or offer any other restricted medical or diagnostic care (such as taking x-rays, or performing electrotherapy). OMPs in US do not perform spinal or any type of joint manipulation instead they rely on low force non-invasive gentle rhythmic techniques to help clients recover from acute and chronic pain.

bottom of page