- Use massage, stretching and movement to help clients improve their health, posture or to relieve pain
- You'll need good levels of strength and physical fitness
- You'll normally be self-employed so your income and hours will depend on how many clients you have
As an osteopath, you'll help your client by making sure their muscles, bones, ligaments, nerves and joints work well together.
- Asking clients about their health and medical history
- Examining their posture and gait
- Paying particular attention to their muscles, bones and joints
- Using X-rays and other methods to help with your diagnosis
- Planning a course of treatment
- Using gentle, hands-on techniques like joint mobilisation and massage
- Advising clients about diet and lifestyle
- Giving clients exercises to do at home
If self-employed, your income and hours will depend on the number of clients you have. You may need to work some evenings and weekends to fit in with your clients' needs. You may work from your own home, from an alternative therapy clinic, sports clinic, health centre or hospital.
You'll work with a variety of clients, including older people with arthritis, adults with lower back pain, people recovering from a sports injury, and women going through posture changes caused by pregnancy.
To be an osteopath, you'll need sensitivity and understanding, to enjoy working with other people, customer service skills, patience in stressful situations, analytical thinking skills, counselling skills, flexibility and openness to change, and knowledge of psychology.
You'll then usually need a degree or master's degree approved by the General Osteopathic Council, which are full time for 4 years, or part-time for 5 years.
Paid or voluntary experience with an osteopath would be useful before applying.
You must be registered with the General Osteopathic Council to become an osteopath.
If you're already medically qualified, for example as a doctor or physiotherapist, you may be able to take a shorter postgraduate course.
You'll also need liability insurance and clearance from the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS).
With experience you could set up your own osteopathy practice. You could take further training and move into an academic career teaching osteopathy students. You could also move into osteopathic research.