This is probably the most common question asked. Osteopathy and Chiropractic are similar in that both disciplines use manual therapy. Both believe that the body is a self-regulating and self-healing mechanism. In manipulating aggravated sections of the body, they are able to assist in accelerating these mechanisms. Both disciplines started in America in late 1800s – Osteopathy in 1874, then Chiropractic followed in 1895. Both disciplines are taught as evidence based complimentary medicine streams in Australia. Both are taught as 5 year University degrees, requiring minimum supervised clinical hours before graduation.
How Different is Osteopathy and Chiropractic?
Chiropractors believe that in order to have a healthy body, there must be no impairment of the nervous system. By manipulating the spine, chiropractors ensure that the nervous system – which is embedded in the spine and has roots that come out from the spine to supply all areas of the body – is not aggravated, and thus keeping the body in a state of health. Chiropractors are known for their manipulation techniques and use of the activator tool, though not all will treat using these techniques.
Osteopaths believe that the body works as a unit and that as structure determines function and vice versa, that all systems are inter-related and can have an effect on the health of the body. They focus more on the musculo-skeletal system, but also encompass the nervous system, the circulatory system, lymphatic system, fascial system and digestive system to ensure whole body health. Osteopaths have varied techniques that they use to achieve results including, but not restricted to, manipulation, massage, stretching, muscle energy technique and craniosacral technique.
Ask a Better Question
Rather than focus on the difference between osteopathy and chiropractic, it’s far better to ask the question ‘which practitioner is going to give me long term results?’ It’s recommended that you ask your friends and family for their recommendations on a good osteopath or chiropractor. This will help you find a practitioner that has previously given good results to other people.
And if you visit a new osteopath or chiropractor and fail to see results within 3-5 treatments, it may be time to choose another practitioner.
Read our helpful guide about the 10 questions you should ask your osteopath and chiropractor