Frequently Asked Questions

What is Osteopathy?

Osteopathy is a manual therapy that uses a combination of hands-on techniques to diagnose and treat physical disorders, and restore the body to optimal health. It is a treatment modality in which the body is treated as a whole to address many kinds of pain, discomfort and immobility. .

The guiding principles of osteopathy are that the body is an interrelated unit of structure and function, and that it has a self-regulating mechanism which maintains optimal health. Osteopathic treatment aims to restore normal alignment and movement to assist the body’s self regulating mechanisms return the body to health.   

What sort of training does a New Zealand osteopath have?

In New Zealand osteopathic training involves four years of full-time training for a bachelors degree or honours degree.  Another year of full-time training will complete a masters degree in osteopathic medicine.  All osteopaths in New Zealand must complete at least 25 hours of ongoing training every year. 

How does an osteopathy work?

Osteopaths diagnose and treat the body by following clues provided by your body as well as the client’s story, working with different parts of the body such as the skeleton, ligaments, fascia, and musculature.  Osteopaths seek to identify and treat the underlying source of health issues.

Are all osteopaths the same?

Osteopaths learn a range of techniques and can adapt their treatments to suit patients. Osteopaths may offer slightly different treatments: some may focus on structural techniques such as  “clicking” joints, while others use a gentler approach, achieving more incremental changes.  Many offer both, and work with what the patient is comfortable with.

What is the difference between an osteopath and a chiropractor?

The main difference is that chiropractors focus on the wellness of the spine whereas osteopaths treat the whole body. Chiropractors are also more ‘joint-focused’, whereas osteopaths are more holistic.

Why would I visit an osteopath?

Visiting an osteopath is appropriate if you are experiencing pain in any area of the body, or if your body is simply not functioning as well as you would like. Osteopaths take a very detailed case history and if we feel your pain needs to be investigated by your GP we will refer you.   It is also a good idea to have occasional osteopathic treatment in the absence of pain and dysfunction, as a way to maintain a healthy functioning system.

What is “Manipulation”?

The term “manipulation” means moving and shifting the structures and tissues of the body , which can be done with the skillful of different levels of force. A clicking sound may occur when moving joints but this sound is just the release of nitrogen, which is released when under pressure.

Will you click my joints?

“Clicking joints” can be adjustments or sometimes “HVT” – high velocity thrust.  These are techniques to release tension from the tissues and free up the movement in the joints.  As the name suggests, they involve a quick, precise movement of the bones of a joint, and are often accompanied by a “click” or “pop” sound.  They can be used throughout the body, including the neck and spine.  The technique will be explained at the time, and you will be asked for your prior consent.

What is your cancellation policy?

To ensure I can help as many clients as time permits I require notice if you wish to cancel or postpone an appointment.  If possible give me 24 hours, if you cannot give 24 hours advance notice, please advise me as soon as possible.  Failure to give sufficient notice may result in the treatment fee being charged, either in part or in whole.  If you give no notice and do not arrive for your appointment, the full fee will be charged.

What kind of force will a structural osteopathic use?

A structural osteopath will push and move different parts of the body which could be a quick release to joints or tissues, rhythmic movements, stretching, massage or pressure/trigger point release. The amount of force used will be appropriate to the area of treatment.

What is cranial osteopathic treatment?

Cranial osteopathy involves gently working with fluids and the 8 cranial (skull) bones.   Our brains are surrounded by liquid and supported by the skull. Keeping fluid moving well within this structure is helped by cranial osteopathy.  Because they have softer skulls children, infants and babies can benefit especially from this kind of treatment.

How long is a session?

Sessions are approximately 30 minutes and this includes: case history; assessment; diagnosis; ACC form completion; and management advice.

What should I bring to a session?

If possible please bring any related documents such as x-rays, any scans and your ACC claim number if you have an existing claim.  As your osteopath I can also request this on your behalf.

What kind of clothes do I wear for a treatment?

My treatments work with light clothing rather than undressing to underwear as some osteopaths do.  You need to feel comfortable, ideally wearing loose-fitting clothes.  I can work around most clothing situations with covering such as light blankets.

Will the session be painful or uncomfortable?

Most treatments are gentle, but sometimes tight muscles need more pressure and this can be a little uncomfortable.

What can I expect to feel during and after the treatment?

Depending on the area you have had treated and the condition of your body, you may feel aching as your musculoskeletal system releases in areas that have been treated and areas where related compensation is occurring.  Generally people feel that their pain or discomfort is a little easier after the treatment and this continues over the following days.  Sometimes chronic areas can “flare up” a little, as new blood supply is delivered to areas of chronic dysfunction or inflammation.  Patients often comment that they can feel their body adjusting in the days following treatment.

How many treatments will I need?

Treatment frequency varies depending on the underlying issue.  Sometimes people need short-term sessions, while others have deep, chronic issues and may come more regularly.  Many clients come once in a while to get back on track.  When we first meet it will become clearer how many treatments you may need to help bring your body back to wellness.

What if I am unhappy with the service I receive?

Your satisfaction is very important to me and I welcome your feedback.  If you feel there was something which concerned you please let me know either in person or in writing.  If you would like to make a formal complaint you will need to contact the Osteopathic Council.