What are the benchmarks for training in Osteopathy?
In Canada there are two(2) categories of education standards defined by the World Health Organization (WHO). The first is the Type 1 education which is often aimed for those who have no prior health-care training, whereas the Type 2 education is a program designed to create an add-on to individuals with previous health training, such as athletic therapists and registered massage therapists.
Type 1 training programs are typically a 4 year full time program. This includes supervised clinical training and students are required to complete a thesis/project. "Experts in osteopathy consider that acquiring appropriate mastery of osteopathy to be able to practice as primary-contact health-care professions, independently, or as members of a health-care team in various settings, requires time. A typical Type 1 program would take 4200 hours, including at least 1000 hours of supervised clinical practice and training. Osteopathic skills and physical examination training must be delivered via direct contact."
My education at the Canadian Academy of Osteopathy (CAO) was a Type 1 training program where I completed over 4500 hours in scientific and professional underpining studies, research studies and clinical/professional studies, in addition to over 1000 (documented) hours of supervised clinical training. However, while the Type 1 program is designed for those without a health background, I have also completed a Bachelor of Science Honours program with a major in human kinetics at the University of Guelph.
With all of the techniques that are taught, how is it any different from other manipulative therapy professions?
"Although manual techniques are used by various manipulative therapy professions, the unique manner in which osteopathic manipulative techniques are integrated into patient management, as well as the duration, frequency and choice of technique, are distinctive aspects of osteopathy."
Osteopathy in its definition is not about the collection of techniques, as various other manipulative therapy professions employ similar manual techniques, but rather it is unique in its application of technique through its integration of patient management. Therefore, learning "osteopathic techniques" does not mean that the practitioner is actually practicing osteopathy. Osteopathy is about the practical application of an approach that is based on a structure-function relationship model.
" Osteopathic practitioners use these to gather and structure diagnostic information and to interpret the significance of neuromusculoskeletal findings for the overall health of the patient. Osteopathy is thus not limited to the diagnosis and treatment of the musculoskeletal problems, nor does it emphasize joint alignment and radiographic evidence of structural relationships. Osteopathy is more concerned with the manner in which the biomechanics of the musculoskeletal system are integrated with and support the entire body physiology."
Benchmarks for training in traditional /complementary and alternative medicine: benchmarks for training in osteopathy. World Health Organization.