The Australian Osteopathic Association describes Osteopathy as an established recognised system of diagnosis and treatment, which lays its main emphasis on the structural and functional integrity of the body. It is distinctive by the fact that it recognises that much of the pain and disability we suffer stems from abnormalities in the function of the body structure as well as damage caused to it by disease.(Osteopathy in Australia: An economic profile of the profession and patients, December 2008).
Information from the Australian Osteopathic Association indicates that the number of Osteopaths in Australia doubled between 2001 and 2006. The Association also projects significant increased growth of the profession.
Some interesting points to note about Osteopathy in Australia are as follows:
1. Osteopaths are Government registered primary health care practitioners. Osteopathy has been practiced for 100 years and a registered profession in Australia for about 30 years.
2. There are some 1,410 registered osteopaths in Australia (as at December 2008) with Osteopath Sydney, Osteopath Melbourne and Osteopath Brisbane practitioners dominating the numbers of Osteopaths.
3. Osteopathy has a university degree requirement for registration. Australian osteopaths currently undergo five years of full-time university level training. University training is offered throughout Australia including Osteopath Melbourne training (RMIT and Victoria University) and training in NSW (Southern Cross University).
4. Industry research indicates that:
1. most patients to Osteopaths in Australia are self referred — they have not sought a GP referral before attending for osteopathy
2. most patients to Osteopaths were returning patients, female, mostly in their 30s and generally private paying.
5. The most common conditions treated by Australian Osteopaths (as at December 2008) are
A. Lumbar spine pain 27%
1. Neck pain 25%
2. Headaches and migraines 10%
3. Pain and immobility thorax/spine 13%
4. Shoulder joint 5%
5. Pelvis 5%
6. The Australian Osteopathic Association is an industry body representing Osteopaths in Australia. It is headquartered in Sydney but has branches throughout Australia, including Osteopath Melbourne representation (Bourke Street Melbourne).