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How to Pick the Best Osteopath for You

By Osteopath, Heather Stone, Halifax, Nova Scotia

Osteopathy is a drug-free, non-invasive manual therapy that aims to improve health across all body systems by mobilizing and improving the fascial and musculoskeletal framework. Osteopathic treatment can help treat arthritis, back pain, headaches, tennis elbow, digestive issues, and postural problems to name a few. Treatment can also assist with nervous, circulatory, and lymphatic symptoms.

In 2010, the World Health Organization (W.H.O) set benchmarks for osteopathic training to establish international education standards. These benchmarks specify that all osteopathic skills and clinical training must be hands on and supervised, rather than online. A great way to ensure the practitioner is well-trained, safe, and effective is to choose directly from the provincial osteopathic associations’ list of clinics and osteopaths. The following associations are part of the Canadian Federation of Osteopaths, which regulate the W.H.O. benchmarks for osteopathic training. These practitioners are certified, well-trained and reputable osteopaths. Below is a list of all Provincial Osteopathic Associations.

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Now that you can be confident that your potential practitioner is qualified, there are still more decisions to be made. Since there are different techniques osteopaths can use to achieve the desired result, finding the practitioner with the right treatment approach for you is an important next step. It’s much like choosing a dentist or physiotherapist. When you find the right one - you’ll know!

  • Ask around! The easiest thing to do when looking for an osteopath is to ask your friends, family, or your doctor. If you know someone who has gone to an osteopath, ask them if they like the approach and if they feel like they have helped them.

  • If possible, choose your osteopath based on the recommendation of someone who was having similar issues. Some osteopaths will treat all conditions, but others do not.

  • If you don’t know anyone who goes to an osteopath and you have medical insurance, your insurance company might be a resource to check. For example, if you have health insurance with Sun Life Financial, they have a mobile app where you can get recommendations for different practitioners in your area. Otherwise, use Google to see who is available near you.

When you do decide on an osteopath, instead of making just one appointment, make 2 or 3 appointments a few weeks apart. Many osteopaths get booked up in advance and you’ll want to be sure you have a couple of appointments booked in case you need them and then adjust accordingly after the initial appointment.

Tyler Graves