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What should we think of osteopaths?

By No author

What should we think of osteopaths, often condemned as charlatans in the past?  Even though conventional medicine still reigns supreme, perhaps we should consider the possibility that there may be room for both, and that a visit to your local osteopath could do you as much good as ye another prescription from your GP?  

Andrew Taylor Still
Andrew Taylor Still

Emerging towards the end of the 19th century in the United States, osteopathy sought to fill in some perceived gaps in the approach and philosophy of conventional medicine. Dr Andrew Taylor Still, an early pioneer, was convinced that the human body had a far greater capacity for self-healing than was taught in the medical textbooks of the day. Osteopathy aimed to treat certain conditions by focussing on and developing this self-healing.  

Since these early days, the basis of osteopathic remedies has remained the same: to treat a functional problem of the body through the manipulation of muscles, bones and joints.  Osteopathy therefore tries to treat and cure in a “different way” to conventional medicine, whilst also recognising its limitations in certain areas .  Boniface Verney-Carron, a London-based osteopath, explains :”If a patient comes with a fracture of the humerus, I could not do much as an osteopath”.  Perhaps conventional medicine should recognise its limitations in the same way? 

Boniface Verney-Carron
Boniface Verney-Carron

In France, the home of Cartesianism, osteopathy was consistently ridiculed by the medical establishment.  A law allowing the practice of osteopathy was actually only passed in 2002.  French law defines the profession as follows : “The professional use of the title of osteopath is reserved exclusively  for those people who have a diploma proving their specific abilities in osteopathy delivered by a higher education institution recognised by the Department of Health.”  Despite the presence of this very official-sounding  law,  osteopaths in France still have a mountain to climb before being welcomed into the medical world.

In England, the situation is very different. Some osteopath consultations are even reimbursed by healthcare insurers, which is extremely rare in France. Only 4000 osteopaths registered at the General Osteopathic Council can practise in England. A law of July 1993 restricts and controls this practise.

As for training, it also differs between the two countries. In England an osteopath’s training takes 4 years (4000 hours),  whilst the French qualification requires a six-year commitment (5 000 hours).  English practitioners, however, must do annual ‘refresher’ courses.  As is the case on other disciplines, France tends to give priority to the theoretical teaching, whereas the English course focuses more on practical and training.

femme enceinte - osteopathyAn osteopath can treat very different type of patients and dysfunctions. He helps pregnant women,  he soothes pains due to backaches, stiff neck or sprains and can also assist with digestive problems and respiratory issues.  To treat a patient successfully, the osteopath takes into account as much the environment and lifestyle of the patient as the body.  As Boniface Verney-Carron observes: “In general in France, doctors are overwhelmed and so they don’t take time to talk with the patient.”  Londoners used to a maximum 5-minute slot with their GP will also recognise the issue!

Even though some osteopathic methods remain subject to great debate, the actual number of visits to practitioners is increasing.  This growth must be driven by something.  Perhaps the medical establishment should consider the unthinkable – osteopathy works and responds to real patient needs.


Osteopaths in London...

Black Swan Osteopathy

Black Swan Osteopathy Clinics in Kensington Olympia and London Bridge.  Black Swan Osteopathy offers the best treatment for simple joint and ligament injury to more complex biomechanical problems that may lead to symptoms of IBS, asthma, headaches and whiplash injury.  Treatments using cranial techniques, manual therapy and spinal manipulations are available.

Nutrition therapy also on site to complete the treatment package to get you back on your feet in no time.

Olympia: 020 7610 4090
LondonBridge: 020 7940 4937


Boniface Ostheopath

Boniface graduated from the European School of Osteopathy after 2 years at a medical university in France and 4 years osteopathic training in the UK. He has been practising in England for 8 years and is registered with the General Osteopathic Council.

He started his career at the IMC, the first Integrated Medical Centre in Europe, where he was exposed to numerous interesting and unusual cases. His experience there convinced him that the key to providing the best care for his patients is to work collaboratively with doctors and other complementary therapists.

Boniface also worked for 5 years at Destination Health and Fitness, where he worked closely with martial art fighters to improve their physical performance and to help them recover from their frequent injuries.


Today Boniface works in three practices to continue developing his different fields of expertise:

  • Integrated Osteopathy
  • Sports Injuries
  • Pregnancy Care
  • Newborn Care (Cranio-Sacral Osteopathy)

Boniface uses the full range of techniques offered by an Integrated Osteopath:

  • Adjustments, mobilisation and soft tissue work
  • Visceral osteopathy: gentle manipulation of abdominal organs to release referred pains
  • Cranio-sacral osteopathy
  • Acupuncture and cupping

His mixed conventional and osteopathic training gives him an unusual approach to treating his patients, and allows him to concentrate on the origin of his patient's symptoms, rather than focusing on the symptoms themselves. By treating patients in this way, he can help them achieve more lasting relief from discomfort.

Phone: 0044 7876 753 841


Brent Osborn-Smith

Brent Osborn-Smith is a leading osteopath and acupuncturist in London, based at the Wellness Medical Centre which is situated just beside Sloane Square.  The clinic aims to combine orthodox medicine and other diagnostic methods with scientifically validated complementary medicine.  After having made a diagnosis, patients can expect to receive the most effective and suitable treatment to help them improve their condition and avoid relapse.

Osteopathic medicine is a system which treats the whole person, by working on the bony, muscular, nervous, emotional, immune and circulatory systems.  Acupuncture improves any “trigger points” and blood or energy circulation, in order to strengthen weakened muscles or organs as well as the general constitution.  Brent finds that the combination of osteopathy and acupuncture complements each other particularly well.  It also makes for a quick and easy recovery and relief of pain. The fact that Brent has studied in England, Germany and the USA has given him a broad medical knowledge and expertise.

Over 70% of patients at the Wellness Medical Centre have found that they are able to enjoy a much better level of health by returning for regular maintenance once an acute crisis has been resolved. The Clinic is a comfortable, modern and fully equipped multi-disciplinary medical practice which is easy to find.

Wellness Medical Centre, 19 Cliveden Place, SW1W 8HD, London
Phone: 020 7730 8899


Greg Guillon (Chiswick Park Osteopaths)

As a French graduate of the British School Osteopathy, Greg uses a holistic approach to treat patients presenting with a wide range of musculo-skeletal disorders such as low-back pain, neck pain and shoulder tension, RSI and joint pain.

Greg has developed a special interest in treating pregnant women and patients suffering from visceral problems. He uses a wide range of structural, functional, cranio-sacral and visceral techniques, depending on the needs of his patients, to help them feel better.

Based on his professional tennis background, Greg has shaped a specific expertise in treating high level athletes, as well as amateur sportsmen and women to help them reach their optimum performance.

Greg now works in partnership with fellow French osteopath Pierre Etcheverry and is currently creating a paediatric osteopathic clinic at Chiswick Park Osteopaths.


Building 3, 566 Chiswick High Road,
W4 5YA, London             
Phone: 0208 849 5557


The Charlotte Street Osteopathic Practice

Corinne Fedevielle
Corinne Fédevieille

Corinne Fédevieille graduated from The College of Osteopaths, Middlesex University, and is registered with the General Osteopathic Council. She is a member of the British Osteopathic Association as well as of the UFOF (Federation of French Osteopaths). She also holds a Diploma in Therapeutic massage from the London College of Massage and a Diploma in Canine Osteopathy from IFOREC (Institute of Canine and Equine Osteopathy and Rehabilitation).

Coming from an integrated perspective, Corinne has developed her own individual professional style over the years and uses structural, cranial and visceral techniques as well as experience and intuition to offer a treatment adapted to each patient’s individual needs. She is a great believer in the impact of the psyche on physical health and in the effects grief, depression or stress can have on a patient and his rate of recovery.

As part of her holistic approach, Corinne encourages patients to take an objective view of their lifestyle in order to achieve longer lasting results and has a particular interest in work-related and stress-related chronic conditions.

63, Charlotte Street, W1T 4PG, London
Phone: 07904 625 071


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