Our Role

The Osteopathic Council will ensure public safety through effective regulation and monitoring of the ongoing competency of the Osteopathic profession.

We do this by establishing a regulatory framework for registration that includes:

  • determining scopes of practice
  • prescribing recognised qualifications
  • developing competencies for the practice of osteopathy
  • assessing the competence of overseas practitioners
  • a system for complaints and discipline designed to protect members of the public.

We also maintain a public register of osteopaths, where members of the public are able to check whether individual osteopaths are registered and hold a practising certificate.

The Council and Osteopathic Professional Organisations

The Council is a separate organisation from professional associations for osteopaths, which exist to promote the practice of osteopathy. Although Council members may also be members of a professional association, our duty as Council members is to act in accordance with the aims, objectives and requirements of the Health Practitioners Competence Assurance Act. Council members are appointed by the Minister to oversee the profession, they are not elected by osteopaths to represent their professional interests.

The Council and the Osteopath

The Council can consult with the osteopathic profession, and in some circumstances must do so - for example, when specifying scopes of practice and qualifications for each scope.

Our overriding consideration in making decisions, is to ensure that we comply with the principal purpose of the HPCA Act - that is, the protection of the health and safety of members of the public by providing mechanisms to ensure that health practitioners are competent and fit to practice. We must therefore be satisfied that any requirements and standards we set or recognise will fulfil the Act's principal purpose.

Council has determined two scopes of practice for osteopaths (1) The Scope of Practice: Osteopath and (2) The Scope of Practice - Osteopath Using Western Medical Acupuncture and Related Needling Techniques

The Scope of Practice: Osteopath

Registered osteopaths are primary healthcare practitioners who facilitate healing through osteopathic assessment, clinical differential diagnosis, and treatment of dysfunctions of the whole person.

Osteopaths use various recognised techniques to work with the body's ability to heal itself, thereby promoting health and wellbeing. These osteopathic manipulative techniques are taught in the core curriculum of accredited courses in osteopathy.

The ultimate responsibility for recognition of practice lies with the Osteopathic Council of New Zealand.

The Council endorses the following philosophy and principles of osteopathic treatment:

  • The body is a unit.
  • Structure and function are reciprocally interrelated.
  • The body possesses self-regulatory mechanisms.
  • The body has the inherent capacity to defend itself and repair itself.
  • When normal adaptability is disrupted, or when environmental changes overcome the body's capacity for self-maintenance, disease may ensue.
  • Movement of body fluids is essential to the maintenance of health.
  • The nerves play a crucial part in controlling the fluids of the body.
  • There are somatic components to disease that are not only manifestations of disease but also are factors that contribute to maintenance of the diseased state.
  • Implicit in these philosophies is the belief that osteopathic intervention has a positive influence on the above.

Scope of Practice - Osteopath

Using Western Medical Acupuncture and Related Needling Techniques

Registered osteopaths with the Scope of Practice for Osteopaths using Western Medical Acupuncture and Related Needling Techniques are primary health care practitioners who hold the Scope of practice - Osteopath, and who are qualified to perform Western medical acupuncture and related needling techniques. Western medical acupuncture is a therapeutic modality involving the insertion of fine needles which evolved from Chinese acupuncture.



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P O Box 9644, Wellington 6141, New Zealand
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