- Are you looking for a natural approach to healthcare, which allows you to specialise in maternity and paediatric care?
- Do you want to gain the knowledge and gentle, hands-on techniques needed to help pregnant/new mothers and their babies?
- Would you like to help every member of the family back to health, from newborns and children to parents and grandparents?
Study to become an osteopath
Osteopaths specialise in the musculoskeletal system. They apply their in-depth knowledge of the human body, highly developed sense of touch and hands-on techniques to increase joint mobility, relieve tension and ease pain. Where appropriate, osteopaths recommend exercise and lifestyle changes. They may also refer to, or work alongside, other healthcare professionals to ensure the best outcome for their patient. Osteopathy itself is a distinct healthcare approach; the aim is to restore balance and support the body’s own healing mechanisms, where possible delaying or negating the need for drugs or surgery.
Osteopaths can be found working in a range of settings, from individual/private practice to larger, multi-disciplinary health clinics and increasingly within the NHS. They may choose to specialise, enter teaching or research, or undertake further training in a related health field, such as Medicine. When forming a diagnosis, an osteopath considers each patient as a unique individual; they take into account factors such as gait and mobility, but also want to know about the patient’s health history, medication, food preferences, lifestyle and level of stress. When assessing a baby or young child, they may ask the caregiver about the child’s birth and early development.
BCOM and the ESO are known internationally for teaching a broad osteopathic programme, which allows graduates to treat a wider range of patients and conditions; gentle techniques such as cranial osteopathy, are particularly suited to the treatment of babies, young children and older/frail patients.
Specialist Maternity and Children's clinics
Students enter our specialist Maternity & Children’s clinics in their final year. These clinics are led by specialist tutors, who are also experienced, practising osteopaths. Under their supervision, students assess, diagnose and devise management and treatment plans for their patients; in most cases, this involves supervised hands-on treatment for pregnant patients, babies and children.
Osteopathic support in pregnancy
During pregnancy, the body changes rapidly and must adapt to hormonal, postural and circulatory changes. Softening of ligaments and increased weight can add pressure to joints, the spine or pelvis and some patients may also experience problems with digestion. Osteopathic treatment can help the body adapt by ensuring the spine and pelvis are mobile and relevant muscles relaxed. Advice on exercise and stretching techniques may also be provided, along with strategies and postural advice for labour itself. After the birth, osteopathy may help relieve remaining tensions in the body.
Osteopathy for children
All treatments within Children’s Clinic are provided by final year student practitioners, supervised by one of our experienced tutors. Patients seen in Children’s Clinic range from infants just a few weeks old through to 16-18 year olds at school or college; like adults, children can be affected by general joint and muscle issues and some can experience minor sports injuries. Each treatment and management plan is tailored to the child’s needs and stage of development, with plans clearly communicated to their caregiver (where appropriate). A range of specialist approaches and techniques is utilised within Children’s Clinic. For babies, whose skeletons are softer, very gentle techniques such as cranial osteopathy are used; gentle manipulation can also help soothe and relax babies. Older children can benefit from treatment but also a growing awareness of their health and how to look after themselves.
We work with local healthcare providers who may refer patients; in some cases, patients will be referred for further tests or to other health professionals or the GP, to ensure they receive the best possible care.
Paediatric osteopathy in practice
Osteopaths treat a wide range of patients as part of their undergraduate training and most newly qualified osteopaths enjoy the variety a mixed patient list brings. Some, but not all, treat children as part of general practice. With clinical experience and referral, it is possible for an osteopath to build their practice around paediatric care without formal postgraduate training; osteopaths treating peri and post-natal patients and/or children will usually be experienced and confident in using the more gentle osteopathic approaches and techniques needed for these patient groups.
Osteopaths who wish to specialise in paediatrics may decide to undertake further postgraduate training, to deepen their knowledge and to gain formal recognition of their expertise. A postgraduate qualification, such as a PG Cert or Diploma in Paediatric Osteopathy, is usually required to practise in a larger, specialist osteopathic children’s centre.
A varied and flexible career
Working independently can lead to a better work-life balance; for example, it’s often possible to arrange practice hours around personal or family commitments or to allow for postgraduate study. Transferrable skills can also make Osteopathy a good choice for those looking to build a portfolio career; part-time practice could enable you to lecture or take up a research or consultancy role.
What you'll study
Our osteopathy degree provides all the knowledge and specialist skills you need to treat people of all ages and backgrounds, and introduces you to a range of specialisms. You’ll gain:
- extensive knowledge of anatomy
- access to a team of specialist lecturers and osteopathic tutors
- a broad curriculum, including nutrition and psychology
- a wide range of osteopathic approaches and hands-on techniques
- 1,000 hours of clinical experience, gained within dedicated teaching clinics
- specialist clinics and electives, including paediatric osteopathy
- modules in leadership, research and business development
- a community of like-minded people and life-long connections with friends and colleagues around the world
Find out more
You can find more information about our four-year Osteopathy degrees programmes on our Undergraduate Courses page. Our friendly Admissions team is also happy to arrange a personal tour of our London and Kent campuses and can offer individual advice on entry requirements and the admissions process.
Case study: Poonam Shah, Paediatrics
"I graduated in 2010 and always had an interest to work with mums, pre-natal and post-natal. Working with various clinics and building my clinical skills, I developed a large library of skills, tools and knowledge to enhance this skillset further and that’s where my love for babies and paediatric patients really grew. I loved seeing how tactile and responsive infants were to treatment and how well they responded. It’s fantastic that parents now have the knowledge to seek an osteopath’s help to help with a huge array of symptoms.
Having now opened my own practice where I work and operate with my husband, pre and post-natal care as well as paediatric treatment is now a huge part of my clientele and I love the results I achieve. I love how healthy and supple babies tissues are and being so receptive, you see tissue changes almost immediately and they don’t often need as many treatments either."
Case study: Jodi Bishop, Maternity & Women's Health
"I studied as a mature student at the ESO, choosing the profession after my own experience with Osteopathy during my first pregnancy. I wanted a career that I could fit around my children, where I had autonomy and the ability to help others who had suffered like I had with women's health issues.
When I started the course I had a mindset that pregnant and postpartum patients would be my main interest, however I found there was so much more to the course than I had anticipated. The course opened my eyes to modalities within Osteopathy that I hadn't even considered and was so broad that I felt confident after graduation that I could treat a wide variety of patients. Whilst I have pursued women's health post-graduation, and started a business with a colleague I graduated with, I have also pursued other interests that were introduced to me during my time at uni, including western medical acupuncture and management of complex chronic pain presentations.
This career change for me has given me a freedom to choose when and how I work that I have never had before, and the breadth of the degree at the ESO has given me a footing to follow my interests through CPD later on. For me the lifelong learning opportunity taking this degree has given me is a huge source of career satisfaction."
Case study: Claire Piper, Osteopath & Clinic Tutor
"Shortly after qualifying, I undertook further training to gain a Diploma in Paediatric Osteopathy. I’ve been treating adults, babies and children ever since. Working with children really is amazingly rewarding as they change so quickly and you can make such a difference to their and their parents lives. I am also a Clinic Tutor within the ESO and BCOM Children’s Clinics. We work with year 4 students, taking them from being terrified to touch a baby, to being competent to treat children and ready to follow further postgraduate training in this field if they so wish.
What I enjoy most about being an osteopath is meeting people and having the privilege of sharing their health stories, helping them along the way to become healthier and fitter people; I enjoy being a detective of the human body, working out what is going on and listening to what the body has to tell me. I’ve been an osteopath for over 30 years now and, still, I find real joy in working with such a complex and self-regulating system as the human body and being involved in aiding it to restore the balance and harmony it needs to function more efficiently."
What our students say
“Being a member of a small university ensures I am not just a number. I can approach any member of staff and they know exactly who I am; making the whole university experience tailored and personal to me.” Hannah Scammell, BCOM Student
The quality of teaching and support at BCOM is first class and provides a solid foundation to becoming a well-rounded osteopath. Overall, the course has exceeded my expectations and I would highly recommend it to anyone considering osteopathy.” Sabrina Chow, BCOM Graduate