A systematic review by Ellwood et Carnes currently in press at the International Journal of Osteopathic Medicine describes the characteristics of international osteopathic practice delivered by osteopaths (not osteopathic physicians). Osteopathy is practiced widely around the world (currently in 35 countries with 79,000 practitioners), however, recognition and regulation vary between countries. This systematic review searched PubMed and EMBACE for retro- and prospective surveys, audits, and reports at regional, national, and international levels since 2012. No quality assessment was carried out and data was organized into four categories: (1) practitioner characteristics (gender, age, qualification, years in practice), (2) practice characteristics (setting, hours, consultation), (3) patient profiles (gender, age, presenting complaints) and (4) clinical management (type of treatment, number of consultations). 14 surveys, all cross-sectional questionnaires, were included that comprised information from 10,451 osteopaths and 15,800 patients from 10 countries (Australia, Belgium, Luxembourg, Canada, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Spain, Switzerland, United Kingdom). The data shows that osteopaths are educated and independent healthcare practitioners delivering manual treatment together with exercise and lifestyle advice (being a complex and multi-component therapy) primarily for patients with, often persistent and spinal, musculoskeletal complaints. Osteopathic practice varied little between countries; merely regarding qualification, regulation, use of visceral techniques, and working alone or in collaborations. More research is needed on the treatment responses of patients and practice characteristics globally.
Ellwood, J. et Carnes, D., in Press. An international profile of the practice of osteopaths: a systematic review of surveys. International Journal of Osteopathic Medicine.