Scope of Practice

Scope of practice defines the procedures and treatments that an osteopathic practitioner is permitted to carry out under a country’s relevant laws and regulations.

Ontario Federation of Osteopathic Professionals follows WHO recommendations of Standard of Osteopathic Practice

Osteopathic practitioners share a set of core competencies that guide them in the diagnosis, management and treatment of their patients and form the foundation for the osteopathic approach to healthcare. The following are essential competencies for osteopathic practice in all training programmes:

  • A strong foundation in osteopathic history, philosophy, and approach to healthcare.
  • An understanding of the basic sciences within the context of the philosophy of osteopathy and the five models of structure-function. Specifically, this should include the role of vascular, neurological, lymphatic and biomechanical factors in the maintenance of normal and adaptive biochemical, cellular and gross anatomical functions in states of health and disease.
  • An ability to form an appropriate differential diagnosis and treatment plan.
  • An understanding of the mechanisms of action of manual therapeutic interventions and the biochemical, cellular and gross anatomical response to therapy.
  • An ability to appraise medical and scientific literature critically and incorporate relevant information into clinical practice.
  • Competency in the palpatory and clinical skills necessary to diagnose dysfunction in the aforementioned systems and tissues of the body, with an emphasis on osteopathic diagnosis.
  • Competency in a broad range of skills of osteopathic manipulative treatment.
  • Proficiency in physical examination and the interpretation of relevant tests and data, including diagnostic imaging and laboratory results.
  • An understanding of the biomechanics of the human body including, but not limited to, the articular, fascial, muscular and fluid systems of the extremities, spine, head, pelvis, abdomen and torso.
  • Expertise in the diagnosis and osteopathic manipulative treatment of neuromusculoskeletal disorders.
  • Thorough knowledge of the indications for, and contraindications to, osteopathic treatment.
  • A basic knowledge of commonly used traditional medicine and complementary/alternative medicine techniques.

OFOP emphasize particular importance of hands-on training in palpation. Advanced palpatory skills require practice and experience. Palpation is a lifelong self-development road and every Osteopath is responsible for improving the skill throughout clinical experience. It is timeless.