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Osteopathy vs. Physiotherapy: Understanding the Difference

Updated: Aug 23, 2023

Navigating Injury Care: Whom Should You Consult?

When facing an injury or persistent health concern, the path to choosing the right health professional often seems muddled. Most rely on word of mouth from loved ones to make their decisions.

Here at Movement Mechanics Osteopathy, we believe that the primary distinction between a typical physiotherapist and an osteopath lies in the tools at their disposal, length of study and level of expertise. While both osteopathy and physiotherapy aim at promoting wellness and alleviating pain, their approaches and foundational beliefs can differ significantly.

Osteopathy vs physiotherapy auckland

Osteopathy a holistic and patient-centric approach to healthcare

This is rooted in a holistic philosophy. Osteopaths view the body as an integrated whole and believe that one part of the body can influence another. By considering the body's systems collectively, they seek to address the root cause of an issue, not just its symptoms. Osteopaths also have a vast repertoire of manual techniques, which they employ to enhance structural balance and improve function. Osteopaths also prescribe exercises as part of a rehabilitation strategy in addition to their hands-on skills. Other areas of the body that osteopaths look at include your nervous system and how your body processes pain, your abdominal organs known as visceral osteopathy, the interrelationship between different tissues such as tendons, ligaments, fascia and muscles as well as different regions of the body. In osteopathy it is not as simple as a patient being a condition such as an ACL patient, Osteopaths look at the entire patient and tailor a treatment specific to them taking into account all contributing and maintaining factors that may need to be addressed.

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Physiotherapy an exercise based approach to healthcare

Often, physiotherapists lean heavily on exercise prescription as their primary tool. Their focus is typically on rehabilitating injury and improving movement and function. They employ evidence-based exercises and may also use some manual techniques, but the depth and range of the manual techniques your physio is trained in is usually not as expansive as an osteopath. We have a huge respect for physiotherapists and work closely alongside them with many of our patients in a multimodal approach as we find this produces great outcomes for our patients.

Exercise prescription osteopathy physio

Innovations at Movement Mechanics Osteopathy

At Movement Mechanics Osteopathy, we continuously strive to stay at the forefront of cutting-edge treatments. With our belief in holistic care, we've enriched our therapy options with the introduction of industry-leading radial shockwave therapy machinery. This non-invasive treatment accelerates the healing process by stimulating the metabolism and enhancing blood circulation.

Further solidifying our commitment to versatile treatments, we've also integrated western medical acupuncture into our offerings. By stimulating specific points on the body, acupuncture can help in pain reduction, muscle relaxation, and boosting the body's natural healing abilities.

Your First Visit to Movement Mechanics Osteopathy

Our approach is holistic and patient-centric:

  1. Understanding Your Concern: We delve deep into the nature of your concern. We'll discuss its onset, duration, and its implications on your daily activities.

  2. Background Check: We'll make inquiries about your past health to ensure no underlying factors might be influencing your current condition.

  3. Assessment: Our osteopaths and neuromuscular therapists will perform diagnostic tests to comprehend the issue better. In some instances, you may be asked to remove some clothing (like for back or shoulder examinations), but only if you're comfortable doing so.

  4. Diagnosis: Observing how the concerning area behaves during various movements helps us determine if the issue is muscle or joint-related.

  5. Treatment: With our well-trained osteopaths, you can be certain that the diagnosis is accurate and the treatment tailored to your specific needs. Our hands-on techniques focus on alleviating pain, discomfort, and enhancing mobility. Manual techniques, exercise prescription, visceral techniques, radial shockwave therapy, Western acupuncture and soft tissue mobilisation are just some of the treatment options available.

  6. Professional Advice: Post-treatment, we equip you with insights about your condition, projected recovery time, recommended follow-ups, and beneficial movements tailored to your issue. Our primary aim is your continuous progress.

Osteopathic treatment vs physio

Why Movement Mechanics Osteopathy

When you choose Movement Mechanics Osteopathy, you're not just opting for osteopathic care; you're embracing a wide spectrum of advanced, holistic, and effective treatment modalities curated for your well-being. Your health is our priority, and with our skilled professionals, you're always in safe hands. If there's no evident improvement, we won't stick to ineffective treatments. We'll guide you through further tests and tap into our vast network of healthcare professionals for additional examination.


Jonathan Hall M.Ost, GradDipHeal, BAppSci (HB)

Jonathan Hall is the founder and principle Osteopath at Movement Mechanics Osteopathy, and specialises in Shockwave Therapy. A fully qualified Osteopath and currently studying Western Medical Acupuncture out of AUT New Zealand, Jonathan founded Auckland Shockwave Therapy to help bring evidence-based Shockwave treatment to New Zealand using the industry leading EMS Radial Shock Wave device.

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