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What's the difference between osteopathy and ...?

We are often asked, “What is the difference between osteopathy and …?”

Here is a summary of some manual therapy professions: osteopathy, chiropractic, physiotherapy, massage therapy, and sports therapy.

All five healthcare professions focus on addressing pain/discomfort and/or limitation of mobility in the musculoskeletal system. The components of this system are muscles, ligaments, tendons, bones, and joints. They also strive to provide individualised patient-centred care.

In addition, they are all required to complete continuing professional development annually.

A definition of Osteopathy

Where these professions differ is in their philosophy or approach to the human body and treatment technique selection.

  • Osteopathy uses a holistic approach considering the whole body’s impact on health. Selecting from a variety of manual techniques, including soft tissue manipulation, joint mobilisation and manipulation, visceral manipulation, and cranial techniques. They bear in mind all the systems of the body and how they interrelate. In the United States of America, osteopaths are medical doctors.
  • Chiropractic emphasises the spine and nervous system, primarily employing spinal adjustments/manipulations but may include additional therapies like massage, exercise and lifestyle advice.
  • Physiotherapy involves a diverse range of interventions, including exercises, lifestyle advice, stretches, manual therapy, and modalities such as ultrasound or electrical stimulation, to enhance strength, flexibility, and overall function. It also includes dysfunction or disorders of the neurological and cardiorespiratory systems.
  • Massage therapy focuses on massage techniques, including Swedish, deep tissue, and other specialised forms of massage for relaxation or therapeutic purposes.
  • Sports therapy is tailored to sports-related injuries and conditions, often including sports massage, exercise prescription, and injury prevention strategies for performance optimisation.


It is essential to note that individual practitioners within each profession may have unique styles and approaches.

At Aberdeen Osteopathy Clinic we offer different styles of osteopathy and massage therapy to suit your needs. Call us to find out which practitioner is best suited for you.

Get in touch today and let's get you pain free in 2024!


24 Ellon Road

Bridge of Don


AB23 8BX

The clinic is on the ground floor and free parking is right next to it.

Phone & Email

01224 707877

Opening Times

Monday to Friday 09:00 – 19:00

Saturday 09:00 – 15:00

Sunday Closed

To book an appointment please call reception on 01224 707877 during office hours (9am – 7pm) or complete the form above.

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