What is an osteopath?

Osteoapth stands for Osteopathic Manual Practitioner, a health care profession that has a history of hundreds of years in Canada and many other countries, much like massage therapists but with its own osteoapthic treatment techniques.

Actually, the osteopath’s manipulation therapy adopts all the massage therapy’s techniques, plus its own unique techniques, such as Articulatory treatment, Cranial treatment, Direct treatment, Counterstrain treatment, Facilated position release, Indirect treatment, Muscle energy treatment, Integrated Neuromuscular release, and so on. Osteopath manual therapy can be understood as the enhanced version or advanced version of massage therapy.

Osteopathic manipulation can be used for pain management and lots of physical disorders, not only for adults, but also for children.

Osteopath is different from the Chinese medicine’s  “bone setting treatment”, which is a category of orthopedics and traumatology department, aiming at fractures and joint dislocation, etc. The two concepts should not be confused.

Categories and Professional Status of Osteopaths

Osteopathic Practitioners are divided into two major factions in Canada/Europe and America. In United States, osteopathic doctors is a physicine, need to receive a 5-year university education in liberal arts and sciences and a 7-year medical school training that is equivalent to Western medicine’s education, and pass the similar national license examination as medical doctors. The osteopathic physicine can perform osteopathic treatments, also orthopedic surgery.

While osteopath in Canada inherits the British tradition, is the osteopathic manual therapist, ranking with Physical Therapists, Chiropractors, and Registered Massage Therapists (RMT) at the therapist level, it cannot be identified as a doctor or physician.

Osteopaths in each province of Canada have no formal regulation and are still managed by various professional associations.

Difference Between Massage Therapy and Osteosynth

Osteopathic Practice and Massage Therapy are two type of manual therapies even they looks very similar and have lots of overlap in mnipulative techniques.

The therapeutic techniques of the masseuse are also the basic techniques of osteopathic therapists. People may think osteopath is essentially an advanced version of the massage therapy.  However, osteopathic therapists also have their own unique techniques, such as Articulatory treatment, Cranial treatment, Direct treatment, Counterstrain treatment, Facilated position release, Indirect treatment, Muscle energy treatment, Integrated Neuromuscular release, and so on. 

In some cities of Ontario, such as Toronto, Oakville, Guelph, Cambridge, there are bylaws regulating the industries of holistic massage and SPA. Business owners and practitoners need to apply for a holistic practitioner license in the City in order to open business. Almost all other municipalities, such as Richmond Hill, Vaugham, Mississauga, New Market, Hamilton, Pickering, Oshawa, Whitby, Ottawa, etc., do not have the bylaws for the profession. To engage in the massage profession, you need to be a Registered Mmassage Therapist (RMT) or Osteopathic Manual Practitioner (OMP).

In addition, osteothic manual practitioners can also reimburse the treatment insurance expenses for their clients. Most insurance companies reimburse for osteoapthic treatment, health-care devices such as back support, braces for shoulder, knees, ankle, wrists, custom-made orthoticsad, medical compression stockings, TENS machine, ordered by osteopathic practitioners, of course all of those orthopedic devices need family doctor prescription.

Status of Insurance Benefits for Osteopathy

Currently, 16 of the 27 insurance companies in Canada recognize the qualification of association osteopathic membership and reimburse the cost of osteopath treatment, which is typically $350-$500 per person per year, same amount as RMT, acupuncture, physical therapy or chiropractic treatment, and in many cases those benefits are combined together at $500-$1000 per person per year.

Some insurance companies such as Sun Life, Manulife and Great-West Life discontinued osteoapths’s reimbursement for osteoapthic treatment, even requiring osteopaths to have another license as medical doctor.

But on the other hand, all insurance companies still reburse the cost if health-care devices such as Custom-made orthotics, Compression stockings, Orthopedic braces for shoulder, back, elbows, wrists, knees and ankles, as well as TENS machines, ordered by osteopathic practitioners.  Almost everyone who has RMT or acupuncture insurance will has the benefits for orthopedic devices. This type of insurance benefit is much more generous than osteopathic treatment itself.

Osteopaths can quickly acquire the skills to evaluate and sell such health-care devices through our training.

List of Approved Insurance Companies

Insurace CompaniesOsteoapthic TreatmentMedical Devices: Compression Stockings, Custom Made Orthotics, Back Support, Shoulder Brace, Knee Brace, TENS Machine, etc.
Blue Cross InsuranceOK
Benecaid InsuranceOK
Benefit Trust InsuranceOKOK
ClaimSecure InsuranceOK
Chamber of CommerceOKOK
Desjardins InsuranceOK
Green Shield InsuranceOK
Great West Life InsuranceOK
Empire Life InsuranceOK
Equitable Life InsuranceOK
Health Source PlusOKOK
Industrial Alliance InsuranceOK
Imperial Life AssuranceOKOK
Johnston Group InsuranceOKOK
Manion Wilkins & AssociatesOKOK
Manulife InsuranceOK
Maximum Life InsuranceOK
MDM InsuranceOKOK
NexgenR InsuranceOKOK
RBC (GreenShield) InsuranceOK
Sobien Union InsuranceOKOK
Standard Life InsuranceOKOK
Sun Life AssuranceOK
The Co-operators InsuranceOK
Wawanesa Life InsuranceOKOK
Union Benefits InsuranceOKOK
UFCW InsuranceOKOK

No Holistic License Required for Osteopath

The profession of osteopaths is not governed by a Holistic license Act in all municipals in Ontario, includes Toronto and all GTA cities and towns, members can set up their osteoapthic clinics and practice osteopaths with a qualified membership certificate without applying for a city’s holistic license, just similar as a RMT or chiropractor does.

But if an osteopathic manual practitioner find a job in a holistic centre you may need a holistic practitioner license. Of course, osteopathic practtitioner membership can’t be misused for massage parlor business, wich belong to the scope of local city’s bylws administration.

Membership Application and Fee Schedule

Existing health care practitioners, such as holistic practitioners, registered massage therapists, physical therapists, chiropractors, who meet our requirments for osteopathic manual therapy training or/and osteoapthic practice work experience, can obtain their osteoapthic manual practitioner membership. For those who do not have such osteoapthic education background may apply for the membership by completing an appropriate osteopath bridge training courses.

People without a medical professional background can also obtain membership through the apprenticeship path through the evaluation of work experience and appropriate bridge courses make up.

Fee Schedule:

  • Single Person:$1500.
  • Two People Together:$1300.
  • Three People Together:$1200.
  • For and more People Together: $1000.

The above fees include the membership fee for the first year.

Annual Renewal Fee

  • $250/year。
Osteoapth Treatment Records Training Course
  • Osteopathic Treatment: Record format, invoice and receipt writing and keeping;
  • Custom-made Orthotics: Patient assessment, customization, insurance company reimbursement process;
  • Compression Stockings: Patient assessment, customization, insurance company reimbursement process;
  • Medical (Heath-care) Devices or Equipment:  such as back support, shoulder/elbow/wrist/knee/ankle braces, Patient assessment, customization, insurance company reimbursement process;
  • TENS Machine: Patient assessment, customization, insurance company reimbursement process;


  • Free for members
  • $350 for non-members
How to Contact Us

668 Silver Star Blvd. Unit 212
Toronto, ON M1V 5N1

Phone:   (416) 273-4551,  (416) 551-5426
Email:   office@osteopathicboard.org

Office Hours: Monday to Friday, 10am to 5pm.