Independent Practitioners

The ISOHC’s primary aim is to develop and share information about osteopathic practice.   Its membership is drawn from osteopaths registered with various statutory regulatory bodies, or with voluntary self-regulatory bodies for osteopaths.  It also has some members who are no longer registered as osteopaths but who wish to continue to engage with a community of practitioners focused on sharing and developing information about and knowledge of osteopathic practice.  Its membership is drawn from various countries and as such does not engage in local / national political lobbying for practice rights.  


Members of ISOHC can still retain their registration with national statutory regulatory bodies if this is their wish.  

That said, as some of its members may not be otherwise regulated and wish to find a regulatory ‘home’ then the ISOHC will provide a collegiate framework for practitioners which will support them in terms of codes of conduct and standards for practice. This voluntary college is similar to a voluntary self-regulatory register but will not lobby for individual practice rights in any particular country or regulatory domain. It may aim to liaise with other voluntary or statutory regulatory bodies or professional associations in order to support its own membership.

If members retain their statutory regulation in their location, then it is expected that those members will abide by their statutory obligations. If practitioners are not statutorily registered, then they must ensure that the public is aware of their non statutory status – for example, in the UK this means ensuring they are not portraying themselves as a practitioner who is delivering ‘osteopathy’, or holding themselves out to be an ‘osteopath’.

For people looking for a new professional home totally independent of the osteopathic professions’ structures, the ISOHC supports a fellow organisation: the FUNCTIONAL AND INTEGRATIVE MANUAL MEDICINE SOCIETY (FAIMMS). See

The following info regarding FAIMMS is for UK based practitioners only:
FAIMMS has been established to be a voluntary self-regulatory body in the UK only, for Independent Practitioners of good standing who have primary osteopathic or other similar manual medicine qualifications and who have chosen not to join their ‘traditional’ profession-specific national regulatory body.  For example in the UK practitioners with an osteopathic qualification traditionally join the General Osteopathic Council (GOsC) and as such can call themselves ‘osteopaths’ in the UK and practice according to standards set by the GOsC. 

If practitioners who have primary osteopathic qualifications wish to leave the GOsC or not to join it in the first place, then the FAIMMS is there to provide a voluntary self-regulatory body to support those practitioners as they deliver healthcare services.  In the UK, in accordance with the Osteopaths Act 2003, members registered with FAIMMS will not practice as osteopaths but as independent healthcare practitioners.   The standards established by FAIMMS will focus on manual healthcare practice oriented to functional and integrative manual medicine approaches.  For further information please visit the FAIMMS website:

FAIMMS is therefore a body for independent practitioners who do not use the title ‘Osteopath’ but who may use osteopathic philosophy, concepts and approaches in patient care. However their practice is not limited to those approaches, and will also use alongside or instead, functional and integrative manual medicine dynamics.  FAIMMS is for practitioners who wish to join a  voluntary self-regulatory community of practitioners which is independent of the community of registered osteopaths in the UK. FAIMMS membership will also be open to those with primary chiropractic and physiotherapy qualifications also.

The standards of practice established for FAIMMS members are therefore not the same as standards of practice for osteopaths (although they are certainly on a similar level, and are not lower in level or complexity). FAIMMS members will not be eligible for VAT exemptions, will not be able to be reimbursed by insurance companies for ‘treatments given by osteopaths’ and will not be eligible to join dedicated osteopathic insurance group policies, but will instead be required to hold independent public and professional liability insurance.  FAIMMS registrants will also not be recognised as an Allied Health Professional by the NHS.

The background to the establishment of FAIMMS: The practice of osteopathy around the globe is widespread, and many countries, like the UK,  now have statutory regulation in place. In such instances regulation sets frameworks for practice which places boundaries to the nature of care delivery, and orients recognised care towards various healthcare roles. The standards of care thereby identified for regulated osteopaths may drive a professional identity that potential members of FAIMMS find does not represent their professional practice needs or healthcare identity, nor support the healthcare role they wish to deliver.  

To serve this need for a different community of practice FAIMMS has been established that is to support those practitioners who have trained in osteopathy to have a different regulatory framework that does meet their needs whilst still providing public protection as well as education.  
Members recognise that the title ‘Osteopath’ is now protected in many countries and so have chosen not to use ‘osteopath’ but to identify themselves as ‘functional and integrative manual medicine’ practitioners (or similar descriptors). Members bring together their manual and hands on approaches to care, which can extends beyond the application of osteopathic principles and can include a variety of functional and integrative manual medicine approaches.  

FAIMMS will aim to work with and alongside, wherever possible, National Bodies and Regulatory Boards, and other Organisations, International groups, Forums and research structures that are concerned with the regulation of healthcare practice. FAIMMS will seek to identify how their independent practitioner members can gain recognition for practice rights and professional recognition.

Please note: the International Society for Osteopathic Healthcare and the Functional and Integrative Manual Medicine Society are completely separate organisations and the ISOHC takes no responsibility for or ownership of any actions, promotions, decisions or approaches by the FAIMMS organisation. All questions regarding FAIMMS must be directed to that organisation.