Osteopathy is a hands on manual therapy that aims to diagnose and treat a selection of health complaints including muscle, ligament and joint pain. An osteopath undertakes a full consultation with each patient to take into account their unique symptoms, medical history and lifestyle. They then use a wide range of techniques to observe and diagnose conditions including observation, neurological and muscle testing. After formulating a treatment plan osteopaths provide treatment as appropriate, using touch, physical manipulation, stretching and massage to help the body's own healing mechanisms and get the body functioning better. Osteopaths then explain the condition to the patient, and provide exercises and home advice as appropriate to reduce symptoms and prevent recurrence. If required osteopaths can refer on for further tests (including MRI, x-ray, CT scan etc) or to orthopaedic consultants.