What to expect

With the exception of our Associates, Children’s and Demonstration clinics, treatment at the UCO Clinic is carried out by senior UCO students under the supervision of tutors who are experienced, registered osteopaths.

The student osteopaths and tutors will involve you at each step during the appointment, and will ask for your consent to proceed when necessary. Please ask questions, and if you are unsure about anything ask for clarification.

You do not need a referral to make an appointment at the UCO clinic, although some patients do come to us following GP advice.

Please note that in response to current guidance, the UCO has made a number of changes to the clinic to protect the safety of our patients, students and staff. Read more about these changes.

What should I wear?

In order to have your condition evaluated and treated you may need to undress to your underwear (if comfortable to do so) or to sports shorts. Some patients find it best to wear clothing that is easy to change out of e.g. jogging bottoms. If required the clinic does have reusable modesty gowns available at reception for a small fee. These can be purchased, washed and reused by patients. For more information about the modesty gowns or if you have any other questions about what to wear for your appointment please speak to our reception team who will be happy to try and help. 

Your first appointment

Osteopaths consider biological, psychological and social factors instead of viewing a symptom in isolation.

If the appointment is your first consultation on an issue, the student osteopath will begin by asking you questions to gain a good understanding of your case history. This is followed by a thorough examination, where you will be asked to undress to your underwear if you are happy to do so. If you would prefer, reusable gowns are available for purchase at the reception desk.

You may be asked to perform some movements, and the student osteopath may move different parts of your body to see how they are functioning, or do additional tests. 

Your student osteopath will report to their supervising tutor on their findings, and will then talk to you about what they think is causing the problem. S/he will also talk to you about possible treatment options, possible effects, and may also advise you on exercise, diet or lifestyle changes which could help manage or improve your condition. Where necessary, and normally only with your permission, we may need to write to your GP or other healthcare practitioners if a referral is indicated.

Your first consultation may take up to an hour and a half, and may not always result in treatment. If this is the case (and it is appropriate) then you will be re-booked for a further appointment as soon as possible.

Follow-up appointments

Some patients need only one appointment; others may have a course of therapy or return periodically for the long-term management of a condition. Normally the treatment of a patient is determined according to their progression rather than the prescription of a set number of treatment sessions. Follow-up appointments are usually shorter in length and last approximately 45 minutes.


Techniques that may be used during a first or subsequent consultation include a wide range of gentle, non-invasive applications such as deep tissue massage, joint articulation and manipulation. Where techniques are undertaken, your student osteopath will always ask for your consent in advance. S/he will also advise you about lifestyle issues, such as exercise, diet or work posture, which may help you.

Your student osteopath

As the UCO is a training establishment, the student practitioners available to you may change as they progress with their studies. We do try to ensure patients see the same student osteopath for continuity of care, but it may sometimes be necessary to see a different student or tutor.

If you would like to see a student osteopath of the same gender please let us know when booking your appointment and we will try to accomodate this for you. Whilst we can usually arrange for you to see a student osteopath of the same gender, it isn’t always possible to provide a same gender tutor. Please note that to ensure you are effectively cared for and for osteopathic treatment to be administered it is usually necessary for a clinic tutor to be involved in your evaluation and examination. In most cases treatment cannot be given without this input.

If you would like to have a chaperone present please bring a friend or family member with you to your appointment if you wish. Unfortunately the UCO is not able to provide chaperones (although another student may be able to sit in on your treatment in this role, if available).

For more information download our Patient Information Sheet.