How long do your treatments go for?

My initial treatments are close to an hour, and subsequent treatments are for about half an hour, unless you ask for longer. I usually run on time.
My aim is to get you well as quickly as possible, and to treat underlying causes rather than just presenting symptoms.

How much do you charge?

Initial sessions cost $170.

Subsequent half-hour sessions are $90. Forty-five-minute treatments are $135 and one-hour treatments are $170.

Is this covered by Medicare?

There are some very specific sessions covered by Medicare, but unless your GP has specifically referred you for them, then my treatments don’t come under Medicare.

Do you take credit cards, including AMEX?

I take AMEX in the city, but not at Mortdale.

Will my insurance cover this? Do you take HICAPS?

Your health insurance policy will probably pay some of this if you have extras cover, but you will need to check with your provider about the level of cover you have. I have HICAPS, which means that I can swipe your card; you only need to pay for the gap.

What will happen?

I will talk with you about your medical history, assess what is happening, and then treat you with my hands.

How many treatments will I need?

Unfortunately that is impossible to say. It will probably be more than one, but sometimes one is all it takes. Some conditions have taken years to develop, and take a number of treatments to resolve. What I can say is that we will make joint decisions about each treatment. I won’t make you commit to anything in advance; if I think you will need more then I will explain why, and I won’t pressure you into accepting treatments that you don’t feel you require.

Will it hurt?

I use a wide range of techniques, and some of them can be uncomfortable. Most are very gentle. It isn’t usually necessary for techniques to be uncomfortable, but if I avoid an uncomfortable technique and use something more gentle, it sometimes means that the treatment will take longer. If you have any concerns please talk to me about them.

Do I have to get undressed?

Not if you don’t want to. My basic approach is to ask the patient to leave on any clothing that can be kept on without compromising the treatment, and to ask the patient to remove any items of clothing where doing so will enable me to treat them more effectively. I use towels to drape people where items of clothing need to be removed, but if you have any concerns please talk to me about them.

Do you crack joints?

I can, and sometime do. There are usually alternative ways to release stuck joints, and I usually use them as my first choice, and check with my patients if I think that the click will offer the best results. If you prefer not to have your joints clicked, then let me know, and I definitely won’t do it. If you prefer to have it done, I’ll try to accommodate you!

Do I need a referral?

No, you don’t need a referral. Osteopaths are primary health-care professionals, which means that you don’t need to see anyone else before seeing me.

Are you a doctor?

Osteopaths are legally entitled to designate themselves as Dr, and correspondence addressed to me from the Australian Health Professionals Registration Authority calls me Dr John Smartt. To avoid confusion, though, I normally avoid using that title. I’m quite happy being described as an osteopath.

Do you take workers' compensation cases, and do other forms of compensation-related treatment?

No. I am, of course, happy to treat people who have been injured at work, but I will charge you the normal amount for the treatment. Check first, but you will possibly be able to claim some of this back.

Are there side effects?

As with virtually all forms of medical treatment, there can be side effects to treatment by an osteopath. It is quite common to feel tired after a treatment; particularly for people who have been running on adrenaline, and whose body recognises, through the treatment, that it has a lot of work to do to resolve its problems. (Other people sometimes feel more energised after a treatment; it all depends.) Some people may also feel sore after a treatment, even when the treatment has been very gentle. This can happen for a number of reasons. In some cases, the patient’s body starts to move in different ways, and muscles get sore because they are now doing work which they haven’t for a while. In some cases, the path to you getting well may involve your body provoking an inflammatory reaction in some of your tissues; this can be temporarily unpleasant.

What training do you need to do to become an osteopath?

In my case, I have an undergraduate degree and a masters degree in osteopathy: five years at university altogether. That is really just the start, though. Learning in this field is ongoing and never ending. I am required to do 25 hours of continuing professional development each year, but I do much more than that.