Osteopathy has been a recognised profession since 2002 (Article 75 de la Loi 2002-303 du 4 mars 2002) and in 2007 the title ‘osteopathe’ became a protected title (Décret 2007-435 du 25 mars 2007).
There is no single regulatory body of osteopathy in France; in order to practise, osteopaths need to register with their local health authority (Agence Régionale de Santé).
Osteopaths can be members of professional associations or unions, such as the ‘Registre des Osteopathes de France’ and the ‘Syndicat Français des Osteopathes’. The majority of practitioners practice osteopathy only, while others also work as medical doctors, physiotherapists, midwives or nurses.
In 2014, regulations reforming the existing legal framework for the training of osteopaths were published. The decree published in September 2014 set out the criteria required for all training institutions. The decree in December 2014 (Décret 2014-1505 du 12 décembre 2014 relatif à la formation en ostéopathie) laid down that from September 2015 osteopathic training should be at least 4,860 hours spread over five years including 1500 hours of clinical practice for a minimum of 150 validated consultations (Ministère des Solidarités et de la Santé).
The French Government accredits osteopathic schools. Clinical training is supervised and the regulation of the institutions are overseen by the health and social affairs authority ('Inspection générale des affaires sociales’, IGAS).
Patients can visit osteopaths without any medical referral. Osteopathic care is not funded by public health insurance but some private insurance schemes provide cover, depending on the respective insurance policies.