Wanganui osteopath Jonathon Paine is now leading the organisation that looks after the interests of more than 400 practitioners around the country.

Mr Paine was elected president of Osteopaths New Zealand (ONZ) at the organisation's annual meeting in Taupo and said he knows what challenges lie ahead.

Until about two years ago osteopaths belonged to one of two organisations but now the practitioners are under the ONZ umbrella. He had been on the inaugural committee.

Mr Paine, who owns Wanganui Osteopathic Clinic in Wicksteed St, said there were a number of issues already on the executives "to do" list and these included discussions with Ministry of Health, ACC and similar bodies.


"We started from scratch last year and concentrated on what we called members benefits but this year we've got to raise our profile in terms of representation so we're starting to make contact with ACC and the Ministry.

"That's going to be a lot of hard work for the next year or so.

"So we're not only raising our profile at a user level but also in a corporate and political level.

"Historically, osteopaths have always worked quietly in the background. We don't sell ourselves or market ourselves well. But we need that to change.

"It's 2014 now and we need to explain to more people what we do and the fact we're very good at it," Mr Paine said.

He said osteopathy was a registered treatment with ACC and he was keen to increase that relationship to make a cost-effective healthcare choice for more of the public.

"Recent media reports said ACC adds another 50,000 new accident claims to its books each year which is likely to be met with increasing scrutiny.

"Osteopathy, compared to other manual professions such as physiotherapists and chiropractors, has attracted few treatment visits per claim which suggest osteopathy is more cost-effective in the short to long term."

An osteopath for 25 years, Mr Paine trained in London and brought his wife and children to Wanganui almost 12 years ago.

He said osteopathy was "manual medicine" and most of the work was involved with the people's muscula-skeletal systems and a considerable amount involved back, neck and shoulder pain.

Lisa Walker, who works in the practice with him, specialises in treating babies and children.