New European Standard
for Osteopathy Services


CEN, the European Committee for Standardization, is an organization that brings together the National Standardization Bodies of 34 European countries.

Presentation of the European Standard on Osteopathy (ΕΝ16686) in the Euro Parliament on the 29/9/16

CEN has adopted and issued a European Standard on Osteopathic Healthcare Provision, which has been developed in partnership with the European Federation of Osteopaths (EFO) and the Forum for Osteopathic Regulation in Europe (FORE). This new standard sets a benchmark for high quality clinical practice, education, safety and ethics.

The European Standard on Osteopathic Healthcare Provision (EN 16686) was developed by CEN’s Project Committee on ‘Services for Osteopaths’ (CEN/TC 414), which included healthcare professionals from more than 10 European countries. This Project Committee was set up in 2011 by CEN in partnership with the European Federation of Osteopaths (EFO) and the Forum for Osteopathic Regulation in Europe (FORE). The secretariat was provided by CEN’s member in Austria (Austrian Standards).

EN 16686 specifies requirements and recommendations regarding the healthcare provision, facilities and equipment, education, and ethical framework for the practice of osteopathy. When correctly applied, the new European Standard will help osteopaths to ensure that they provide a safe environment for patients and high quality treatment. The standard was made available by CEN in July 2015, and has since been published by CEN’s national members in 33 European countries.


Professional osteopath treating a patient [© Norsk Osteopat Forbund]

Osteopathy is a primary contact and patient-centred healthcare discipline, that emphasises the interrelationship of structure and function of the body, facilitates the body’s innate ability to heal itself, and supports a whole-person approach to all aspects of health and healthy development, principally by the practice of manual treatment. Osteopathy is a distinct healthcare profession, with osteopaths providing their services all over Europe.

The new European Standard should contribute to raising awareness and understanding of osteopathic practice throughout Europe, bringing benefits to osteopaths and their patients. EN 16686 is expected to be especially valuable in countries where there are no specific regulations regarding the provision of osteopathic healthcare services.

Jonathan Bailey-Teyletche, President of the EFO and Chairman of CEN/TC 414, says: “The European Standard on Osteopathic Healthcare Provision provides a benchmark for the level of training that an osteopath should undertake as well as the level of healthcare that should be provided to osteopathic patients throughout Europe. The Standard requires osteopaths to complete relevant education and training to a specified level, as well as following continuing professional development. In addition, the European Standard sets out that scientific rigour and evidence-informed practice are an important part of an osteopath’s approach to patient treatment and case management.”

For more information about CEN activities in relation to services, please see:

This article has been reproduced from the CONNECT │ CEN – CENELEC Newsletter
Issue 20 – February 2016, page 15
CEN – European Committee for Standardization
CENELEC – European Committee for Electrotechnical Standardization