The 140-student Canadian Academy of Osteopathy has set up shop on Ottawa Street.
Academy principal Robert Johnston launched the school on Melvin Avenue in 2003 but when he decided to expand he looked to Ottawa Street.
“I’ve had great support from the community over the years and (Ottawa Street) is going to be one of the most important streets in Hamilton in several years,” he said, noting as a Hamilton native, he is committed to his hometown. “I’ve been asked more than once to move the school to Toronto but I’ll be keeping it in Hamilton.”
A former Canadian Tire at Ottawa and Dunsmure has been converted to classroom space.
Osteopathy looks at the relationship between the anatomy and the physiology of the human body. Students are taught to address the anatomical and physiological reasoning for problems, and to choose the appropriate technique to address it.
There are currently around 140 students from around the world enrolled with the school. Students have the option of enrolling in September or April, with a 12-month rotation of six months in class and six months of clinical training.
Prior to becoming an osteopath, Johnston was a massage therapist looking for treatment for a neck condition that had ailed him for several years.
He attended an osteopathy session with Dr. Alfred Reid Johnston in Waterdown and issues he had disappeared.
“I was blown away by his ability to rectify the problem that had bothered me for years,” Johnston said, noting he shortly thereafter started educating himself about osteopathy in the United States and the United Kingdom, before returning to Canada.
Johnston studied under one of the founding fathers of osteopathy, John Wernham. As an independent school that maintains its own autonomy, the staff remains accountable for what students learn, he added.
There are various options for those interested in attending osteopathy classes, from entering straight from high school to pursuing it after completing an undergraduate degree.
The 1:4 to 1:6 teacher-student ratios also allow for individual attention for students to learn in a close-knit classroom for four years of learning, with an option to extend classes to five years.
The Canadian Academy of Osteopathy also operates out of the Melvin campus, using its rooms for practical workshops and a student clinic. The student clinics are free to the public, and patients can drop in more than once for ongoing care.
Students are required to complete 1,000 volunteer hours as a part of their studies.
“We are very dedicated to community-based services, and this is one of the ways we give back to the community,” said Johnston. “I’m very committed to bringing Hamilton forward and having the (academy) in Hamilton is to give the city recognition.”
Originally posted in Your Hamilton Biz.