Osteopathic Medicine is a complete, holistic branch of medicine founded by an American physician, Andrew Taylor Still, practicing in Missouri in the late 1800s. In the United States, DOs (Doctors of Osteopathic Medicine), like MDs, are granted the full scope of medical practice, including diagnosing all diseases as well as prescribing drugs and performing surgery. They attend four-year Osteopathic medical schools which require the same pre-requisites as conventional medical schools. They then complete internships and residencies in any medical specialty, often training side-by-side with MDs. While most Osteopathic Physicians practice general Family Medicine, there are many Osteopathic Pediatricians, OB-GYNs, Internists, Surgeons, Psychiatrists, Radiologists, etc. In addition to favoring primary care specialties, DOs often practice in rural areas.
All Osteopathic Physicians receive training in Osteopathic Philosophy and Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine (OMM), which is a holistic approach to patient care involving hands-on diagnosis and treatment using a gentle form of medical bodywork. Some Osteopathic Physicians specialize exclusively in this work and can become Board Certified in OMM (also referred to as Neuro-Musculoskeletal Medicine). Many of these physicians pursue training in Osteopathy in the Cranial Field, which addresses more subtle inherent motions in the body. MDs and Dentists can also study Osteopathy, particularly the Cranial Field, often via post-graduate continuing medical education courses. The physicians in this office specialize in OMM and are trained in the Cranial Field.
OMM encompasses a wide range of techniques addressing problems in joints, ligaments, muscles, tendons, and fascia that may cause pain or interfere with nervous, circulatory and internal organ function. Osteopathy depends on detailed anatomical knowledge, a highly trained sense of touch and the physician’s diagnostic skill and experience.
As the oldest form of continuously practiced modern manual therapy originating from the United States, Osteopathy has had great influence. There are many styles of bodywork that are derived from it, often practiced by those with more limited training. However, complex cases and particularly those with multiple medical problems require the expertise of Osteopathically-trained, unlimited-licensed physicians.
Osteopathic Medicine is the only branch of medicine that combines an unlimited scope of practice, full medical training and a holistic approach from the beginning of the educational process.