“Osteopathy is to me a very sacred science… because it is
a healing power through all Nature.” A.T. Still
Osteopathy is a branch of medicine that not only
utilizes all the standard modern evaluation and diagnostic tools for patient
care, but also takes advantage of the body’s own healing abilities.
Developed by Dr. Andrew Taylor Still, M.D. in 1889, he dared to challenge
the beliefs and practice of traditional western medicine, and subsequently,
was ostracized by his fellow M.D.s.
“Osteopathy is based on the perfection of
nature’s work. When all parts of the human body are in line we have
health. When they are not the effect is disease.” With this philosophy
in mind, Dr. Still began the extensive study of the human anatomy and
it’s function, and methods of adjusting the body. From his studies,
he found that by removing restrictions in the bones, muscles, fascia,
nervous system, blood vessels or lympatics, he was able to restore normal
function and freedom in the tissues. Thus, allowing the body to heal itself
from a wide range of medical problems, including musculoskeletal problems.
Dr. Still also realized that not only does the physical being need to
be healed, but the mind and the spiritual aspect also needs to be treated
as well. Osteopaths are like master mechanics of the human body, looking,
palpating, searching for the cause of the problem, and fixing them.
The first Osteopathic school opened in Kirksville,
Missouri in 1892. And now, there are 20 Osteopathic medical schools in
the U.S. Like M.D.s, Osteopaths (D.O.) are fully licensed physicians.
D.O.s may also specialize in any field of medicine such as: family practice,
pediatrics, emergency medicine, surgery or obstetrics and gynecology.
D.O.s account for approximately 5 % of the medical profession, and often
times patients don’t realize that their doctor is an Osteopath.
Unfortunately, only about 5% or less of students
who graduate from Osteopathic medical school will practice traditional
osteopathy (incorporation of Osteopathic manipulative medicine (OMM) in
their practice). Those who do practice traditional osteopathy will spend
extra hours taking courses, seminars, and working with other osteopaths
to improve their skills.