What is Osteopathic
Osteopathic doctors are fully licensed physicians represented in all fields of medicine and surgery. They have the designation ‘D.O.’ for Doctor of Osteopathy, instead of the M.D. degree.
Osteopathic doctors are fully licensed physicians represented in all fields of medicine and surgery. They have the designation ‘D.O.’ for Doctor of Osteopathy, instead of the M.D. degree. Osteopathic physicians are uniquely positioned, having a small voice within organized medicine but a larger voice in primary care, and a leadership role in alternative/complementary and integrative care. In 2008, there were approximately 780,000 practicing physicians in the US and 7% were D.O.’s. Although D.O. graduates make up the smaller percentage of practicing physicians, their numbers have been growing exponentially in recent years. Currently, one in four medical students in the United States are in osteopathic programs. The distinguishing features of osteopathic medicine are:
• The addition of manual or manipulative (hands-on) treatment within a framework of science and medicine
• A natural philosophy of medicine both informing and being influenced by, the application of manual procedures
• An engineering perspective to medicine; one in which the intricate mechanics and fluid dynamics of the body are considered in addition to the applied chemistry approach of standard medicine
• The inclusion of this exceedingly safe and effective modality leavens the practice of medicine. It provides an important functional perspective to the care DO’s provide and humanizes the interaction between doctor and patient
• A tendency to favor the primary care specialties of Family Practice, pediatrics, OB-Gyn and Internal Medicine. Also, a greater proportion serve in underserved rural and urban communities
Originally formulated as a reform movement within medicine, osteopathy quickly joined the ranks of the other, better known alternatives like homeopathy (15% of physicians practiced homeopathy at the turn of the 20th century). At the time of its introduction in 1874, there was a proliferation of alternative methods in medicine, just as there exists today. Osteopathic physicians have served presidents, senators and Supreme Court justices, taken care of professional and college sports teams, and are on the faculty of major university medical systems such as the Mayo Clinic and Johns Hopkins. A significant percentage of military doctors are D.O.’s. In postgraduate medical education (residency), D.O.’s and M.D.’s train side-by-side. All medical, psychiatric and surgical disciplines are represented within the osteopathic profession. The uniquely American phenomena of Osteopathy and Osteopathic Medicine originated in the frontier states of Kansas and Missouri and have spread around the world.
American Osteopathic Association (AOA): https://osteopathic.org/
American Academy of Osteopathy (AAO): https://www.academyofosteopathy.org/