are the only two fully licensed professions recognized in the United States to perform all specialties of medicine, including pediatrics, obstetrics and gynecology, psychiatry, and surgery. Both degrees afford the ability to prescribe medicines, and much of the medical school training for each degree is the same. In fact, most physicians who graduate from Osteopathic medical schools go on to allopathic, or M.D., residencies and practice medicine identically to the way M.D.s do.
A small percentage of D.O.s, however, continue with their study of anatomy, physiology,
and Osteopathic Manipulative Treatment, or OMT, and incorporate its techniques of diagnosis and treatment into their medical practice. Osteopathy is a system of medicine where diagnosis and treatment center on the ability and drive of the patient to heal themselves. Every living person has within them a degree of this healing power, and it is the Osteopath’s role to help support it in its work. By recognizing where and to what extent the innate mechanism is active, the Osteopath and therefore the patient have the resources and an unerring guide towards health, whether in the form of improved motion, function, circulation, strength, or ease of pain. The integrity of the whole body as a unit of function is the most important factor in health.
that there is an inherent drive towards self-healing which is both perpetual and unerring, the basic techniques taught in all the Osteopathic Medical Schools range from gentle, specific positioning in order to reestablish balance across a joint, to more direct, thrusting techniques, also specifically positioned, through a barrier. Some techniques enlist the muscular contractions of the patient to aid in the re-establishment of motion, while others rely on only the slightest changes in pressure from the skilled, observant hands of the practitioner. The other element of variation in the practice of osteopathy from practitioner to practitioner is that osteopathy is an art as well as a science. Ask two sculptors with a spinning wheel and a slab of clay to make a bowl and you will invariably get two different bowls. Now imagine the slab of clay is a living, thinking, changing body with its own innate drive towards becoming the truest, most perfect bowl it can be, and you will understand both the impossibility of making the same bowl, as well as the impossibility of even following the same process of creation. All aspects of the practice of medicine could be considered art as well as science. But the decision of whether to start a patient on either 20mg or 40mg of a lipid-lowering drug is different from the moment-to-moment, constant sensitive feedback from the health of the patient to the thinking fingers of the doctor.
Most of what is taught in Osteopathic Medical Schools can be considered mechanical in concept. An area of "lesion" in the system is evaluated, whether this is a compression, strain, or other mechanism of reduced motion, and a treatment process is initiated to restore a more normal relationship between the parts. The Biodynamic philosophy, brought to light by Dr. James Jealous, is of a different nature. Biodynamic principles are based on the creative, generative processes present during embryonic growth, which later become the regenerative, restorative, and healing forces present throughout childhood and adulthood. In the Biodynamic model, the patient is treated through the Osteopath's direct connection, or synchronization, with the source of these restorative drives, following Natural Law. When this synchronization occurs, and the patient is ushered through the quieting of their own discord, through the balance of their nervous system, the presence of homeostasis in their fluids- both circulating and fluctuating, the process of restoration shows its presence in the entirety of the organism. There is no separation of parts.
Newborns, Infants, Children:
Evan graduated from New York College of Osteopathic Medicine after undergraduate studies at Tufts University.
He was an army surgeon and an abolitionist during the Civil War. Dr. Still became discouraged by the traditional medicine of the time when his wife and several of his children suffered with, and later died from infection. The treatments and medicines available were helpless in their battle, and as a doctor trained in their use, so was he. Dr. Still realized there was more to the study of life and health, and he began the task of rediscovering the basic principles of Anatomy and Physiology. After many years of meticulous dissections, and intricate examination of every detail comprising the human body, he set to work using the information he had gathered in his exhaustive study to help to heal his patients.
Dr. Still named his new approach to medicine and health “osteopathy” because he found that its study must begin with the bones (osteo), but is not limited to them. Osteopathy places its emphasis on the relationship of the neuromusculoskeletal system, and its influence on all the organ systems of the body. The greatest interest of practitioners of Osteopathy is the study of human anatomy and physiology. Following in Dr. Still’s footsteps, they know how important it is to have a thorough understanding of the relationship and function of each bone and other structures in the body. This is essential to the normal and healthy working of the human body.
Osteopathic Physicians look at the causes of disease and suffering, originating in the abnormal working relationship that can exist within and between structures.