Osteopathic medicine is a form of medical practice that provides all of the benefits of modern medicine (including prescription drugs, surgery, and the use of technology to diagnose disease and evaluate injury) while incorporating a holistic approach to patient care. Osteopathic medicine emphasizes helping each person achieve a high level of wellness by focusing on health promotion and disease prevention.
Osteopathic physicians, also known as DOs, work in partnership with their patients. They consider the impact that lifestyle and community have on the health of each individual, and work to break down barriers to good health. Osteopathic physicians believe in the body’s innate ability to heal itself.
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DOs are trained to look at the whole person from their first days of medical school, which means they see each person as more than just a collection of organ systems and body parts that may become injured or diseased. This holistic approach to patient care means that osteopathic medical students learn how to integrate the patient into the health care process as a partner.
Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine (OMM)
Osteopathic manipulative therapy (OMM) is a system of hands-on therapy through which Osteopathic physicians address structural imbalances. Osteopathic medicine's manipulative techniques work with the individual's self-healing mechanism to eliminate impediments to proper structure and function. The exchange fosters the restoration of the person's unique physiologic balance, the optimal environment for health. OMM is performed on fully-clothed patients on a massage or other exam table.
(Text adapted from the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine website; used by permission of AACOM.)