The Value of Osteopathic Medicine
Why Osteopathic Medicine?
Americans are taking control of their own health care, and increasingly searching out
professionals who practice a whole person approach to medicine. Hence, Osteopathic medicine is one
of fastest growing health professions in the U.S.
D.O.s emphasize prevention as a
means of achieving overall good health. They understand the importance of maintaining a healthy
D.O.s use the "whole patient" approach in treating patients.
Rather than just treating a specific illness, D.O.s learn to consider the patient's diet, exercise
habits, physical and emotional stresses, genetics, life history, environment and occupation and its
possible affects to overall well-being.
In addition to the typical scientific and
clinical training given at M.D. schools, D.O. students are also trained in the area of manipulative
medicine, a hands-on technique for the diagnosis and treatment of patients. D.O.s are able to
manipulate the musculoskeletal system (structure and/or tissue) to allow the body's own healing
elements to work against the ailment(s). Such techniques have been used in treating allergies,
sprains and strains, to labor pain for expectant mothers.
There are over 40,000 D.O.s
in practice in the United States today, managing 100 million patient visits per year, with 10,000
students pursuing a degree in osteopathic medicine. The American Osteopathic Association expects the number of D.O.s will double in
next two decades.
Training for D.Os. is rigorous, with four years of science and
clinical training. A majority of D.O.s currently receive their training through M.D. residency
programs. D.O.s must pass a state medical board licensing examination in order to practice in that
Osteopaths practice within every field of medicine, including family practice,
internal medicine, pediatrics, obstetrics/gynecology, surgery, emergency medicine, anesthesiology,
orthopedics, aerospace medicine and geriatrics. Over half of D.O.s are family doctors.