What is Osteopathy



Doctors of Osteopathic Medicine (DO) take a “wholistic” approach to healthcare, with a particular interest in human anatomy and physiology as it pertains to the neuro, muscular, and skeletal systems and their relationships to the mind, body and soul.


The body has an innate ability to heal itself. An Osteopath’s primary role is to support patients and their ability to promote healing by restoring the integrity of the whole body back to its natural balance (homestasis). In doing so, patients experience greater function, relief of pain, range of motion, improved strength, and increased circulation.


DOs focus on removing the source of somatic dysfunction (impaired function of skeletal, arthroidal, and myofascial structures and their related vascular, lymphatic, and neural elements) by isolating the root cause of the symptom utilizing a treatment called Osteopathic Manipulation, as well as evaluating lifestyle choices that have become a detriment to one’s health and ability to heal.




What is Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine (OMM)?

OMM is a safe gentle effective form of manipulation which augments your body’s innate healing mechanism. By allowing the tissues to gently relax and unwind we are able to release the shock of imprinted traumas and remove structural imbalances.  This allows free interchange of the fluids in your body restoring hormonal, vascular, and immune system function. Rarely is the type of harsh thrusting people think of associated with chiropractic manipulation used. Patients often experience a sense of deep relaxation, tingling, fluid flows and pain relief. Emotional releases may also transpire. These changes may occur immediately or later as the treatment has time to unfold.


Some patients will only notice that their previous level of pain has diminished some hours or days following the treatment. OMM can be used in conjunction with surgery and medication, but often will replace the need for more extreme measures avoiding prolonged recovery time and harmful side effects.





Credentials of a DO

Like Allopathic Doctors (MDs)—DOs are full medical doctors licensed and trained to perform surgery, order and interpret lab tests and imaging studies, and prescribe medications. In addition to 4 years of undergraduate study, 4 years of medical study, and 1 to 6 years of hospital internship and residency—DOs receive extensive education in manual therapy and issues pertaining to the musculoskeletal system that links your muscles, nerves and bones.






Undergrad Training

4 year degree


90 hours college credit


Grad Training

4 year osteo medical degree (DO)

4 year medical degree (MD)

4 year chiropractic degree (DC)

Post Grad Training

1 year internship

2-8 years residency depending on the specialty



Licensure/Scope of Practice

Fully licensed to practice the complete spectrum of Medical and Surgical Specialties in all 50 states


Licensed to practice Chiropractic Manipulation

Prescribe Medications




Manual Medicine Training

Over 500 hours



Attending Physician for Workers Comp



Only the first 60 days




History of Osteopathy

In the late 1800s, Dr. Andrew Taylor Still of the United States invented a drug-free, manual technique to improve circulation and correct altered biomechanics. He called it Osteopathy. Osteon for bone, and Pathos for suffering. Drawing on his extensive study of the natural world, along with traditional practices of Native Americans, Dr. Still believed that the human form had within it a level of protection that includes an innate ability to heal itself.


In the wake of the Civil War, Dr. Still suffered the loss of his three children as a result of spinal meningitis. The tragic events caused him to call into question orthodox treatments that often caused more harm than good. Over the next 30 years, Dr. Still researched the human body and alternative treatments, leading to the discovery of manipulating the musculoskeletal system to prevent and treat a variety of ailments and diseases.


Dr. Still is the founder of the world’s first osteopathic medical school in Kirksville, Missouri, American School of Osteopathy—now called A.T. Still University. Osteopathy became widely received towards the middle of the 20th century with acceptance and practices gradually spanning all 50 states and is spreading like wildfire througout the rest of the world.