What is Osteopathy?

Dr Andrew Taylor Still
Dr Andrew Taylor Still. Founder of Osteopathy.

Dr. Andrew Taylor Still developed osteopathic medicine in the 1870’s. The personal loss of Dr. A.T. Still’s three children to spinal meningitis urged him to look outside of his own training as an MD to create a new medical system.  He realized that optimal health could only be achieved when all the body systems function together in harmony.  A.T. Still developed a manual treatment, using his hands, to help change the physiology and function of the body through working with anatomy.  Dr. Still founded the first osteopathic medical school, the American School of Osteopathy, in 1892.  Today, osteopathic physicians are doctors with four years of medical school training, and additional postdoctoral internship and residency specialty training.  Osteopaths (DOs) have an equivalent degree as allopaths (MDs), and both osteopaths and allopaths are the only fully licensed physicians and surgeons in the United States.  The difference between MDs and DOs is in addition to the usual rigorous medical training, osteopaths also have extra training in the musculoskeletal system.  This means DOs learn hands-on treatment of the body using a variety of techniques, from very gentle to more direct style of manipulation.  All of these techniques are used to treat the body as a whole by removing restriction and regaining balance of the whole body system.  While a majority of DOs go on to specialize in areas such as Family Medicine, OB/GYN, or Surgery, a minority (about 10%) specializes in Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine.

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