“To find health should be the object of the doctor. Anyone can find disease.”– Andrew Taylor Still, MD, DO
What is Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine?
Osteopathic physicians understand that every individual expresses health and disease differently. The absence of disease does not imply the presence of health. Osteopathic physicians are trained to recognize changes in body structure that alters function and contributes to disease. Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine is the application of osteopathic philosophy, structural diagnosis, and use of osteopathic manipulative treatment (OMT) in the diagnosis and management of an individual patient. OMT is the therapeutic application of manually guided forces by an osteopathic physician to improve physiological function.
Philosophy of Osteopathic Medicine
Doctors of Osteopathic Medicine are trained to promote the body’s natural tendency towards self healing. The tenets of osteopathic medicine express the philosophy of the profession:
- The body is a unit; the person is a unit of body, mind, and spirit.
- The body is capable of self-regulation, self-healing, and health maintenance.
- Structure and function are reciprocally interrelated.
- Rational treatment is based upon an understanding of the basic principles of body unity, self-regulation, and the interrelationship of structure and function.
- Muscle Energy
- High Velocity Low Amplitude (HVLA)
- Myofascial Release
- Balanced Ligamentous Release
- Facilitated Positional Release
- Functional Method
- Still Technique
- Visceral Manipulation
- Lymphatic Technique
- Soft Tissue Technique
- Osteopathic Cranial Manipulative Medicine (OCMM)
History of Osteopathic Medicine
Andrew Taylor Still, MD, DO
Founder of Osteopathic Medicine
The Story of the Discovery of Osteopathy
In the words of Andrew Taylor Still, MD, DO
“I was born and raised to respect and confide in the remedial power of drugs, but after many years of practice in close conformity to the dictations of the very best medical authors and in consultation with representatives of the various schools, I failed to get from drugs the results hoped for and I was face to face with the evidence that medication was not only untrustworthy but was dangerous.
The mechanical principles on which osteopathy is based are as old as the universe. I discovered them while I was in Kansas. You can call this discovery accidental or purely philosophical. I was in the practice of medicine and had been for several years. I treated my patients as other doctors did. A part of them got well and a part died. Others, both old and young, got sick and got well without the assistance of the medical doctor.
As I was an educated engineer of five years schooling I began to look at the human framework as a machine and to examine all its parts to see if I could find any variation from the truly normal among its journals, belts, pulleys and escape pipes. I began to experiment with man’s body as a master mechanic would when he had in his charge any machinery which needed to be kept perfectly adjusted and in line in order to get perfect work. I worked along patiently, faithfully and hopefully, finding out that the human body was just as liable to strains and variations as a steam engine, and that after correcting the strains and variations health was sure to follow. I was many years philosophizing, comparing and noticing results which followed taking off strains and pressure. I was surprised to see that fever, congestion and all irregularities gave way, health returned and the results were good and satisfactory.
I found mechanical causes for disordered functioning, of poor work of the head, neck, thorax, abdomen, pelvis or extremities. I adjusted the body framework and secured such good results that I was encouraged to keep on and on until now I can trustfully say that I am satisfied that osteopathy is the natural way by which all the diseases to which the human body is heir can be relieved, and a large majority of them cured.
Osteopathy is based upon the perfection of Nature’s work. When all the parts of the body are in line we have health. When they are note the effect is disease. When the parts are readjusted, diseases give place to health. The work of the osteopath is to ADJUST the body from the abnormal to the normal; then the abnormal condition gives place to the normal and health is the result of the normal condition.
Man cannot add anything to Nature’s perfect work nor improve the functioning of the normal body. Disease is an effect only, and a positive proof that a belt is off, a journal bent, or a cog broken or caught. Man’s power to cure is good as far as he has a knowledge of the right or normal position and so far as he has the skill to adjust the bones, muscles and ligaments and give freedom to nerves, blood, secretions and excretions and no farther.”
Excerpt from “Osteopathy The Science of Healing by Adjustment” by Percy H. Woodall, MD, DO