Osteopathic medicine has more than 125 years of American history. Dr. Andrew Taylor Still created this unique form of medical care in 1874 after becoming dissatisfied with the effectiveness of medical care. He believed that many of the medications of his day were useless or even harmful. He was one of the first in his time to study good health so he could understand the process of disease. Back then it was a new concept to think that healthy choices could help promote wellness.
Dr. Still developed a philosophy of medicine that focused on the unity of all body parts. He identified the musculoskeletal system as a key element of health. He recognized the body’s ability to heal itself and stressed preventive medicine, eating properly and keeping fit. He pioneered the “wellness” concept more than 125 years ago. Community Westview Hospital still believes in the wellness concept today and continues this unique style of medical care. For more information on osteopathic medicine visit www.osteopathic.org.
What is a D.O.?
There are two types of physicians—osteopathic (D.O.) and allopathic (M.D.) practicing in the Unites States. Both types are fully qualified and licensed to perform surgery and prescribe medication. D.O.s bring something unique to medicine:
- D.O.s practice a “whole person” approach to medicine instead of treating just symptoms or illnesses. They regard the body as an integrated whole.
- D.O.s focus on preventive health care. Most D.O.s practice in primary care.
- D.O.s receive extra training in the musculoskeletal system—your body’s interconnected system of nerves, muscles and bones that make up two-thirds of your body mass.
- Osteopathic manipulation therapy (O.M.T.) is incorporated in the training and practice of D.O.s. With O.M.T., osteopathic physicians use their hands to diagnose injury and illness. O.M.T. can help people of all ages to ease pain, promote healing and increase mobility.
- D.O.s interview patients not only about their medical symptoms but also about factors in their home, work and family life that may affect their health.
- D.O.s combine all available medical procedures, medications and treatments to offer the most comprehensive care available.
The practice of osteopathic medicine recognizes that the body is inherently capable of healing itself, and doctors of osteopathy (D.O.s) encourage and facilitate this process. A person’s body must constantly fight physical, emotional, environmental and nutritional “stressors” to maintain a state of wellness. However, if diseases or disorders threaten a person’s state of wellness, physicians recognize that medication, diagnostic tools, and sometimes surgery are necessary elements of treatment.