Osteopathic Medicine

What is an Osteopathic Physician?

An Osteopathic physician is a fully licensed physician (i.e. licensed to prescribe medication and perform surgery) whose education combines the traditional methods of diagnosis and treatment as well as Osteopathic manipulative medicine (OMM), a unique form of manual diagnosis and treatment. In the United States, there are two types of doctors who are fully licensed as physicians and surgeons: M.D.s and D.O.s. D.O.s are Doctors of Osteopathic Medicine. D.O.s undergo the same rigorous medical training as M.D.s and practice alongside them in offices and hospitals across the country. In addition to their conventional medical training, D.O.s receive additional training in hands-on diagnosis and treatment modalities as well as Osteopathic philosophy.

Osteopathic Philosophy:

The hallmark of Osteopathic care is the focus on health and wellness as opposed to the conventional disease-based approach. A.T. Still, M.D., D.O., founder of Osteopathy, said “the object of the physician is to find health, anyone can find disease.” Osteopathic physicians are trained to look at each patient as an individual and focus their care on the entire person, rather than merely a diseased body system. There are 3 core tenets of Osteopathic philosophy that guide Dr. Tom and Dr. Jill in their approach to each and every patient:

  1. Structure and function are interrelated. The body’s physical structure provides the framework for the rest of the body to function optimally. When the physical structure is strained or under constant stress, this can lead to health problems in seemingly unrelated areas of the body, including the internal organs.
  2. Each person is a dynamic unit of body, mind and spirit. No single element functions separately from the other. At Origins Of Health, we focus not only on your physical structure but on all aspects of the Body, Mind and Spirit unit.
  3. The body has the ability to heal itself. Osteopathic physicians realize that radiant health is the natural state for all living beings. The body is designed to live in a state of wonderful health. If the body is injured or becomes ill, it has the inherent ability to heal itself. Unlike many health practitioners who try to tell the body what’s right for it, we work with the natural healing forces within your body. Our goal is to support your self-healing mechanism making our healing approach gentle, compassionate and extremely effective.

Dr. Andrew Weil, MD, a world-renowned integrative medicine pioneer, discusses Cranial Osteopathy on his website

After traveling the world in search of healing practices, Dr. Weil finds an Osteopathic physician, Robert Fulford, who embodies his vision of health, right at home. An Osteopathic Alternative is an introductory video on Dr. Robert Fulford, DO by Dr. Andrew Weil, MD produced by the Biomedical Communications, AHSC, University of Arizona. Copyright Arizona Board of Regents.

Why Choose an Osteopath?

Long before it was fashionable, DOs advised their patients that the “best drugs” are contained in the body’s immune, metabolic and nervous, and endocrine systems. So strongly do Osteopaths believe in the body’s innate healing ability that many have devoted years of additional training, after medical school, to specialize in Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine.

Are You a REAL Doctor?

DOs are fully licensed physicians who are authorized to prescribe medication and perform surgery. While attending their own medical schools, DOs are responsible for the same academic discipline as their MD colleagues and receive an additional 300 to 500 hours in the study of the body’s musculoskeletal system. Most graduates from Osteopathic medical school go on to Osteopathic (DO) or allopathic (MD) residencies to perform all specialties including family practice, internal medicine, pediatrics, obstetrics and gynecology, emergency medicine, psychiatry and surgery. Some DOs continue with their study of anatomy, physiology and OMM and incorporate traditional Osteopathic techniques of diagnosis and treatment into their medical practice. A small percentage of Osteopaths choose OMT as their specialty. Physicians who wish to pursue Osteopathy ion the Cranial Field must take additional courses and train an additional five years in practice to be certified in this area of expertise.

How Does Osteopathy Work?

Osteopaths hold to the common sense principle that a patient’s history of illness and trauma are written in the body’s structure. It is the Osteopath’s highly developed sense of touch that allows the physician to palpate (feel) the patient’s “living anatomy” (i.e. the flow of fluids, motion and texture of tissues, and structural make-up). The Osteopath’s job is to “set” the body up to heal itself. To restore this normal function, the Osteopath gently applies precise and gentle force to promote normal movement of the bodily fluids, eliminate dysfunction in the motion of tissues, and release compression and/or congestion in bones, joints, muscles and other tissues.