The word Osteopathy comes from Ancient Greek word for “bone.” Unlike the name suggests, however, the modality deals with much, much more than just bones and skeletal structures. Osteopathy encompases all aspects of allopathic medicine and offers additional hands-on manipulative treatments. It corrects mechanical restrictions to help the body heal.
Osteopathic philosophy emphasizes the body’s ability to heal itself. Osteopaths correct structural impediments (such as bony compressions) on blood vessels, nerves, and lymphatics so that body fluids can flow optimally. Many patients respond better to the osteopathic approaches to patient care and than to conventional medicine.
So, Where did Osteopathy Get Its Name?
The founder of Osteopathy named it so to emphasize the importance bones have in disease treatment and diagnosis. Bones (and the entire skeleton) provide a starting point for diagnosis and understanding the body as a whole. Because bones integrate the body, they serve as “levers” that can be physically manipulated to influence different structures in the body.
Overtime, the Osteopathic profession has evolved to encompass all aspects of modern medicine while adopting a hands-on approach to patient care. All treatment modalities of the osteopathic profession are evidence and scientifically based. Osteopathy molds concepts of cellular biology, physiology, nutrition, epidemiology, and other scientific disciplines into its approach. This modality also offers a drug-free approach that is more comprehensive and holistic than conventional medicine.
Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine (OMM)
Also known as OMT, Osteopathic manipulative medicine (OMM) is one of the modalities that sets osteopathy apart from the allopathic practice. It uses manipulation
techniques like muscle energy, lymphatic, and myofascial treatments to correct dysfunction in the body. Mechanical dysfunctions interfere with the normal flow of body fluids and cause symptoms. Examples include bony and soft tissue compressions as well as injured fascia, muscles and nerves.
OMT/OMM techniques are useful for the treatment of joint, muscles and other connective tissues. It views dysfunction in the body as a system and uses a comprehensive approach to treat pain and other symptoms. OMM can be used to treat many ailments in the body including sport injuries, chronic pain, limited range of motion, and arthritis. These can be used as primary treatments to manage musculoskeletal conditions and be complementary to other medical procedures.
Seffinger, Michael A. Foundations of Osteopathic Medicine: Philosophy, Science, Clinical Applications, and Research. 4th ed., Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2018.