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What is Osteopathic Manipulative Treatment (OMT)? 

For any medical condition, osteopathic physicians understand that each individual expresses health and disease differently and that the absence of disease  does not imply the presence of health. Therefore, osteopathic physicians are trained to recognize changes in body structure that alter function which may contribute to “dis-ease.” In addition to managing medical conditions with pills or surgery, DOs are trained in osteopathic manipulative treatment (OMT). OMT is the therapeutic application of manual techniques by an osteopathic physician to address the changes in body structure to improve physiologic function.

What is the difference between a D.O. and an MD? 

To understand why approximately 25,000,000 Americans choose osteopathic physicians (DOs) it is important to look at the similarities between the MDs & DOs – and then the differences. The time spent in medical school and residency programs is virtually identical for DOs and MDs. DOs spend four years in medical school, followed by a year-long rotating internship. If they choose to specialize, residency programs are available in the full range of specialties – such as surgery, radiology, psychiatry, anesthesiology, and family medicine. Both MDs and DOs must take state licensing exams to become practicing physicians. It is the focus within the medical training that the differences between DOs and MDs start to appear.

Osteopathic medical education places more emphasis on preventive medicine, body structure, osteopathic manipulation and the importance of family practice. More than 75% of the DOs in the United States are in family practice, as opposed to only 25% of the MDs. Osteopathic physicians are more likely to view a patient as a whole person, taking into account not just the physical symptoms – but also the lifestyle, the emotional well-being, and the environment. This philosophical debate on whether to focus on the patient’s disease or the total patient precedes DOs and MDs. It goes back to the beginnings of medical history when Hippocrates, the “father of medicine,” believed in focusing on the patient. The rival philosophy focused only on the disease itself.

Finally, the differences are highlighted when it comes to treatment. Osteopathic physicians, also trained in the use of drugs and surgery, believe strongly in the self-regulating, self-healing, and self-repairing ability of the body. DOs are more likely to promote the body’s own ability to heal itself through means that are safe, non-intrusive, and with as few side effects possible. Osteopathic manipulative medicine (OMM) is often used as a primary healing tool. Many patients choose DOs because they are more comfortable with the philosophies and treatments of osteopathy. Others may not be as aware of the difference in medical philosophies, but they return to DO’s again and again. For these patients, the reason is simple. It work