Why Osteopathic Medicine?
Americans are taking control of their own health care, and increasingly searching out professionals who practice a whole person approach to medicine. Hence, Osteopathic medicine is one of fastest growing health professions in the U.S.
D.O.s emphasize prevention as a means of achieving overall good health. They understand the importance of maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
D.O.s use the “whole patient” approach in treating patients. Rather than just treating a specific illness, D.O.s learn to consider the patient’s diet, exercise habits, physical and emotional stresses, genetics, life history, environment and occupation and its possible affects to overall well-being.
In addition to the typical scientific and clinical training given at M.D. schools, D.O. students are also trained in the area of manipulative medicine, a hands-on technique for the diagnosis and treatment of patients. D.O.s are able to manipulate the musculoskeletal system (structure and/or tissue) to allow the body’s own healing elements to work against the ailment(s). Such techniques have been used in treating allergies, sprains and strains, to labor pain for expectant mothers.
There are over 40,000 D.O.s in practice in the United States today, managing 100 million patient visits per year, with 10,000 students pursuing a degree in osteopathic medicine. The American Osteopathic Association expects the number of D.O.s will double in next two decades.
Training for D.Os. is rigorous, with four years of science and clinical training. A majority of D.O.s currently receive their training through M.D. residency programs. D.O.s must pass a state medical board licensing examination in order to practice in that state.
Osteopaths practice within every field of medicine, including family practice, internal medicine, pediatrics, obstetrics/gynecology, surgery, emergency medicine, anesthesiology, orthopedics, aerospace medicine and geriatrics. Over half of D.O.s are family doctors.