The Practice of Medicine
Osteopathy is a comprehensive system of diagnosis and treatment, based on the
interrelationship of anatomy and physiology, for the study, prevention and treatment
of disease. The entire body, if adequately nourished, functions to maintain, repair
and heal itself to the best advantage if its structure and physiological functioning are
in proper order.
Doctors of Osteopathy bring something extra to medicine:
Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine (OMM) is incorporated into the training and
practice of osteopathic physicians. With OMM, osteopathic physicians use their
hands to diagnose injury and illness, and to encourage the body's natural tendency
toward good health. By combining all available medical procedures with OMM, D.O.s
offer their patients the most comprehensive care available in medicine today.
D.O.s practice a "whole person" approach to medicine. Instead of just treating
specific symptoms or illnesses, they regard your body as an integrated whole.
Osteopathic physicians focus on preventive health care.
D.O.s receive comprehensive training in the musculoskeletal system -- your
body's complex interconnected system of nerves, muscles and bones that
makes up two-thirds of its body mass. This training provides osteopathic
physicians with a better understanding of the ways that an injury or illness
in one part of your body can affect another.
Applicants to both D.O. and M.D. medical colleges have four-year undergraduate degrees
with emphasis on scientific courses.
Both D.O.s and M.D.s:
Complete four years of basic medical education.
Complete a residency program of up to six years (psychiatry, surgery, or obstetrics).
Practice in fully accredited hospitals and medical centers.
Have the authority to order tests, procedures, medication, and perform surgery.
Must pass state licensing examinations.
Must maintain a certain level of continuing education units (CME) to remain certified.
Have equal rights and privileges in the U.S. and are equal in the eyes of the law.
D.O.s are one of the fastest growing segments of health care providers and comprise
a separate, yet equal, branch of American medical care. Together, D.O.s and M.D.s
enhance the state of care available in America. Currently, there are more than 41,000
osteopathic physicians in practice in the United States.
See our Healthy Links page for more information.