Osteopathy is a type of alternative medicine that emphasizes manual readjustments, myofascial release and other physical manipulation of muscle tissue and bones. Practitioners of osteopathy are referred to as osteopaths. Its name derives from Ancient Greek "bone" (ὀστέον) and "sensitive to" or "responding to" (-πάθεια).
While the UK's National Health Service says there is "limited evidence to suggest" that osteopathy "may be effective for some types of neck, shoulder or lower limb pain and recovery after hip or knee operations", it acknowledges that there is no evidence that osteopathy is effective as a treatment for health conditions "unrelated" to the bones and muscles, "such as headaches, migraines, painful periods, digestive disorders, depression and excessive crying in babies (colic)"; an explicit reference to the claims of osteopathic manipulative medicine. Others have concluded that osteopathic style manipulation "failed to produce compelling evidence" for efficacy in treating musculoskeletal pain.
The government policy and legal framework in which practitioners operate vary greatly from country to country, with some having both non-physician osteopaths and medically trained osteopathic physicians.
The practice of osteopathy began in the United States in 1874. The term "osteopathy" was coined by Andrew Taylor Still, MD, DO. Still was a physician and surgeon, a Kansas state and territorial legislator, a free state leader, and one of the founders of Baker University. He lived near Baldwin City, Kansas at the time of the American Civil War and it was there that he founded the practice of osteopathy.
Andrew Still held a view common to early 19th century proponents of alternative medicine, supporting the idea that the body's natural state tends toward health and inherently contains the capacity to battle any harmful threats to health in the body. This view was opposed to that of the orthodox practitioner, which held that intervention by the physician was necessary to restore health in the patient. The division between irregular medicine, also known as unorthodox medicine, and regular medicine that resulted because of these differing views was a major conflict for decades before Still established the basis for osteopathy. The foundations of this divergence may be traced back to the mid-18th century when specificity in physiology became the central study that pointed to the cause and nature of disease. Diseases began to be localized to organs and tissues, and doctors began shifting their focus from the patient to the internal state of the body, resulting in an issue labeled as the problem of the "vanishing patient". A stronger movement towards experimental and scientific medicine was then developed. In the perspective of the unorthodox physicians, the sympathy and holism that were integral to medicine in the past were left behind. Heroic medicine became the convention for treating patients, with aggressive practices like bloodletting and prescribing chemicals such as mercury, becoming the forefront in therapeutics. Alternative medicine had its beginnings in the early 19th century, when gentler practices in comparison to Heroic medicine began to emerge. Homeopaths, Thomsonians, and hydropaths practiced unconventional forms of healing that may have had strong appeal to patients due to their more attenuated practices. As alternative medicine grew to include more followers, orthodox medicine continued to rebuke and seek to invalidate the "irregulars," as termed by the orthodox practitioners in Heroic medicine. As each side sought to defend its practice, a schism began to present itself in the medical marketplace, with both the irregular and regular practitioners attempting to discredit the other. The irregulars — those who are now referred to as Alternative Medicine practitioners — argued that the regulars practiced an overly mechanistic approach to treating patients, treated the symptoms of disease instead of the original causes, and were blind to the harm they were causing their patients. Regular practitioners had a similar argument, labeling unorthodox medicine as unfounded, passive, and dangerous to a disease-afflicted patient. This is the medical environment that pervaded throughout the 19th century, and this is the setting that Still entered when he began developing his idea of osteopathy.
After experiencing the loss of his wife and three daughters to spinal meningitis and noting that the current orthodox medical system could not save them, Still may have been prompted to shape his reformist attitudes towards conventional medicine. Still set out to reform the orthodox medical scene and establish a practice that did not so readily resort to drugs, purgatives, and harshly invasive therapeutics to treat a person suffering from ailment, similar to the mindset of the irregulars in the early 19th century. Thought to have been influenced by spiritualist figures such as Andrew Jackson Davis and ideas of magnetic and electrical healing, Still began practicing manipulative procedures that were intended to restore harmony in the body. Over the course of the next twenty five years, Still attracted support for his medical philosophy that disapproved of orthodox medicine, and shaped his philosophy for osteopathy. Components of this philosophy included the idea that structure and function are interrelated and the importance of each piece of the body in the harmonious function of its whole.
Still sought to establish a new medical school that could produce physicians trained under this philosophy, and be prepared to compete against the orthodox, or allopathic, physicians. The American School of Osteopathy was established on 20 May 1892, in Kirksville, Missouri. Twenty-one students made up this first class. Still explains the science of osteopathy in his book "The Philosophy and Mechanical Principles of Osteopathy" in 1892.
Still named his new school of medicine "osteopathy", reasoning that "the bone, osteon, was the starting point from which [he] was to ascertain the cause of pathological conditions". While the state of Missouri granted the right to award the MD degree, he remained dissatisfied with the limitations of conventional medicine and instead chose to retain the distinction of the DO degree. In the early 20th century, osteopaths across the United States sought to establish law that would legitimize their medical degree to the standard of the allopathic medic. The processes were arduous, and not without conflict. In some states, it took years for the bills to be passed. Osteopaths were often ridiculed and in some cases arrested, but in each state, osteopaths managed to achieve the legal acknowledgement and action they set out to pursue.
The osteopathic profession has evolved into two branches, non-physician manual medicine osteopaths and full scope of medical practice osteopathic physicians. These groups are so distinct that in practice they function as separate professions. The regulation of non-physician manual medicine osteopaths varies greatly between jurisdictions. In Australia, the UK, and New Zealand the non-physician manual medicine osteopaths are regulated by statute and practice requires registration with the relevant regulatory authority. The Osteopathic International Alliance has a country guide with details of registration and practice rights and the International Osteopathic Association has a list of all accredited osteopathic colleges.
Several international and national organizations exist relating to osteopathic education and political advocacy. Similarly, there is also an international organization of organizations for national osteopathic and osteopathic medical associations, statutory regulators, and universities/medical schools offering osteopathic and osteopathic medical education, known as the Osteopathic International Alliance (OIA).
The following sections describe the legal status of osteopathy and osteopathic medicine in each country listed.
Osteopaths work in private practice, and the majority of private health insurance providers cover treatment performed by osteopaths. In addition, treatment performed by osteopaths is covered by the public healthcare system in Australia (Medicare) under the Chronic Disease Management plan.
Osteopaths in Australia undertake a minimum of five years' university training in anatomy, physiology, pathology, general medical diagnosis and osteopathic techniques to be eligible to practice.
Osteopathy Australia (formerly the Australian Osteopathic Association) is a national organization representing the interests of Australian osteopaths, osteopathy as a profession in Australia, and consumers' right to access osteopathic services. Founded in 1955 in Victoria, the Australian Osteopathic Association became a national body in 1991 and became Osteopathy Australia in 2014. and is a member of the Osteopathic International Alliance.
The Osteopathy Board of Australia is part of the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency which is the regulatory body for all recognized health care professions in Australia. The Osteopathic Board of Australia is separate from the Medical Board of Australia which is the governing body that regulates medical practitioners. Osteopaths trained internationally may be eligible for registration in Australia, dependent on their level of training and following relevant competency assessment.
In Canada, the titles "osteopath" and "osteopathic physician" are protected in some provinces by the medical regulatory college for physicians and surgeons. As of 2011, there were approximately 20 U.S.-trained osteopathic physicians, all of which held a Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine degree, practicing in all of Canada. As of 2014, no training programs have been established for osteopathic physicians in Canada.
The non-physician manual practice of osteopathy is practiced in most Canadian provinces. As of 2014, manual osteopathic practice is not a government-regulated health profession in any province, and those interested in pursuing osteopathic studies must register in private osteopathy schools. It is estimated that there are over 1,300 osteopathic manual practitioners in Canada, most of whom practice in Quebec and Ontario. Some sources indicate that there are between 1,000 and 1,200 osteopaths practicing in the province of Quebec, and although this number might seem quite elevated, many osteopathy clinics are adding patients on waiting lists due to a shortage of osteopaths in the province.
Beginning in 2009, Université Laval in Quebec City was working with the Collège d'études ostéopathiques in Montreal on a project to implement a professional osteopathy program consisting of a bachelor's degree followed by a professional master's degree in osteopathy as manual therapy. However, due to the many doubts concerning the scientific credibility of osteopathy from the university's faculty of medicine, the program developers decided to abandon the project in 2011, after 2 1⁄2 years of discussion, planning, and preparation for the program implementation. There was some controversy with the final decision of the university's committee regarding the continuous undergraduate and professional graduate program in osteopathy because the Commission of studies, which is in charge of evaluating new training programs offered by the university, had judged that the program had its place at Université Laval before receiving the unfavourable support decision from the faculty of medicine. Had the program been implemented, Université Laval would have been the first university institution in Quebec to offer a professional program in osteopathy as a manual therapy.
There is no universal regulatory authority for the practice of osteopathy or osteopathic medicine within the European Union; it is on a country-by-country basis. The UK's General Osteopathic Council, a regulatory body set up under the country's Osteopaths Act 1993, has issued a position paper on European regulation of osteopathy.
Osteopathy is a governmentally recognized profession and has title protection, autorisation d'utiliser le titre d'ostéopathe. The most recent decree regarding osteopathy was enacted in 2014.
For 40 years (since the early 70s) osteopaths have been practicing in Belgium, during which time several attempts have been made to obtain an official status of health care profession. In 1999, a law was passed (the 'Colla-Law') providing a legal framework for osteopathy, amongst three other non-conventional medical professions, to develop into an independent medical profession in its own right. In 2011, the Belgian Minister Onkelinx created and established the Chambers for Non-Conventional Medicines and the Joint Commission provided for in the "Colla-law" (1999). The Chamber for Osteopathy has been active since then. Their goal is to discuss and reach an agreement between the various medical bodies to rule on these practices. In February 2014, only one practice, homeopathy, received its recognition. The others, including osteopathy, remain unresolved. Since 2014, the majority of the professional osteopathic associations have joined together under the name UPOB - BVBO (Union Professionelle des Osteopathes de Belgique - Belgische Vereniging van Belgische Osteopaten - Professional Union of Belgian Osteopaths) in order to consolidate the image and united vision of osteopathy (± 900 osteopaths). This merger also resulted in the creation of a website which represents all aspects of osteopathy in Belgium. Its aim is to offer Belgians a base of information about osteopathy, to provide access to a national emergency care service as well as to osteopathic care facilities for the less fortunate. It also serves as a directory for osteopaths who practice osteopathy exclusively. Lastly, the website serves as a platform to support actions working towards the recognition of osteopathy.
Germany has both osteopathy and osteopathic medicine. There is a difference in the osteopathic education between non-physician osteopaths, physiotherapists, and medical physicians.
Physiotherapists are a recognized health profession and can achieve a degree of "Diploma in Osteopathic Therapy (D.O.T.)". Non-physician osteopaths are not medically licensed. They have an average total of 1200 hours of training, roughly half being in manual therapy and osteopathy, with no medical specialization before they attain their degree. Non-physician osteopaths in Germany officially work under the "Heilpraktiker" law. Heilpraktiker is a separate profession within the health care system. There are many schools of osteopathy in Germany; most are moving toward national recognition although such recognition does not currently exist. In Germany, there are rules (at the country level) under which persons (non-physicians) may call themselves osteopaths.
The practice of osteopathy is regulated by law, under the terms of the Health Practitioners Competence Assurance Act 2003 which came into effect on 18 September 2004. Under the Act, it is a legal requirement to be registered with the Osteopathic Council of New Zealand (OCNZ), and to hold an annual practicing certificate issued by them, in order to practice as an osteopath. Each of the fifteen health professions regulated by the HPCA Act work within the "Scope of Practice" determined and published by its professional Board or Council. Osteopaths in New Zealand are not fully licensed physicians. In New Zealand, in addition to the general scope of practice, osteopaths may also hold the Scope of Practice for Osteopaths using Western Medical Acupuncture and Related Needling Techniques.
In New Zealand a course is offered at Unitec. Australasian courses consist of a bachelor's degree in clinical science (osteopathy) followed by a master's degree. The Unitec double degree programme is the OCNZ prescribed qualification for registration in the scope of practice: Osteopath, Australian qualifications accredited by the Australian and New Zealand Osteopathic Council are also prescribed qualifications.
Osteopaths registered and in good standing with the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency – Osteopathy Board of Australian are eligible to register in New Zealand under the mutual recognition system operating between the two countries. Graduates from programs in every other country are required to complete an assessment procedure.
The scope of practice for US-trained osteopathic physicians is unlimited on an exceptions basis. Full licensure to practice medicine is awarded on an exceptions basis following a hearing before the licensing authorities in New Zealand. Both the Medical Council of New Zealand and the Osteopathic Council of New Zealand [OCNZ] regulate osteopathic physicians in New Zealand. Currently, the country has no recognized osteopathic medical schools.
Osteopathy is a governmentally recognized health profession and the title of Osteopath is protected by Law (Act 45/2003, of 22 October, and Act 71/2013, of 2 September). Currently there are three faculties that teach the four-year degree course of osteopathy (BSc Hon in Osteopathy).
The practice of osteopathy has a long history in the United Kingdom. The first school of osteopathy was established in London in 1917 by John Martin Littlejohn, a pupil of A.T. Still, who had been Dean of the Chicago College of Osteopathic Medicine. After many years of existing outside the mainstream of health care provision, the osteopathic profession in the UK was accorded formal recognition by Parliament in 1993 by the Osteopaths Act. This legislation now provides the profession of osteopathy the same legal framework of statutory self-regulation as other healthcare professions such as medicine and dentistry.
The General Osteopathic Council (GOsC) regulates the practice of osteopathy under the terms of the Osteopaths Act 1993. Under British law, an osteopath must be registered with the GOsC to practice in the United Kingdom. The General Osteopathic Council has a statutory duty to promote, develop and regulate the profession of osteopathy in the UK. It fulfills its duty to protect the interests of the public by ensuring that all osteopaths maintain high standards of safety, competence and professional conduct throughout their professional lives. In order to be registered with the General Osteopathic Council an osteopath must hold a recognized qualification that meets the standards as set out by law in the GOsC's Standard of Practice. This Act provides for "protection of title" A person who, whether expressly or implicitly describes him- or herself as an osteopath, osteopathic practitioner, osteopathic physician, osteopathist, osteotherapist, or any kind of osteopath is guilty of an offence unless they are registered as an osteopath. There are currently more than five thousand osteopaths registered in the UK.
Osteopathic medicine is regulated by the General Osteopathic Council, (GOsC) under the terms of the Osteopaths Act 1993 and statement from the GMC. Practising osteopaths will usually have a B.S. or M.Sc. in osteopathy. Accelerated courses leading to accreditation are available for those with a medical degree and physiotherapists. The London College of Osteopathic Medicine, teaches osteopathy only to those who are already physicians.
Those trained only in manual osteopathic treatment, generally to relieve muscular and skeletal conditions, are referred to as osteopaths. These non-physician practitioners are not permitted to use the title D.O. in the United States. This is to avoid confusion with osteopathic physicians who are medical doctors trained and certified to practice in the branch of scientific medicine called osteopathic medicine.
The American Osteopathic Association and the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine recommend using the terms osteopathic physician (U.S.-trained only) and osteopathic medicine in reference to osteopathic medicine as practiced in the United States. Osteopathic physicians earn the degree of Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (D.O.).
Osteopathic medicine in the United States has always meant a physician trained in and entitled to the full scope of medical practice. Osteopathy or osteopath as written in some U.S. state and federal laws refers only to osteopathic medicine or osteopathic physicians, respectively. With the increased internationalization of the profession, these older terms have fallen out of favor as generally accepted use due to the confusion they may cause.
Hesham Khalil introduced osteopathy in the Middle East at a local physical therapy conference in Cairo, Egypt in 2005 with a lecture titled "The global Osteopathic Concept / Holistic approach in Somatic Dysfunction". Since then he has toured the Middle East to introduce osteopathy in other Middle Eastern and North African countries, including Sudan, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, UAE, Kuwait and Oman. In December 2007 the first Workshop on Global osteopathic approach was held at the Nasser Institute Hospital for Research and Treatment, sponsored by the Faculty of Physical Therapy, University of Cairo, Egypt. On 6 August 2010, the Egyptian Osteopathic Society (OsteoEgypt) was founded. OsteoEgypt promotes a two-tier model of osteopathy in Egypt and the Middle East. The event was timed to coincide with the birthday of A.T. Still.
So other than a lower admissions standard and the focus on a pseudoscientific belief system, there is no difference between the two educational systems. So why should this two-tiered system even exist? It is time to rid ourselves of this pre-scientific, dual system of medical education.
Among Free State leaders was Andrew T. Still, founder of osteopathy, whose theory of healing developed here.
The Master of Osteopathy is the only New Zealand-based programme that enables you to register with the Osteopathic Council of New Zealand, and to enter practice as an osteopath in New Zealand.
A.T. Still University of Health Sciences (ATSU) is a non-profit, private, graduate school focusing on health sciences, as well as the world's first osteopathic medical school. Founded in 1892 by Dr. Andrew Taylor Still, the school is based in Kirksville, Missouri, United States, with a second campus in Arizona. ATSU is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.
ATSU includes two campuses on 200 acres with six schools that offer residential programs in athletic training, audiology, biomedical science, dentistry,occupational therapy, osteopathic medicine, physician assistant studies, physical therapy, and online programs in health science, public health, and transitional doctoral programs in various health professions. ATSU is made up of the following schools/colleges:
Kirksville College of Osteopathic Medicine (Missouri - Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine, Master of Science: Biomedical Science)
Arizona School of Health Sciences (Arizona - Doctor of Audiology, Master of Science: Athletic Training, Master of Science & Doctor of Occupational Therapy, Doctor of Physical Therapy, Master of Science - Physician Assistant)
College of Graduate Health Studies (Distance Education - various health science degrees)
Arizona School of Dentistry and Oral Health (Arizona - Doctor of Dental Medicine)
School of Osteopathic Medicine in Arizona (Arizona - Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine)
Missouri School of Dentistry and Oral Health (Missouri - Doctor of Dental Medicine)Andrew Taylor Still
Andrew Taylor Still, MD, DO (August 6, 1828 – December 12, 1917) was the founder of osteopathy and osteopathic medicine. He was also a physician and surgeon, author, inventor and Kansas territorial and state legislator. He was one of the founders of Baker University, the oldest four-year college in the state of Kansas, and was the founder of the American School of Osteopathy (now A.T. Still University), the world's first osteopathic medical school, in Kirksville, Missouri.Chiropractic
Chiropractic is a form of alternative medicine mostly concerned with the diagnosis and treatment of mechanical disorders of the musculoskeletal system, especially the spine. Some proponents, especially those in the field's early history, have claimed that such disorders affect general health via the nervous system, through vertebral subluxation, claims which are demonstrably false. The main chiropractic treatment technique involves manual therapy, especially spinal manipulation therapy (SMT), manipulations of other joints and soft tissues. Its foundation is at odds with mainstream medicine, and chiropractic is sustained by pseudoscientific ideas such as subluxation and "innate intelligence" that reject science. Chiropractors are not medical doctors.Numerous controlled clinical studies of treatments used by chiropractors have been conducted, with conflicting results. Systematic reviews of this research have not found evidence that chiropractic manipulation is effective, with the possible exception of treatment for back pain. A critical evaluation found that collectively, spinal manipulation was ineffective at treating any condition. Spinal manipulation may be cost-effective for sub-acute or chronic low back pain but the results for acute low back pain were insufficient. The efficacy and cost-effectiveness of maintenance chiropractic care are unknown. There is not sufficient data to establish the safety of chiropractic manipulations. It is frequently associated with mild to moderate adverse effects, with serious or fatal complications in rare cases. There is controversy regarding the degree of risk of vertebral artery dissection, which can lead to stroke and death, from cervical manipulation. Several deaths have been associated with this technique and it has been suggested that the relationship is causative, a claim which is disputed by many chiropractors.Chiropractic is well established in the United States, Canada, and Australia. It overlaps with other manual-therapy professions such as osteopathy and physical therapy. Most who seek chiropractic care do so for low back pain. Back and neck pain are considered the specialties of chiropractic, but many chiropractors treat ailments other than musculoskeletal issues. Many chiropractors describe themselves as primary care providers, but the chiropractic clinical training does not support the requirements to be considered primary care providers, so their role on primary care is limited and disputed. Chiropractic has two main groups: "straights", now the minority, emphasize vitalism, "innate intelligence", and consider vertebral subluxations to be the cause of all disease; "mixers", the majority, are more open to mainstream views and conventional medical techniques, such as exercise, massage, and ice therapy.D. D. Palmer founded chiropractic in the 1890s, after saying he received it from "the other world", and his son B. J. Palmer helped to expand it in the early 20th century. Throughout its history, chiropractic has been controversial. Despite the overwhelming evidence that vaccination is an effective public health intervention, among chiropractors there are significant disagreements over the subject, which has led to negative impacts on both public vaccination and mainstream acceptance of chiropractic. The American Medical Association called chiropractic an "unscientific cult" in 1966 and boycotted it until losing an antitrust case in 1987. Chiropractic has had a strong political base and sustained demand for services; in recent decades, it has gained more legitimacy and greater acceptance among conventional physicians and health plans in the United States.Craniosacral therapy
Craniosacral therapy (CST) is a form of bodywork or alternative therapy using gentle touch to palpate the synarthrodial joints of the cranium. A practitioner of cranial-sacral therapy may also apply light touches to a patient's spine and pelvic bones. Practitioners believe that this palpation regulates the flow of cerebrospinal fluid and aids in "primary respiration". Craniosacral therapy was developed by John Upledger, D.O. in the 1970s, as an offshoot osteopathy in the cranial field, or cranial osteopathy, which was developed in the 1930s by William Garner Sutherland.According to the American Cancer Society, although CST may relieve the symptoms of stress or tension, "available scientific evidence does not support claims that craniosacral therapy helps in treating cancer or any other disease". CST has been characterized as pseudoscience, and its practice called quackery. Similarly, cranial osteopathy has no scientific basis for any claimed benefit.Des Moines University
Des Moines University is an osteopathic medical school in Des Moines, Iowa. Des Moines University is the second oldest osteopathic medical school and the fifteenth largest medical school in the United States. There are 14,124 total alumni (10,514 living).The university is accredited by the American Osteopathic Association's Commission on Osteopathic College Accreditation (COCA) and by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine
Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (DO or D.O.) is a professional doctoral degree for physicians and surgeons offered by medical schools in the United States. A DO graduate may become licensed as an osteopathic physician, having equivalent rights, privileges, and responsibilities as a physician who has earned the Doctor of Medicine (MD) degree. DO physicians are licensed to practice the full scope of medicine and surgery in 65 countries, and in all 50 US states. They constitute 11% of all US physicians. As of 2018, there were more than 145,000 osteopathic medical physicians and osteopathic medical students in the United States.DO degrees are offered in the United States at 35 medical schools, at 55 locations compared to MD degrees offered at 140 schools. Since 2007, total DO student enrollment has been increasing yearly. In 2015, more than 20% of all medical school enrollment in the US comprised DO students. The curricula at osteopathic medical schools are similar to those at MD-granting medical schools, which focus the first two years on the biomedical and clinical sciences, then two years on core clinical training in the clinical specialties.Upon completing medical school, a DO graduate may enter an internship or residency training program, which may be followed by fellowship training. Some DO graduates attend the same graduate medical education programs as their MD counterparts, and then take MD specialty board exams, while other DO graduates enter osteopathic programs, and take DO specialty board examinations.One notable difference between DO and MD training is that DO training adds 300–500 hours studying techniques for hands-on manipulation of the human musculoskeletal system, a system shared (in general but not all particulars) with chiropractic medicine.Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences
Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences (KCU) is a private, non-profit, graduate school for the health professions, with a main campus located on 23 acres in Kansas City, in the U.S. state of Missouri. Founded in 1916, KCU consists of both a medical school (College of Osteopathic Medicine) and a College of Biosciences.
KCU is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools and recognized by the Coordinating Board of Higher Education for the Missouri Department of Higher Education. The College of Osteopathic Medicine is accredited by the American Osteopathic Association's Commission on Osteopathic College Accreditation.Osteopathic medicine in the United States
Osteopathic medicine is a branch of the medical profession in the United States. Osteopathic doctors (DOs) can be licensed to practice medicine and surgery in all 50 states and are recognized to varying degrees in 65 other countries.
Frontier physician Andrew Taylor Still founded the profession as a rejection of the prevailing system of medical thought of the 19th century. Still's techniques relied on manipulation of joints and bones, to diagnose and treat illness, and he called his practices "osteopathy." By the middle of the 20th century, the profession had moved closer to mainstream medicine, adopting modern public health and biomedical principles. American "osteopaths" became "osteopathic medical doctors", ultimately achieving full practice rights as medical doctors in all 50 states, including serving in the United States Armed Forces as physicians.In modern medicine, any distinction between the MD and the DO professions has eroded steadily. Diminishing numbers of DO graduates enter primary care fields, fewer use osteopathic manipulative treatment (OMT), and increasing numbers of osteopathic graduates choose to train in non-osteopathic residency programs. An osteopathic physician (DO) is a fully licensed, patient-centered physician. DO has full medical practice rights throughout the United States and in 44 countries abroad.In the 21st century, the training of osteopathic physicians in the United States is equivalent to the training of Doctors of Medicine (MDs). Osteopathic physicians attend four years of medical school followed by an internship and a minimum two years of residency. They use all conventional methods of diagnosis and treatment. Though still trained in OMT, the modern derivative of Still's techniques, they work in all specialties of medicine. Discussions about the future of modern medicine frequently debate the utility of maintaining separate, distinct pathways for educating physicians in the United States.
Osteopathic medicine (ICD-10-PCS 7)