Osteopathic medicine is also based on a philosophy that treats and heals the entire patient, as opposed to a crisis-oriented approach. Osteopathic philosophy stresses the importance of the body’s own natural healing powers as well as the importance of the musculoskeletal system in general health. It is a truly holistic medical approach. Its founder, Andrew Taylor Still, was a Civil War surgeon who was discouraged by the overuse of medication during his day. He sought to develop a system of medicine that would restore the body’s own natural defenses.
Today, osteopathic physicians are trained and certified throughout the United States and practice many of the same medical specialties as allopathic physicians (M. D.s). Their method seeks to use holistic approaches first and then medical or surgical treatment when needed. Osteopaths (D. O.s) are doctors licensed to practice medicine and surgery, in much the same way as their medical doctor (M. D.) counterparts. In addition to their traditional medical training, they also learn the art and science of manipulation. Manipulation is a method of treatment whereby the physician uses a hands-on approach to ensure that the body is moving freely and its innate healing systems can work unhindered.