Founded by Andrew Taylor Still, MD, DO (1828 - 1917), Osteopathic Medicine utilizes these fundamental principles to enable the osteopathic physician to look at health and disease in a unique holistic manner:
- The human body tends to be self-healing and self-regulating.
- Structure and function at all levels of biologic organization are interdependent.
- Function of body systems depends upon the unrestricted flow of blood and nerve impulses.
- The function of the musculoskeletal system goes beyond that of bodily framework and support, by manifesting the abnormalities present due to disease.
- The equilibrium state of the human body is the state of health and preserving this state requires continuing biological adjustment.
Dr. Still's philosophy emphasized revolutionary concepts of his time:
- Medicine should study prevention as well as cure, treating patients not symptoms.
- The human body, in nature and function, is designed to operate as a perfect harmonious whole and disease in one part affects all other parts.
- The most important drugs are the ones produced within the human body and therefore are the most worthy of study.
- The human immune system may be stimulated naturally.
- Women and members of minority groups are equally welcome to participate in medical education.
Osteopathic physicians ascribe to the following tenets as stated in R.E. Suter's article, Our Osteopathic Heritage, in Student Doctor, vol. 13, pp. 10-15.
- First, we do no harm. We understand that thoughtful diagnosis must precede intervention.
- We treat the patient not the disease. When treating a patient, we consider all aspects of the patient's condition; the biological, psychological and sociological. We concentrate on patient outcome, not disease outcome.
- We look beyond the disease for the cause. We focus our treatment on causes rather than effects. We treat symptoms only when such treatment truly benefits the patient.
- We recognize that the body is subject to mechanical laws. When the body experiences structural and/or fluid imbalances, we help the body restore its mechanical integrity.
- We understand that the body is a self-regulating, self-healing system. When a disease strikes, we work to help the body restore its natural defenses. We then use preventive medicine and wellness concepts to help the body maintain its defenses. We recognize that this system reflects or accelerates diseases originating in other parts of the body. We use Osteopathic Manipulative Therapy as a treatment modality performing manual, non-intrusive interventions.
- We acknowledge the importance of the body's neuromusculoskeletal system. We recognize that this system reflects or accelerates diseases originating in other parts of the body. We use Osteopathic Manipulative Therapy as a treatment modality performing manual, non-intrusive interventions.