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Osteopathic medicine (DO)

December 21, 2019

Osteopathic medicine emphasizes a philosophy
of treating patients in a holistic manner. In the United States, Doctors of Osteopathic
Medicine, or DOs, are fully licensed physicians who practice in all areas of medicine who
are trained to meet patients “where they are” and understand all of the things in
their life that contribute to their health. DO medical school programs incorporate this
approach while also developing the competencies in which all physicians are trained in the
U.S. Sometimes, medicine can focus on treating
an illness. Many patients may be given a diagnosis which
is a type of label, so that they can be sent to the appropriate specialty office to get
care. A person with recurrent skin abscesses may
get sent to infectious diseases, stomach pain goes to gastroenterology, headaches go to
neurology, and so on. At first glance, this seems like a convenient
way to manage patients, but often times the system falls apart. For example, the person with stomach pain
might also be dealing with severe anxiety, something that a gastroenterologist might
not be thinking about or feel comfortable managing. In theory, every medical professional should
be able to “think outside of their specialty box”, but in practice, the medical culture
of applying labels and then operating within those labels sometimes heavily influences
how clinicians solve problems. This approach also misses important opportunities,
because the absence of disease isn’t the same as maximizing a person’s wellness. For example, a person might not have hypertension
or diabetes, but they’d still benefit from a better diet and stress reduction habits
– both of which are strongly tied to well-being and happiness for years to come. Philosophically, osteopathic physicians are
trained to see their role as optimizing individual health and not just eliminating disease. Now, the four key tenets of osteopathic medicine
are that a person is made up of a mind, a body, and a spirit, that the human body is
capable of self-regulation, self-healing, and health maintenance, that the physical
structure and function of the body are interrelated, and that rational treatment and care should
be based upon these foundational concepts. One component of osteopathic medicine that
all DOs learn and many DOs utilize in practice, is osteopathic manipulative treatment sometimes
called OMT, which is when a DO uses hands-on techniques to diagnose, treat, and prevent
injury and illness by moving a person’s muscles and joints using techniques with different
types of pressure and resistance. These movements can help people of all ages
and backgrounds with back, neck, and other muscle pain, as well as with other problems
like carpal tunnel syndrome, migraines, and even asthma. In a lot of cases, osteopathic manipulative
treatment can be used to complement, or sometimes even replace, medications or surgery. DOs work in the full range of specialties,
everything from family medicine to oncology and orthopedic surgery and child psychiatry. DOs are trained with a strong hands-on, patient-centered
primary care focus, which gives them useful skills and a unique perspective, regardless
of whatever specialty they go into. In recent decades, the popularity of the field
has grown really fast and there are now about 90,000 DOs in practice in the US. Which is roughly 10% of the physician workforce. Also in the US, about 25% of incoming medical
students are enrolled in DO programs compared to MD programs, which means that the field
is going to grow really fast in the coming years. The process of applying to a DO program is
similar to an MD program – it requires getting solid grades, doing well on the MCAT, having
a well-rounded set of interests and experiences, and an interest in the philosophy of osteopathic
medicine. Osteopathic medical school is four years,
after which there are the same residencies as MD trained students, which are another
3-7 year depending on your specialty training. Alright, as a quick recap, osteopathic physicians
strive to help their patients be healthy in mind, body and spirit — not just be free
of their symptoms. They practice in all areas of medicine. And one technique that they can use is called
osteopathic manipulative treatment, which is when they move a person’s muscles and
joints using techniques with different types of pressure and resistance. If this philosophy and approach resonates
with you, then osteopathic medicine might be a good fit.


  • Reply L A August 21, 2017 at 9:07 pm

    (Not a DO) but there are plenty of people judging a profession on past treatments which are slowly being phased out due to lack of research. How about when patients were treated with mercury by MDs? Or this current day and the effectiveness of some orthopedic surgeries and some pharmacological therapies? Even to this day there is still some questions of efficacy within medical treatments… how about we worry about what's best for the patient and work toward that instead of carrying the prejudices of past generations…Thanks for the interesting video Osmosis team

  • Reply hello11111 August 21, 2017 at 11:06 pm

    Great video!

  • Reply xx9aznfaith9xx August 21, 2017 at 11:14 pm

    Out of curiosity (I'm from Quebec, Canada and here there are Osteopathy schools but they aren't really recognized as doctors), does that mean that after 4 years of DO school, they can apply to a surgical residency or say, radiology? (or would they not as they don't "believe" in surgery as a cure?" and can they prescribe medications at the end of their 4 year training?

  • Reply Ashleigh Keator August 22, 2017 at 12:40 am

    As a D.O. myself, I appreciate you bringing attention to the field. I feel like your video could have been broader though.

    Yes, D.O. Physicians have OMT. But most use our OMT as a adjunct to western medicine. For me, it is not a replacement for medications, but an alternative and adjunct. Most often I find chronic pain patients to benefit from omt. This does not mean I will not write for some other medication if they need it.

    A little background on osteopathic schools. DO schools are four years, like MD schools. Over these years we have to pass the boards just as MDs. COMLEX is the osteopathic test, but we may also take the USMLE. Both tests are recognized by osteopathic (DO) and allopathic (MD) residencies.

    In fact, in 2020, there will be no differentiation between osteopathic and allopathic residencies. They will all be ACGME certified and recognized as the same.

  • Reply Rexels Tom August 22, 2017 at 2:22 am

    1) The fact I've never seen this outside the United States makes me skeptical of it.

    2) The way this video sells them as wonder doctors who can do everything, fix you up with massages and are all about the patient (unlike the regular doctors?) is questionable.

    3) Incorporating a concept as ambiguous as "spirit" as an aspect of treatment is also weird, and this is coming from a Catholic.

    4) Isn't a "hollistic" approach what internists do?

    5) Can't an orthopedian learn to do the hand massage thing?

    Of course, zero disrespect meant for the DOs, I'm sure they are quite capable in their areas, but maybe this videos sells a slightly idealistic idea of their profession, at least to someone who practices in a country where there are none of them.

  • Reply Skyler Nicole August 22, 2017 at 2:33 am

    can you please do a video on turner syndrome! I have it and I know alot about it but your videos are so detailed I would love to see a turner syndrome video on your channel!

  • Reply Philippe Trottier August 22, 2017 at 6:44 am

    I hate to comment negatively on Osmosis which has otherwise been an exceptional resource for medical learning, but this whole video comes off more as paid-for advertisement than your usual well-researched and edited videos. Given the overwhelming positive spin, I'm assuming that the topic of DO is controversial and usually the opposite views are held? The whole "mind, body, _spirit_" thing makes it seem like it's not all scientific, to me…?

  • Reply Joe Buddha August 22, 2017 at 9:04 am

    Osmosis, I liked every video of yours till date expect this one. Got to disagree. Doesn't sounds scientific really. Hope others would agree too. I'm sorry for the dislike, I'm honest.

  • Reply Joe Buddha August 22, 2017 at 9:05 am

    I believe a video on homeopathic medicine would have sounded more reasonable.

  • Reply MrYesman43 August 22, 2017 at 12:06 pm

    It's pretty obvious Osmosis was paid to make this video.

  • Reply Bernardo Domingues August 22, 2017 at 10:26 pm

    2:50 I'd love to see high quality evidence from well designed randomized clinical trials on this, with blinding, allocation concealment and other strategies to minimize biases…

  • Reply Esha Deshmukh August 23, 2017 at 2:50 am

    Can you please add more videos to musculoskeletal system ,like rheumatoid arthritis ,etc

  • Reply James Meiling August 23, 2017 at 3:27 am

    Hi there! Actual medical student here who is currently attending an osteopathic medical school in the United States. I felt like Osmosis did a good job of describing what a DO is. Many people are commenting on this video without having even watched the video, which is sad and unfortunate. To expand upon what they already said, students in osteopathic medical schools receive the exact same medical training as those in non-osteopathic medical schools in the United States. We participate in research, do rotations at hospitals and clinics, take medical board exams (I took both the DO exam "COMLEX" and the MD exam "USMLE" and performed well on both due to study and hard work, like any medical student, whether MD or DO.) Yes, we do have the opportunity to learn osteopathic manipulative treatment (OMT) which, as the video states is a hands-on way of treating a patient and frankly it does help people. OMT is a tool on a physician's toolbelt of techniques that they can use to help a patient. DO's do not only use OMT, but it is one of the things we learn. Another criticism from the video is that many of you are mad about the line that "OMT can replace medications and surgeries." This is not to say that OMT replaces all medications and surgeries, but that the techniques we learn can relieve pain, improve a patient's breathing, help break down scar tissue, etc. Often times OMT is used in conjuction with medications or surgeries, as another way to treat patients simultaneously and help them to feel better. In addition, DO's learn to perform complex surgeries, do endo/colon/cystoscopies, prescribe medications, refer to physical therapy, etc, really all the techniques, skills and practices that they'll need according to their specific medical specialty. Once completing the 4 years of medical school, I will apply to medical residencies, like thousands of osteopathic students before me, the same residencies in fact that my friends who attend allopathic (MD) schools will apply to. These residencies, like the video explains, can be in any specialty and really any program as well. For those of you who think DO's are fraudulent physicians, I don't think that where my classmates who matched in PM&R at Harvard/University of Washington/UC Davis/UPMC/UT Southwestern, Neurosurgery at the Mayo Clinic and Internal Medicine at Yale (to name a few notable places) would say that these physicians are fraudulent doctors. Without knowing it, I'd say that many of you criticizing this profession have probably been treated by a DO or had a family member treated by a DO, and not realized it, whether it was in the hospital, the emergency room, urgent care, in a private practice clinic and maybe they were even your anesthesiologist during surgery. Please don't trash a profession that puts in years of their lives to help you stay healthy, well and alive. Do your research into the profession. See what the school's teach. Ask your local DO.

  • Reply Tobias Richards August 23, 2017 at 10:10 am

    Terrible that this group can call themselves physicians, is this just a cash-grab for Universities/Hospitals? – the most evidence OMT has is that it can provide short term MSK assistance with lower back pain, which also has its own risks associated. 'In some cases Hands-On Techniques can be used to replace medications or surgery', right rolls eyes*, 'moving muscles and joints can help with asthma', right *rolls eyes – pseudoscience? I cannot see how the medical field would take this seriously?

  • Reply Cussy Richards August 23, 2017 at 8:51 pm

    A lot of snobs in this comment section

  • Reply chunkyloverv August 23, 2017 at 11:45 pm

    "They hate us 'cause they ain't us" – AT Stills in 1962 as he resisted MD efforts to displace DO schools, upholding osteopathic tenets of compassionate whole-person healthcare and community service to meet healthcare needs and positively impact the delivery of healthcare locally and globally

  • Reply Rafiq August 24, 2017 at 12:01 pm

    If they are trained in 'manipulative treatment', how does it differ from a chiropractor?.. just curious

  • Reply Iskrem ! August 25, 2017 at 8:22 am

    But… how does it help?

  • Reply Nicole Pine August 26, 2017 at 12:20 am

    DO students go to four years of medical school, do a 3-5 year residency depending on specialty, and have to pass their medical boards. There is nothing "pseudo" about it. Fully licensed physicians with a little extra training in osteopathic manipulation is how I see them. I have worked with excellent DO doctors (and they are doctors) in the emergency department, family practice and in surgery. I find it interesting how the internet has given people the ability to speak so loudly and hateful about things they simply don't understand. This video is an attempt to educate. If you don't like the idea of being cared for by such highly trained professionals then it is your right to seek out whatever professional you feel comfortable with. To suggest that DO doctors are somehow less-than is unfair and incorrect.

  • Reply Josh Schroeder August 26, 2017 at 5:45 pm

    It's sad how many people are unwilling to accept the benefits of osteopathy. Just look at all those dislikes.

  • Reply ANSWER WORLD UNCENSORED August 27, 2017 at 5:38 am

    Osmosis …. make video like a snake bite and management, treatment of high altitude sickness……..

  • Reply BDNF14 September 12, 2017 at 12:08 am

    Cranial Osteopathy? Muscle energy? I'm a medical student at a traditional medical school (M.D.) in the U.S. We don't consider these as evidence-based medicine. Sure, some aspects of OMT maybe effective but there are definitely parts of OMT that are complete bogus and go against current understanding of physiology. Despite the overwhelming research and evidences to show that some aspects are no better than placebo, AOA (American Osteopathic Association) pushes DO medical schools to teach these. I have multiple friends who go to DO schools and they are all taught the same way. They are told, "You have to BELIEVE it to SEE it" Can you feel the muscle energy running beneath those fibers? can you feel the shift in the cranial bones AFTER that they have FUSED????

    I've seen great DO doctors. I've shadowed DO doctors and I don't mind working with them. What I mind is that AOA and some DO's are overly protective of OMT to a point that they treat OMT as their 'Holy Cow.' They won't accept evidence-based medicine and science to improve/reform their osteopathic education. Seeing AOA and DO schools forcing students to learn techniques that are proven to be bogus is plain and simple – institutional negligence.

    My personal feeling is that if you are willing to subscribe to a method of therapy that systematically ignores the scientific method (instead substituting case reports/folk lore/stories), then anything good that may come out of that is essentially fruit of the poisonous tree. I'd rather just stay away entirely.

  • Reply Kostas Katsaros September 12, 2017 at 5:27 pm

    Osmosis you let me down… You can't understand properly the biology of our body, the complex pathophysiology of dozens of diseases and at the same time speak about spirits and talismans, you simply can't…. Of course I agree that a physician should be concerned about the other problems of his patient, besides his speciality, this doesn't mean that every M.D. is a blind machine that fixes only the organ of his interest!!!

  • Reply Riceater88 October 7, 2017 at 5:10 pm

    I'm a DO student. Some OMT I feel could be beneficial as a complement to traditional medicine for patients with musculoskeletal pains (barring contraindications) but the primary benefit for me as a student is reinforcing anatomy knowledge which is nice since I want to specialize in surgery. Depending on the practice setting, many DOs will probably never even use OMT.

    The only real negative to being a DO is having to take both the COMLEX and USMLE in order to be competitive. Research funding is also lacking at many schools but that doesn't really seem to affect anyone's chances of getting competitive residencies because my school matches many students in plastics, neurosurg, derm, etc. every year.

  • Reply Dan W November 5, 2017 at 1:47 am

    So what’s the difference between OMT and chiropractic treatment?

  • Reply san sa December 26, 2017 at 4:14 pm

    Plz tel me some conditions where knee effusion present with negative patellar tap test

  • Reply T M January 31, 2018 at 5:39 am

    Anyone bashing in the comments section simply has this confused with Osteopathy, Naturopathic Medicine and / or some other form of Alternative Medicine.

    Osteopathic Medicine IS Western Medicine. It IS Allopathic (+OMT). It IS surgery. It IS medication. They ARE physicians. I knew A DO who was Chief of Surgery at a prestigious hospital and another who was Chief Attending in the ER. Not to mention all the other DOs I've seen in EVERY specialty across the spectrum from Family Medicine to Cardiothoracic Surgery.

    Do you really think they are going to let someone who spent 4 years learning to rub herbs over your chest to stop a heart attack into the OR to perform a CABG?

    Do some research people, you've probably been seen by a DO in your life and never even knew it…


  • Reply Alexander Chadwick February 11, 2018 at 11:00 am

    Can't conceive why the US has D.O. programmes and M.D. All doctors should be practising  medicine  in a compassionate manner that takes a biopsychosocial approach and the fact that Americans need to go to a special type of med school with added woo for this is ridiculous. In the UK, our programmes emphasise this properly and we also learn how to take a through history from the patient instead of needlessly relying on endless bloods and other investigations.

  • Reply Anureet Kaur March 7, 2018 at 7:12 pm

    Is USMLE necessary for applying to DO… please answer asap

  • Reply michele b. March 11, 2018 at 4:09 am

    Hi , I'm italian and study osteopath in a private collage school . When i finish the scool can I go in usa for working holiday with italian d.o. ( formed in 5 years full time ) ? Reply my quest please ! Thanks 🙂

  • Reply Shyam Vaidya April 15, 2018 at 4:34 pm

    Do Homeopathy..

  • Reply Abraxas June 16, 2018 at 4:32 pm

    Is there a science and research behind Osteopathic medicine?

  • Reply elia .07 July 7, 2018 at 1:34 pm

    Kudos on the video, sir!

  • Reply yousam khalaf August 18, 2018 at 7:02 pm

    So what's the different between osteopathic physiotherapy and osteopathic medicine ?

  • Reply Ej_ L September 9, 2018 at 10:23 am

    This is the kind of medicine im passionate about unlike practicing allopathy (western medicine).
    I value nutrition,health and wellness inside and out. I strongly believe that what we put inside our bodies impacts our physical and mental health.

  • Reply Beekeepers Palm Beach County February 22, 2019 at 6:47 pm

    This is BS! The ideas promoted in this video could not be more inaccurate! None of what is being described is Osteopathic Medicine. To the Author, read a book! Preferably one that was written by Dr. Still.
    This is the sort of propaganda which has led to the demise of Osteopathy!

  • Reply Jack Johnson March 17, 2019 at 3:29 am

    Always wanted to go to one, but they are hard to find. Usually far away from my home.

  • Reply Muneeb Khan September 19, 2019 at 10:42 pm

    This feels like family medicine with extra steps. Which is pretty great actually, we need better holistic care in the system even if I don't get why there needs to be a separate path for it

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