Osteopathic Medicine was founded by Andrew Taylor Still, MD, DO on the principles that all aspects of a person contribute to, and are reflected by their state of health. The 4 tenets of Osteopathy are as follows:
1) The body is a unit; the person is a unit of body, mind, and spirit. This unity encompasses the complex interrelationships of all physiologic function. The fundamental difference between osteopathic and conventional training is this focus on unity of the organism, as opposed to breaking the body down into separate parts. Unity also provides a definition of health, in which all functions of the body are synchronized, coherent, and fully expressed.
2) The body is capable of self-regulation, self-healing, and health maintenance. The emphasis on self-regulation and healing is essential to the manual practice of osteopathic medicine, because medical treatment can then be oriented toward utilizing, supporting and helping to restore the mechanisms of self-regulation.
3) Structure and function are reciprocally interrelated. Osteopathy is based upon a thorough knowledge of anatomy (structure) and physiology (function). This understanding of the relationship between structure and function applies to molecular, cellular, tissue and gross anatomy. Osteopathic medicine applies this knowledge of structure and function in both the evaluation of tissue function and the practice of osteopathic manipulative medicine (OMM).
4) Rational treatment is based upon an understanding of above three principles. Whenever and however treatment facilitates the patient’s inherent vitality and health, this is, by definition, the practice of osteopathic medicine. Osteopathic principles are universal and provide a framework for the practice of all of medicine. The practice of hands-on treatment applies osteopathic principles in a direct, specific and unique way to relieve suffering and enhance healthy function.