About OSteopathic Medicine

Founding of Osteopathic Medicine

Osteopathic medicine is a distinctive form of medical care founded on the philosophy that all body systems are interrelated and dependent upon one another for good health. This philosophy was developed in 1874 by Andrew Taylor Still, DO, MD who pioneered the concept of “wellness” and recognized the importance of treating illness within the context of the whole body.  

Dr. Still believed that by correcting problems in the body’s structure, through the use of manual techniques now known as osteopathic manipulative medicine (OMM), the body’s ability to function and to heal itself could be greatly improved. He also promoted the idea of “preventive medicine” and endorsed the philosophy that physicians should focus on treating the whole patient, rather than just the disease. These beliefs formed the basis of a new medical approach, osteopathic medicine. Using this philosophy, Dr. Still opened the first school of osteopathic medicine in Kirksville, MO in 1892.

*History of Osteopathic Medicine adapted from the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine.

*Tenets of Osteopathic Medicine listed here as approved by the American Osteopathic Association House of Delegates.

Osteopathic Medical TRAINING AND CARE

There are two types of licensed physicians in the United States; osteopathic physicians (DOs) and allopathic physicians (MDs). Both graduate from rigorous medical school programs and complete residency training accredited by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME).

Osteopathic medicine includes all the benefits of modern medicine, including surgical, medical and psychiatric diagnosis and treatment, prescription drugs and other accepted forms of medical and surgical care. In medical school, DOs receive additional training in Osteopathic Manipulative Treatment (OMT), also known as Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine (OMM), to advance the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of illness.

Reflective of the osteopathic philosophy of treating the whole person, many DOs serve in the primary care fields: family medicine, general internal medicine, and pediatrics. There is also a long tradition of osteopathic physicians establishing practices in rural and medically underserved areas.


Today DOs provide comprehensive medical care to patients in all 50 states and have unlimited practice rights in more than 65 countries. There are more than 134,000 DOs in the United States representing a wide range of medical specialties, according to the American Osteopathic Association. This marks an 80% increase in osteopathic physicians over the past decade. Today, more than 25 percent of medical students in the United States are training to be osteopathic physicians.

In Ohio, there are more than 5,300 DOs, representing one of the fastest growing segments of healthcare professionals, according to the Ohio Osteopathic Association.

In Ohio, 28% of family physicians are DOs. DOs have a strong history of serving rural and underserved areas, often providing their unique brand of compassionate, patient-centered care to some of the most economically disadvantaged members of society.

For more information about DOs and the osteopathic profession, please visit:

American Osteopathic Association
American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine
Ohio Osteopathic Association