Osteopathy, or osteopathic medicine, is a system of health care based on viewing the patient as a whole individual, rather than as a collection of various parts.
One of the distinguishing features of osteopathic medicine is the use of osteopathic manipulation (also known as osteopathic manipulative medicine (OMM) or osteopathic manipulative treatment (OMT).
Osteopathic physicians, or D.O.s, are fully licensed medical doctors, like M.D.s, able to prescribe medicine, deliver babies, perform surgery. They can specialize in all medical specialties, including family practice, cardiology, neurology, surgery, pediatrics, and so on.
Osteopathic theory focuses on the body’s ability to heal itself. A.T. Still, M.D., the founder of osteopathy, claimed that the role of the physician was to “find health.” He viewed the body as a self-regulating, self-healing organism that only needed to be given an optimum environment in which to thrive. The goal of the osteopathic physician is to promote such an optimum environment.