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What is a Doctor of Osteopathy (D.O.)?

Osteopathic medicine is a unique form of American medical care that was developed in 1874 by Dr. Andrew Taylor Still, M.D. Dr. Still was dissatisfied with the effectiveness of 19th Century medicine. He believed that many of the medications and surgeries of his day were more harmful than therapeutic. Dr. Still was one of the few, medically trained in his time, to study the attributes of good health. He felt that with this different approach, one could adhere to a more effective and less invasive treatment of disease.
In response, Dr. Still founded a philosophy of medicine based on ideas that date back to Hippocrates. The philosophy focuses on the balanced unity of the body.  He identified the musculoskeletal system as a key element of health. He recognized the body’s ability to heal itself. He stressed preventive medicine, eating properly and keeping fit.
Arguably, Dr. Still pioneered medical “wellness” in America more than 125 years ago. In coordination with appropriate medical treatment, the osteopathic physician acts as an advocate for patients to take more responsibility for their own well-being and promote their patients to modify unhealthy aspects of lifestyle. Dr. Still is the pioneer in establishing manual techniques to promote healing in America. Mr. Palmer, the founder of chiropractics, owes its creation to Osteopathy. Dr. Still wanted his newly trained practitioners to be distinguished from their M.D. brethren by different initials, hence D.O., Doctor of Osteopathy.


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