Osteopathy began in 1874 as a holistic and drug-less approach to health and disease. It is based on the idea that man is not a collection of parts but a synthetic whole imbued with spirit. A totality not reducible to the some of its parts. The body functions as a total unit and possesses self-healing and self-regulating mechanisms.
Osteopathy maintains that there is a reciprocal relationship between structure and function. Namely, that an alteration in structure (the musculoskeletal system) through injury will result in a change in function (an internal organ) and hence disease. Likewise, a diseased internal organ will result in an alteration in the musculoskeletal system.
The osteopathic physician, by his or her intimate knowledge of living anatomy can recognize, even on subtle levels, these deviations from normal and by the application of various manual maneuvers restore the structure and function and assist the inherent self healing powers of the body.
Currently, there are well over 70,000 osteopathic physicians and 26 accredited osteopathic medical colleges in the United States. For more information about the osteopathic profession, visit the website of the American Osteopathic Association.