If you’re like most people, you’ve been going to a doctor ever since you were born and maybe weren’t aware whether you were seeing a DO (Osteopathic physician) or an MD (Allopathic physician).
There are two types of physicians in the U.S.. Both MDs and DOs are qualified physicians licensed to practice medicine, perform surgery, and prescribe medications. Applicants to DO and MD medical schools must have a four year undergraduate degree with emphasis in scientific courses. MD and DO graduates are then required to complete four years of medical education. Following graduation, MDs and DOs receive further education and training in internships and residencies. They both must pass similar examinations in order to be licensed.
Let’s talk about the uniqueness of osteopathic medicine. In 1874, Dr. Andrew Taylor Still developed a medical philosophy based on Hippocrates. That philosophy focused on unity of body parts and recognition of the body to heal itself. Still pioneered the concept of preventive medicine, exercise, and nutrition to maintain wellness and prevent disease. The difference between allopathic and osteopathic medicine is that DOs encourage their patients to take personal responsibility for their well being and to implement a healthy life style.
Osteopathic medical schools emphasize primary care practice. DOs adhere to the “whole body approach” by treating the body as an integrated whole. Osteopathic Medical Treatment (OMT) training is mandatory for all DO students. This treatment technique involves hands-on evaluation to diagnose injury and disease and facilitate the body’s tendency to attain optimum health and function.
The next time you see your doctor, look at his or her name tag. You might be surprised to see “DO.”
For further information, log on to the AOA website, http://www.osteopathic.org/Pages/default.aspx