History of Osteopathic Medicine
The history begins with the advent of osteopathy by Andrew Taylor Still MD, born a native of Virginia who moved to the Midwest region as a young man. In 1854, Dr. Still, then a practicing allopathic physician in Kansas, became increasingly dissatisfied with the medical practices of his day. He developed a new theory of medicine which he called osteopathy. He based his new approach to health care on the concepts of body unity, the body’s inherent ability to heal itself given all the optimum conditions, and on the proper alignment and function of the musculoskeletal system.
VCOM takes pride in being the College that brought the philosophies of Dr. Still back to Virginia. Over the past 100 years, the practice of allopathic medicine (MD) has evolved and so has the practice of osteopathic medicine. Today, doctors of osteopathic medicine (DOs) serve the public with full medical practice rights utilizing all of the modern practices science has to offer in medical and surgical care while incorporating the concept of treating the whole person throughout the training. Osteopathic (DO) and Allopathic (MD) residents train side by side in hospitals throughout the U.S.
While osteopathic physicians practice the most up to date evidence based medicine approaches to medical care, they maintain that the patient-centered interview and the hands-on examination (palpation) is an essential part of making a diagnosis. In addition to being able to offer all of the well-recognized pharmacologic and surgical treatments, osteopathic medicine offers a strong commitment to prevention and health maintenance as the first priority and offers an additional treatment of manipulative medicine as an important therapeutic tool that can utilized by osteopathic physicians in alleviating pain, treating illness or injury, and in many cases avoiding invasive surgeries.