By William H. Stager, DO, MS, MPH, FAAFP, FAAMA, FAAO, FACOFP dist.
Osteopathy is a philosophy, art and science of medicine and healing. It is an innovative “American Original” system of diagnosis and treatment. Its principles are simply profound and inclusive of the best of science and healing, aiming at the whole person: body, mind and soul. Originating 150 years ago in the United States, Osteopathic Medicine offers the best and most complete medical system in the world today.
Andrew Taylor Still, M.D., D.O. (1828-1917) founded this philosophy and medical science after the Civil War (he was an officer and a physician and staunchly defended the anti-slavery movement as well as such novel concepts as women’s rights and equality for all). His ideas, though not all unique in themselves, were revolutionary in that he incorporated them into the art and science of modern medicine, thus initiating a new and wholistic movement into the next century and beyond. He coined the word “osteopathy” from two Greek derivatives – “osteon” (bone) and “pathos” (suffering) – to signify a system of healing that recognized and treated the deepest (osteon) level of humankind’s suffering (pathos).
The osteopathic concept emphasizes four general principles, which are to be integrated into all of
medicine. These are:
• The body is a unit.
• The body possesses self-regulatory mechanisms.
• Structure and function are reciprocally inter-related.
• Rational therapy is based upon an understanding of body unity, self-regulatory mechanisms, and the inter-relationship of structure and function.
These principles are profound, elegant, verified by science, inclusive and integrateable into the most ancient and modern of health care systems. Today we take these concepts for granted, but they still stand true; and when used by today’s practitioners, make for the potentially best health care available.
In America, fully licensed physicians in all 50 states able to perform all specialties of medicine and surgery are either D.O.’s or M.D.’s. The D.O.’s (Doctor of Osteopathy) all have training in Osteopathic Manipulative Treatment (OMT), which is envisioned to be integrated into the diagnosis and treatment of most illnesses and injuries. Due to a wide variety of circumstances though, it is advisable to call your D.O. first if you are looking for OMT, as many do not do it. Also, some M.D.’s as well as a variety of therapists have taken courses in manipulation.
Osteopathic Manipulative Treatment (OMT), or rather, holistic osteopathic palpatory diagnosis and treatment is indicated for most injuries and illnesses. The manipulative techniques cover a broad range of treatments to aid and enhance in the diagnosis and treatment of every part of the body, its solids, fluids and energies. More advanced techniques combine body, mind, emotions and spirit – again, the ideal of treating the whole person. These techniques, when done correctly, are gentle, non-invasive and therapeutically efficacious.
• Osteopathic Manipulative Treatments range from:
• Very light soft tissue softening or stretching
• Strain counterstrain tender point treatment
• Myofascial release
• Isometric muscle energy release
• Visceral manipulation
• Lymphedema treatment
• Gentle joint release and realignment
• Cranial osteopathic treatments especially directed to the head, neck, jaw, and cerebral circulation
In my practice, I usually see new patients for about an hour, for an in-depth history and physical exam focused on their neuromusculoskeletal system, diagnosis, and begin treatment.
Subsequent visits are about 20-30 minutes, depending on the diagnoses and treatments. Usually patients are seen once a week to begin with, depending on their conditions; and as they improve, the treatments and frequencies will change accordingly. The healing process has so many variables that it is always difficult to predict who will feel what and when; and like all of medicine and in most of life, there are no guarantees; but I like to think that everyone is helped to some degree. OMT is for patients of all ages, from newborns to elderly. OMT is covered by Medicare and most insurances.
I am one of the few physicians in the USA to be AOBNMM board certified in Neuromusculoskeletal Medicine and Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine as well as AOBFP board certified in Family Medicine. I am trained in Medical Acupuncture through UCLA, Los Angeles, CA, and I enjoy integrating the best of those philosophies and styles in my practice to help my patients from many perspectives. I am on the faculties of two osteopathic medical schools, NSUCOM and LECOM, have been teaching OMT since 1986 all over the U.S.A., internationally, and continue to teach medical students, interns, and residents in local teaching hospitals.
William H. Stager, DO, MS, MPH, FAAFP, FAAMA, FAAO, FACOPF dist.
AOBNMM Board Certified: Neuromusculoskeletal Medicine and Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine
AOBFP Board Certified: Family Medicine
Clinical Professor, Dept. of Family Medicine, NSUCOM
Clinical Associate Professor, Dept. of Family Medicine, LECOM
Medical Director, Flagler Institute for Rehabilitation, Inc.
311 Golf Road, Suite 1100
West Palm Beach, FL 3307
Physician is a Medicare provider