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Understanding Osteopathic Manipulative Treatment (OMT)

The osteopathic physicians approach to healthcare is rooted in expanding scientific knowledge that embraces the concept of body-mind-spirit unity. Osteopathic principles and practice emphasize these tenets developed by the American Osteopathic Association:


  • The body is a unit; the person is a unity of body, mind and spirit.

  • The body is capable of self-regulation, self-healing, and health maintenance

  • Structure and function are reciprocally interrelated

  • Rational treatment is based upon an understanding of the basic principles of body unity, self-regulation, and the interrelationship of structure and function


Osteopathic Manipulative Treatment (OMT), as a medical procedure employed by an osteopathic physician, is part of a physical exam that is a health-oriented and patient-centered modality used clinically for restoration, enhancement and maintenance of normal physiological processes. Using OMT, the osteopathic physician detects somatic dysfunction, defined as impaired or altered functions of related components of the somatic (body framework) system. Examples of dysfunction include restricted motion, fixation of structures, compression of nerve/blood/lymph supply, and numbness and tingling just to name a few.


Clinical findings (i.e., history, labs, radiological tests, consults, etc.) are correlated with this unique type of physical exam to apply the best evidence-based medical treatments. OMT is not a remedy for all conditions and is not indicated in all clinical presentations, but it is a powerful ally to an osteopathic physician's medical insight to diagnose and treat patients. 


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