The four tenets of Osteopathic philosophy are:
Osteopathic physicians are trained to see you as a whole person, not just a collection of organ systems and body parts that are injured or diseased. The Osteopathic philosophy considers the impact that lifestyle, community and all of your medical conditions and history have on your health. A Traditional Osteopathic treatment serves to to manage both acute and chronic medical problems. It empowers the patient to become the active catalyst in breaking down barriers to good health.
Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (D.O. or DO) is a professional doctoral degree for physicians and surgeons offered by medical schools in the United States. Holders of the D.O. degree are known as Osteopathic physicians and have the same rights, privileges, and responsibilities as physicians with a Doctor of Medicine degree (M.D.). D.O. physicians are licensed to practice the full scope of medicine and surgery in sixty countries, including all 50 states in the US, and make up 7 percent of the total U.S. physician population. As of 2011, 1 in 5 medical students in the United States were D.O. students. As of 2012, there were more than 82,500 D.O. physicians in the United States. You have probably already encountered several Osteopathic physicians as part of your medical care.
The curricula at Osteopathic medical schools is very similar to those at M.D.-granting medical schools. One notable difference in the education at D.O.-granting medical schools is the inclusion of 300 – 500 additional hours in the study of hands-on manual medicine and the body's musculoskeletal system. This training, referred to as Osteopathic manipulative medicine, is absent in the M.D. curricula.
Upon graduation from medical school, Osteopathic physicians enter internship or residency training programs, which may be followed by fellowship training. Many D.O. physicians attend the same graduate medical education programs as their M.D. counterparts, and then take M.D. specialty board exams, while other D.O. graduates enter Osteopathic programs and take D.O. specialty board examinations. Currently about 1% of Osteopathic physicians choose to practice Traditional Osteopathic Medicine.