This year, 22 percent of medical-school graduates will have done their training in a college of osteopathic medicine and have the right to put the initials DO, for doctor of osteopathic medicine, after their names. By 2020, about 100,000 DOs will be in practice, making up more than 10 percent of physicians in the United States.
In most respects, the four years of medical-school training, internships, residencies, specialty training and board certification osteopaths undergo are identical to that for medical doctors, or MDs. But DOs also spend an additional 300 to 500 hours in the study of hands-on manual medicine and the body’s musculoskeletal system. According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, the osteopath’s “highly developed sense of touch allows the physician to feel (palpitate) the patient’s ‘living anatomy’ (the flow of fluids, motion and texture of tissues, and structural makeup).”
Perhaps the most significant difference, however, is in philosophy. A number of MDs have come to recognize the importance of holistic healing. For the osteopath, that belief and practice are institutionalized. As the American Osteopathic Association puts it: “You are more than just the sum of your body parts. That’s why doctors of osteopathic medicine practice a “whole person” approach to health care. Instead of just treating your specific symptoms, osteopathic physicians concentrate on treating you as a whole… DOs help patients develop attitudes and lifestyles that don’t just fight illness, but also help prevent disease.”
Unless you’re looking, you probably won’t notice a difference between the evidence-based medicine practiced by a DO — whether an internist, surgeon or oncologist — and an MD.
But this fast-growing group of physicians is, in effect, bringing Whole Health Healing, a major trend long-predicted by Gerald Celente, in through the front door of the medical profession.