Osteopathic manipulative medicine

Also Known As: Osteopathic manipulative medicine, OMM, OMT, Osteopathic manipulation, Osteopathic Manipulative Treatment

Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine (OMM) is the application of the distinct osteopathic philosophy, structural diagnosis and use of Osteopathic Manipulative Technique (OMT) in the diagnosis and management of the patient. OMM takes into account the physical and mental health of a patient and how either aspect could be contributing to the disease state. A Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (D.O.) is trained to perform a structural diagnosis integrated into the entire history and physical taking process and to use OMT techniques when appropriate.

The osteopathic medical philosophy is defined as the concept of health care that embraces the concept of the unity of the living organism’s structure (anatomy) and function (physiology). These are the four major principles of osteopathic medicine:[5]

  1. The body is an integrated unit of mind, body, and spirit
  2. The body possesses self-regulatory mechanisms, having the inherent capacity to defend, repair, and remodel itself.
  3. Structure and function are reciprocally interrelated.
  4. Rational therapy is based on consideration of the first three principles.

These principles are not held by Doctors of Osteopathic Medicine to be empirical laws; they serve, rather, as the underpinnings of the osteopathic philosophy on health and disease.


OMT is only one component of Osteopathic Medicine. It may be used alone or in combination with pharmacotherapy, rehabilitation, surgery, patient education, diet and exercise with each playing an important role in treating patients osteopathically. OMT techniques are not necessarily unique to osteopathic medicine; other disciplines, such as physical therapy or chiropractics, use similar techniques.[1] OMT is commonly used to treat musculoskeletal problems such as lower back pain [6][7] and thoracic outlet syndrome,[8] but it may also be used as an adjunct therapy for other disorders like migraine[9] and pneumonia.[10

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