Whole-Body Harmony: 3 Reasons to Switch Your Doc to a D.O.
by Ryan C. Bradley
When you had your last physical, chances are you didn’t notice the two letters after your primary care provider’s name. And those letters were most likely M.D., indicating a conventional medical doctor. But another option is becoming more common: D.O., or doctor of osteopathic medicine. D.O.s go through equivalent testing and board certification as M.D.s, but osteopathic medical schools claim to place more emphasis on holistic health and preventative medicine. The premise of osteopathy is that manipulating muscles and bones promotes structural integrity that could restore or preserve health. While according to the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine, only 7 percent of the physicians in the U.S. are D.O.s, the American Osteopathic Association reports that one in four medical students in the country is attending osteopathic medical school. (Full disclosure: My significant other is in her third year of an osteopathic medical school, and my pediatrician was a D.O.) Sooner or later, a D.O. is coming to a neighborhood near you, and you should consider if one is right for you. Here are a few things to know about D.O.s:
D.O.s prescribe medicines, recommend and perform surgeries, and use other conventional treatments, while employing OMT to augment or, if possible, to replace them. D.O.s specialize in all fields and while not all of them still practice OMT, learning how to manipulate different muscle groups—learning how to relax a whole person’s body by manipulating their feet—still leads to a greater understanding of how the human body works and, in turn, how to better treat their patients.
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