Osteopathy is a type of alternative medicine that emphasizes manual readjustments, myofascial release and other physical manipulation of muscle tissue and bones. Practitioners of osteopathy are referred to as osteopaths. Its name derives from Ancient Greek “bone” and “sensitive to” or “responding to”
Osteopathy may be effective for some types of neck, shoulder or lower limb pain and recovery after hip or knee operations, it acknowledges that there is no evidence that osteopathy is effective as a treatment for health conditions “unrelated” to the bones and muscles, “such as headaches, migraines, painful periods, digestive disorders, depression and excessive crying in babies (colic)”; an explicit reference to the claims of osteopathic manipulative medicine. Others have concluded that osteopathic style manipulation “failed to produce compelling evidence” for efficacy in treating musculoskeletal pain.
The government policy and legal framework in which practitioners operate vary greatly from country to country, with some having both non-physician osteopaths and medically trained osteopathic physicians. The practice of osteopathy began in the United States in 1874. The term “osteopathy” was coined by Andrew Taylor Still, MD, DO. Still was a physician and surgeon.
Andrew Still held a view common to early 19th century proponents of alternative medicine, supporting the idea that the body’s natural state tends toward health and inherently contains the capacity to battle any harmful threats to health in the body. This view was opposed to that of the orthodox practitioner, which held that intervention by the physician was necessary to restore health in the patient. The division between irregular medicine, also known as unorthodox medicine, and regular medicine that resulted because of these differing views was a major conflict for decades before still established the basis for osteopathy.
The foundations of this divergence may be traced back to the mid-18th century when specificity in physiology became the central study that pointed to the cause and nature of disease. Diseases began to be localized to organs and tissues, and doctors began shifting their focus from the patient to the internal state of the body.
Alternative medicine had its beginnings in the early 19th century, when gentler practices in comparison to Heroic medicine began to emerge. Homeopaths, Thomsonians, and Hydropaths practiced unconventional forms of healing that may have had strong appeal to patients due to their more attenuated practices. As alternative medicine grew to include more followers, orthodox medicine continued to rebuke and seek to invalidate the “irregulars,” as termed by the orthodox practitioners in Heroic medicine. As each side sought to defend its practice, a schism was presented itself in the medical marketplace, with both the irregular and regular practitioners attempting to discredit the other. The irregulars—those that are now referred to as Alternative Medicine practitioners—argued that the regulars practiced an overly mechanistic approach to treating patients, treated the symptoms of disease instead of the original causes, and were blind to the harm they were causing their patients. This is the medical environment that pervaded throughout the 19th century, and this is the setting that still entered when he began developing his idea of osteopathy.
In 1898 the American Institute of Osteopathy started the “Journal of Osteopathy” and by that time four states recognized osteopathy as a profession.
Treatment price for one home visit 350 000 IDR