In the United States, there are 144 MD schools and 30 DO schools that graduate doctors in the practice of medicine. Various government data and statistics report the total number of physicians attending to patients roughly amount to 770,000 clinicians. Of this number, osteopathic physicians (DO) number about 75,000, which is roughly 9.7% of the overall total physicians in practice. Of the total number of DO physicians in the U.S. only about 5% practice Osteopathic Medicine the way it was originally intended by the founder of the profession, Andrew Taylor Still, MD.
Dr. Still opened the first osteopathic school in 1892. His intent in opening the first DO school was to teach medicine completely different from his MD training. His philosophy was to teach us to find the patient’s health, because “anyone can find disease.” In fact, disease is the endpoint of a long process of disorder, strain, and injury. To recover the patient and return them to health, we have to reverse that process and undo the strain or injury. His idea was revolutionary because it is the body’s design and balance that is responsible for health, that disease results when the body is constrained by injuries, strains and displacements.
The mechanically unrestricted body is balanced and efficient. Health is the result and susceptibility to disease is reduced. Many long suffering patients seek out doctors who understand this, but this philosophy of holism is not often put into practice. Of the roughly 75,000 DO physicians in practice, only about 3,700 of us in the United States practice Traditional Osteopathy. I call it the Lost Art because very little is written about how we actually treat patients. My mentor, Herb Miller, DO, was well known in our world. He never left any writings. I don’t believe I will ever write a manual on how this is done, it is too complex. I believe that I will follow his path and I will keep our professional and proprietary secrets hidden. However, I believe that patients all over the world who are still searching for answers, students and clinicians need to see a compendium of treatment effects and all the wondrous possibilities of this lost art..stay tuned.
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