Dr. Mark LaBeau - Osteopathic Medicine in Carmel Valley, California
Osteopathic Medicine Is a Distinct Form of Medicine
Osteopathic medicine is a unique path to medical practice in the United States. Osteopathic medicine provides all of the advantages of modern medicine including prescription drugs, surgery, and the use of technology to diagnose illness and assess injury. It also provides the added benefit of hands-on diagnosis and treatment with a system of treatment referred to as osteopathic manipulative medicine. Osteopathic medicine focuses on helping each individual achieve a high level of wellness by concentrating on health promotion and disease prevention.
Doctors of Osteopathic Medicine, or DOs, are completely licensed physicians that work in all areas of medicine. Emphasizing a whole-person approach to treatment and care, DOs are taught to listen and partner with their patients to help them get healthy and stay well.
What Does It Mean to Be an Osteopathic Doctor?
When you believe in caring for people-- not patients-- decisions are easier. When you aim to take everything into account-- mind, body, and spirit-- you know you're doing it right. When you believe that wellness calls for a whole-body approach and prevention makes all the difference, you're ready for the future of healthcare. When you Select DO, you know you've found the best path.
What Does a DO Do?
Throughout the nation, DOs practice the full scope of medicine in all specialties of the medical field, from pediatrics and geriatrics to sports medicine and trauma surgery
DOs receive the same medical training as other doctors, along with 200 more hours of OMM training. OMM is a hands-on treatment used to identify and treat illness and injury.
OMM has been shown to be effective in treating a variety of injuries and illnesses. For instance, using OMM in treating patients with pneumonia has been found to shorten the length of hospital visits and complications associated with pneumonia.
DOs are trained to focus on the whole individual, working with patients to achieve high levels of wellness and disease prevention. DOs operate in partnership with their patients and are trained to consider the whole person.
They consider the effect that lifestyle and community have on the health of each individual, and they work to eliminate obstacles to good health. DOs are licensed to practice the full scope of medicine in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and other territories of the United States, as well as in more than 65 countries abroad.1 They practice in all kinds of environments, including the military, and in all specialties, from family medicine and obstetrics to surgery and cardiology.
DOs are taught to consider the whole person from their first days of medical school, which means they see each person as more than just a collection of organ systems and body parts that may become injured or diseased. This holistic strategy to patient care means that osteopathic medical students learn how to integrate the patient into the healthcare process as a partner. They are trained to interact with individuals from different backgrounds, and they are provided the opportunity to exercise these skills in the classroom and a number of other settings.
Tenets of Osteopathic Medicine
The American Osteopathic Association's House of Delegates approved the "Tenets of Osteopathic Medicine" as policy which abides by the underlying philosophy of osteopathic medicine. The tenets are:
- The body is a unit; the individual is a unit of body, mind, and spirit
- The body is capable of self-regulation, self-healing, and health maintenance
- Structure and function are reciprocally interrelated
Rational treatment is based upon an understanding of the fundamental principles of body unity, self-regulation, and the interrelationship of structure and function.
Strong Foundation in Primary Care
The osteopathic medical profession has a proud heritage of producing primary care practitioners. As a matter of fact, the mission statements of the majority of osteopathic medical schools state simply that their purpose is the creation of primary care doctors. Osteopathic medical tradition teaches that a solid foundation in primary care makes one a better physician, regardless of what specialty they may eventually practice.
Due to their whole-person approach to medicine, 57 percent of all DOs choose to practice in the primary care disciplines of family practice, general internal medicine, and pediatrics. The remaining 43 percent go on to specialize in any number of practice areas. DOs boast a strong background of serving rural and underserved areas, commonly offering their unique brand of compassionate, patient-centered care to some of the most economically disadvantaged members of our society.
In addition to studying all of the normal subjects you would expect student doctors to master, osteopathic medical students take about 200 additional hours of training in the art of osteopathic manipulative medicine. This system of hands-on procedures helps alleviate pain, restores motion, sustains the body's natural functions and influences the body's framework to help it operate more efficiently.
One crucial concept osteopathic medical students learn is that structure affects function. Therefore, if there is a problem in one part of the body's structure, function in that area, and perhaps in other areas, might be affected.
Another integral tenet of osteopathic medicine is the body's innate ability to heal itself. Many of osteopathic medicine's manipulative techniques are focused on reducing or removing the impediments to proper structure and function so the self-healing mechanism can presume its function in restoring an individual to health.
In addition to a strong background of providing high-quality patient care, DOs conduct clinical and fundamental science research to help advance the frontiers of medicine and to show the effectiveness of the osteopathic approach to patient care. Presently, a number of organizations are involved in osteopathic clinical research in coordination with the Osteopathic Research Center. Established in 2002, the Osteopathic Research Center (ORC) in Fort Worth, TX conducts and promotes research on the pathophysiological mechanism and clinical results of OMM. The facility works as a catalyst for creating and conducting multi-center, collaborative clinical research studies. Initial studies have focused on showing the effectiveness of OMM as it relates to numerous aspects of patient care.