According to the ‘General Osteopathic Council’ (GOC), osteopathy is a primary care profession, focusing on the diagnosis, treatment, prevention and rehabilitation of musculoskeletal disorders, and the effects of these conditions on patients’ general health.
Using many of the diagnostic procedures applied in conventional medical assessment, osteopaths seek to restore the optimal functioning of the body, where possible without the use of drugs or surgery. Osteopathy is based on the principle that the body has the ability to heal, and osteopathic care focuses on strengthening the musculoskeletal systems to treat existing conditions and to prevent illness.
Osteopaths’ patient-centred approach to health and well-being means they consider symptoms in the context of the patient’s full medical history, as well as their lifestyle and personal circumstances. This holistic approach ensures that all treatment is tailored to the individual patient.
On a good day, such definitions make me smile; on a bad day, they make me angry. I can think of quite a few professions which would fit this definition just as well or better than osteopathy. What are we supposed to think about a profession that is not even able to provide an adequate definition of itself?
Perhaps I try a different angle: what conditions do osteopaths treat? The GOC informs us that commonly treated conditions include back and neck pain, postural problems, sporting injuries, muscle and joint deterioration, restricted mobility and occupational ill-health.
This statement seems not much better than the previous one. What on earth is ‘muscle and joint deterioration’? It is not a condition that I find in any medical dictionary or textbook. Can anyone think of a broader term than ‘occupational ill health’? This could be anything from tennis elbow to allergies or depression. Do osteopaths treat all of those?
One gets the impression that osteopaths and their GOC are deliberately vague – perhaps because this would diminish the risk of being held to account on any specific issue?
The more one looks into the subject of osteopathy, the more confused one gets. The profession goes back to Andrew Still ((August 6, 1828 – December 12, 1917) Palmer, the founder of chiropractic is said to have been one of Still’s pupils and seems to have ‘borrowed’ most of his concepts from him – even though he always denied this) who defined osteopathy as a science which consists of such exact exhaustive and verifiable knowledge of the structure and functions of the human mechanism, anatomy and physiology & psychology including the chemistry and physics of its known elements as is made discernable certain organic laws and resources within the body itself by which nature under scientific treatment peculiar to osteopathic practice apart from all ordinary methods of extraneous, artificial & medicinal stimulation and in harmonious accord with its own mechanical principles, molecular activities and metabolic processes may recover from displacements, derangements, disorganizations and consequent diseases and regain its normal equilibrium of form and function in health and strength.
This and many other of his statements seem to indicate that the art of using language for obfuscation has a long tradition in osteopathy and goes back directly to its founding father.
What makes the subject of osteopathy particularly confusing is not just the oddity that, in conventional medicine, the term means ‘disease of the bone’ (which renders any literature searches in this area a nightmare) but also the fact that, in different countries, osteopaths are entirely different professionals. In the US, osteopathy has long been fully absorbed by mainstream medicine and there is hardly any difference between MDs and ODs. In the UK, osteopaths are alternative practitioners regulated by statute but are, compared to chiropractors, of minor importance. In Germany, osteopaths are not regulated and fairly ‘low key’, while in France, they are numerous and like to see themselves as primary care physicians.
And what about the evidence base of osteopathy? Well, that’s even more confusing, in my view. Evidence for which treatment? As US osteopaths might use any therapy from drugs to surgery, it could get rather complicated. So let’s just focus on the manual treatment as used by osteopaths outside the US.
Anyone who attempts to critically evaluate the published trial evidence in this area will be struck by at least two phenomena:
- the wide range of conditions treated with osteopathic manual therapy (OMT)
- the fact that there are several groups of researchers that produce one positive result after the next.
The best example is probably the exceedingly productive research team of J. C. Licciardone from the Osteopathic Research Center, University of North Texas. Here are a few conclusions from their clinical studies:
- The large effect size for OMT in providing substantial pain reduction in patients with chronic LBP of high severity was associated with clinically important improvement in back-specific functioning. Thus, OMT may be an attractive option in such patients before proceeding to more invasive and costly treatments.
- The large effect size for short-term efficacy of OMT was driven by stable responders who did not relapse.
- Osteopathic manual treatment has medium to large treatment effects in preventing progressive back-specific dysfunction during the third trimester of pregnancy. The findings are potentially important with respect to direct health care expenditures and indirect costs of work disability during pregnancy.
- Severe somatic dysfunction was present significantly more often in patients with diabetes mellitus than in patients without diabetes mellitus. Patients with diabetes mellitus who received OMT had significant reductions in LBP severity during the 12-week period. Decreased circulating levels of TNF-α may represent a possible mechanism for OMT effects in patients with diabetes mellitus. A larger clinical trial of patients with diabetes mellitus and comorbid chronic LBP is warranted to more definitively assess the efficacy and mechanisms of action of OMT in this population.
- The OMT regimen met or exceeded the Cochrane Back Review Group criterion for a medium effect size in relieving chronic low back pain. It was safe, parsimonious, and well accepted by patients.
- Osteopathic manipulative treatment slows or halts the deterioration of back-specific functioning during the third trimester of pregnancy.
- The only consistent finding in this study was an association between type 2 diabetes mellitus and tissue changes at T11-L2 on the right side. Potential explanations for this finding include reflex viscerosomatic changes directly related to the progression of type 2 diabetes mellitus, a spurious association attributable to confounding visceral diseases, or a chance observation unrelated to type 2 diabetes mellitus. Larger prospective studies are needed to better study osteopathic palpatory findings in type 2 diabetes mellitus.
- OMT significantly reduces low back pain. The level of pain reduction is greater than expected from placebo effects alone and persists for at least three months. Additional research is warranted to elucidate mechanistically how OMT exerts its effects, to determine if OMT benefits are long lasting, and to assess the cost-effectiveness of OMT as a complementary treatment for low back pain.
Based on this brief review of the evidence origination from one of the most active research team, one could be forgiven to think that osteopathy is a panacea. But such an assumption is, of course, nonsensical; a more reasonable conclusion might be the following: osteopathy is one of the most confusing and confused subject under the already confused umbrella of alternative medicine.
Had AT Still been sucessful in becoming a ‘regular’ doctor as was his father, he would probably still have come up with his idea of ‘osteopathy’, but applying a more rational approach would have moved on and developed it in line with medical science.
As it is he stuck with his implausible belief system.
In the US, osteopaths train in a manner comparable to MDs but then are also stuck with thir traditional methods, have not been able to progress and we see a dichotomy. Elsewhere this is more explicit.
I always ask osteopaths – “Why did you not train as a MD and then practice as you wish?” (Forgoing surgery if you think that is best for your patient).
I OFTEN DO THE SAME – AND THE ANSWER IS “I DID NOT MAKE IT INTO MED SCHOOL” [NOT REALLY, BECAUSE FEW ARE THAT HONEST/FRANK]. ONTHER ANSWER COULD BE “BECAUSE I HATE MEDICATION OF ANY TYPE” [BUT THAT APPLIES MORE TO CHIROS THAN TO OSTEOS, IN MY EXPERIENCE.
I think the GOC provides a description of Osteopathy, rather than a definition … and in the spirit of evolution, I think reasonable people would agree that this description served a purpose and was the result of genuine effort, and at the same time could be improved upon, as new understandings come to light, and as feedback is provided about the utility of this description.
For example, I have found these types of statements interesting … “seek to restore the optimal functioning of the body”.
The statement conveys the direction of a goal, but doesn’t provide an indication of the ability to reach that goal. I might seek to win the lottery, but the statement itself lends no information about the likelihood of me winning the lottery.
I think that the use of the word ‘strengthening’ could be confusing in this context, “strengthening the musculoskeletal systems to treat existing conditions and to prevent illness.”
Strength has a very specific meaning in musculoskeletal physiology, and to those outside the osteopathic profession. It is usually developed through resistance training. I’m not aware of any osteopathic techniques that result in an increase in strength per se (not withstanding the prescription of strength training exercises). I don’t think that the word ‘strength’ is used in this context, however, which is why it could be replaced with another word that brings more clarity to the intended meaning.
The other ideal expressed in this definition in that of holism, when it states that “This holistic approach ensures that all treatment is tailored to the individual patient.”
I think the opportunity exists to more accurately express the intended idea here too. As it reads now, the word “ensures” is certain, and the term ‘all treatment’ is optimistic. This would lend itself more to a vision statement for osteopathy than a description of osteopathy.
I think reasonable osteopaths would acknowledge that we can’t “ensure” that “all treatment” in osteopathy is holistic and tailored to the individual patient. Of course, this is dependent on what is meant by ‘tailoring’ and just how ‘tailored’ the treatment is.
This is a scientific question, not only for osteopathy, but for all health care interventions. For example, does a non-standardised, tailored approach to back pain provide the same outcomes when compared to a standardised, non-tailored, approach? And if there is a difference, (1) how large is that difference, (2) is the difference clinically relevant, and (2) what are the economics of each approach?
As an osteopath, I too have been frustrated over the years by the vague descriptions and debates about scope of practice. And I am not talking out of school here, because these issues have been publicly debated in numerous forums and publications. Obfuscation is a fair word to describe the writings of Still, and others. I read all of his books as a student – some I read a number of times and found myself ill-equipped to come to a full understanding of these texts. I also found the King James version of the bible difficult to read for the same reason. I think there are more lucid writers on osteopathy these days.
Still is an historical figure, and I view his writings as such … we have the advantage of a century worth of science to draw upon.
In relation to the articles you have highlighted, I read with interest those that quote prevalence data for somatic dysfunction. The quality of this data depends entirely on having measures or tests of somatic dysfunction that are both reliable and valid.
A search of the literature across osteopathy, chiropractic and physiotherapy will reveal that many of these physical examination tests have not been found to be clinically reliable, or only marginally reliable. In addition, most measures have not been assessed for validity, and so we simply do not know if they are valid.
So, I must take prevalence data about somatic dysfunction with a grain of salt, because I do not know if the measures are reliable or valid.
For the scientist looking at osteopathy, I wholeheartedly agree with you. It is a confusing and difficult area to summarise and investigate. For the osteopath-scientist it is also a confusing and difficult area to research, and I find myself admiring those who put in the significant effort required to not only conduct good quality research, but go through the publication process as well.
Whatever one thinks about the current situation in osteopathy, agreement will be found in acknowledging that a much better situation could exist. For this much better situation to exist, the profession must continue to demonstrate increasing critical reflection, integration of new findings, and also take into consideration the constructive ideas of others outside the profession who have valuable insights to share.
Or, acknowledge the shortcomings, move on from osteopathy, encourage enthusiastic intending students to enter physiotherapy, nursing medicine or another walk of life.
Many people are unable to do exactly what they want in a career, but do not spend years trying to force that which they do into the mold of another.
Doctors who would like to be surgeons but for some reason are unable to, move on to another field of endeavour.
What is it about osteopathy (and chiropractic) which prevents this evolution?
Answer: ‘Belief in the teachings…’
Not very scientific.
Richard….really???….best you stick to commenting on things like AFL.
While general debate about effectiveness of various osteopathic methods is needed I am here to say my neck was destroyed by an osteopath here in Melbourne 4 years ago 2010 using the High velocity Thrust Low Amplitude manipulation technique. He was negligent taking my C1/C2 joint into full lock and beyond with a left rotation causing serious damage to the left facet joint capsule and later, as he continued to treat me, further damage to other O.A.A. ligaments. My C1 vertebrae is now permanently destabilised causing horrific endless pain flooding into my head. I have tried nerve block injections into the C1 facet joint with temporary relief lasting for only 2 weeks, then a neurostimulator implant which became reactive through an allergic reaction most likely to the polyurethane cover of the leads and had to be removed. I am now waiting to find a surgeon who will perform a fusion operation at C1/C2 to save my life. I had no neck or head pain, my neck only felt tight. I was seeing the Caulfield Melbourne osteopath for L4/L5 disc damage trying to avoid a lumbar fusion operation. I have started a campaign here in Victoria to have it banned as a neck manipulation method which I know most doctors and surgeons will gladly support. Regretfully this particular osteopath paid all my medical expenses for the first 2 years while urging me not to place a claim in but then lied to his insurer saying I was always like this when I had to place a claim in as I can no longer earn a living due to the damage he caused to my spine. The legal negligence laws in the state of Victoria were changed about 7 years ago to make it harder for victims to gain compensation, based on an American system, in order to boost the profits of the insurance companies after they lobbied the government to protect them from negligence claims. So the only course of action I can take is to get it banned. I have just started a site http://www.neckdamage.org and hope to gain support from the various medical associations here in Australia. High Velocity Thrust Low Amplitude neck manipulation destroys lives. All the best Chris Morgan.
Hi Chris. You may want to expand your website to include cervical fusion surgery. A patient of mine missed out on Xmas this year as he spent it in hospital after a cervical spine fusion procedure “went wrong”. The sad thing is that he has permanently lost the use of his whole body and will never be able to play with his children, or hold them, or anything that involves the use of his arms and legs. he would start his own protest website, but he can’t type. I think he would want “cervical spine fusion surgery” on your list of “don’t do’s”.
I hope you find a good Neurosurgeon to help you with your condition. I would recommend the one that treated my patient, but this experience has led me to believe he may not be trusted. Especially since he is absolving himself completely from any responsibility for the poor result as he felt his procedure was successful but the after care faked him.
I wish you luck with your website.
“For the osteopath-scientist it is also a confusing and difficult area to research”
Surely ‘osteopath-scientist’ is an oxymoron?
The fundamental attitude in science is scepticism. The fundamental attitude in osteopathy is belief in osteopathic philosophy. Osteopathic research does not aim to find the most effective treatment. It aims to show that osteopaths are better than everyone else.
Thank you Nick, for your informed and considered response.
Eds comment previous to yours demonstrates that he is the king of denigration and provocation rather than information.
I’m sorry, I don’t understand the point of this piece. Are you claiming that osteopaths perceive OMT as a cure-all? (Because the links you list refer only to back pain/function and Type 2 diabetes mellitus, and the conclusions appear to be rather conservative.) Are you saying that osteopathy is badly defined? (I tend to agree and I understand that this is a subject of active debate within the professions—US and non-US.) Is the implication that osteopathy is therefore not credible? (Why? Because they’re bad communicators? Because the scope of practice is ill-defined?) Are you complaining that osteopaths use lay language to convey jargon to lay audiences? Is the aim to discredit Licciardone et al.? Is it simply a rant against osteopathy? What are we to think of such a confused and confusing article?
As I understand it the article is asking; What is osteopathy? What do osteopaths believe? What do osteopaths treat? is there any evidence that it is effective?
To me these are all valid questions. The trouble is that even osteopaths cant agree on an answer. Hence the appearance of vagueness and obfuscation to anyone outside the profession.
The fundamental problem with osteopathy is that some of the ideas it was originally based on have turned out to be wrong. AT Still believed that disease is caused by misaligned anatomy and that restoring perfect structure can cure disease (as described in Stills biography by John Lewis). This idea became increasingly implausible through the twentieth century. Osteopathy should have acknowledged the mistake and moved on. it didn’t because of the dogmatic beliefs of purists. Instead the profession brushed the dafter ideas under the carpet and continued to proclaim that Still’s philosophy is timeless and eternal.
The upshot is that osteopathy is in a philosophical mess. It has failed to replace conventional medicine as it was intended to do. It is lumbered with a philosophy that provides a weak explanatory model of health. No one seriously believes that osteopathy is an effective cure for all disease any more but osteopaths do not want to be seen as the same as mere physiotherapists who treat MSK injuries. Most osteopaths do not understand the need for research because confirmation bias maintains the belief that osteopathy is superior to any other form of treatment.
Hope that helps.
I realize this is an old thread, but as a highly skeptical Osteopathic Medical student in the USA, I can probably help explain some of this. As far as the US is concerned DO(Doctor of Osteopathy), is really a philosophical distinction at this point. There was a large emphasis on evidence based practice in early osteopathy versus the age of heroic medicine. But this distinction is artificial construct. Basically the push for humanism in modern MD programs is allegedly something we already practice in ostropathic medicine.
We are unfortunately expected to learn for examination and licensure purposes some extremely questionable quackery(cranial osteopathy comes to mind), but that is a vestige of history more than a reflection of current practice. Yes it is embarrassing, but ultimately it is a means to an ends for most students.
The lack of rigorous research is disturbing as well. Feel free to email me if you have more questions, I can probably at least direct you to more information.
“According to the ‘General Osteopathic Council’ (GOC), osteopathy is a primary care profession”
I have never understood how osteopaths can justifiably claim to be ‘primary care practitioners’. Surely that title implies that the practitioner can refer patients directly for secondary (ie hospital) care. The vast majority of UK osteopaths work in private practice and do not have access to NHS services. If an osteopath wants a patient to see a hospital specialist they need to send that person to their GP (the primary care practitioner) who then makes the decision whether a secondary referral is required.
Osteopathy is a very insular profession. Being badly integrated into the healthcare system is the price that osteopathy pays for continuing to believe in nineteenth century philosophy.
“God is the Father of Osteopathy and I am not ashamed of the child of His mind.
Osteopathy is to me a very sacred science. It is sacred because it is a healing power through all nature.
The work of the Osteopath is to adjust the body from the abnormal to the normal; then the abnormal condition gives place to the normal and health is the result of the normal condition.
The fundamental principles of osteopathy are different from those of any other system and the cause of disease is considered from one standpoint, viz.: disease is the result of anatomical abnormalities followed by physiological discord. To cure disease the abnormal parts must be adjusted to the normal; therefore other methods that are entirely different in principle have no place in the osteopathic system.
The rule of the artery is absolute, universal, and must be unobstructed or disease will result.”
Andrew Taylor Still
well said Andrew!!!
“Disease is the result of anatomical abnormalities” This was AT Stills eureka idea. It is the first principle of osteopathic thought; structure governs function. This idea was intended to revolutionise medicine.
Unfortunately it turned out to be wrong.
Unsurprisingly many osteopaths now deny that AT Still believed this. I guess it helps to preserve their self image of being science based health care practitioners.
Osteopaths who are in denial that this was Still’s concept should be reported to the GOC as being unfit to practice osteopathy.
If they do not understand what osteopathy is, they are not fit to practice osteopathy and should not be registered by the GOC.
If they practice ‘manipulation’ without understanding (and accepting) Still’s approach they should qualify and register as physiotherapists under the HPC or doctors under the GMC.
It’s a long way to Antonovsky…
It looks like the Tenets of Osteopathic Medicine nowadays are slightly different somehow.
and after reading this I believe in the wonderful wisdom of my grandmother:
“Zeit heilt alle Wunden” (time heals all wounds).
But to understand it one might read Antonovsky on salutogenesis and that’s quite different from European/Commonwealth osteopathic manipulators pseudoscience:
e.g in German on:
what keeps human healthy?
You may be interested in our complaint to the ASA about chiros claiming to be primary healthcare practitioners and similar.
We can’t win them all… – The Nightingale Collaboration
We lost (the first time ever!), even though I thought we’d put together a strong case, but we’ll need to return to it in the future. The crux of the matter is what the phrase actually means…
Looks like my gmail accidentally updated me to this old post.
My comment still stands.
So, I seem to always write in on these. I am a DO in the US, currently in residency. Osteopathy is in the states simply a secondary path to practice medicine. There is training in manipulative medicine, otherwise, most DOs do not practice manipulation. Understanding the era of AT Still is probably more important. That the European osteopaths, instead became a sort of chiropractic oddity is interesting from a historical perspective. He advocated practice of medicine to be scientifically based, but then also advocated for manual medicine and for things that he could not prove. There are apologists for Still, but he is a mixed figure who was part showman, part doctor. At a time where much of US medicine was practiced by people without any standardized training, there was something to be said for someone that was preaching an approach that recognized the cure was often worse than the disease. This is a very complicated topic Dr. Ernst; that being said, what you said above is not fundamentally wrong and an excellent criticism.
Unfortunately, the osteopathic medical profession in the US is a shield that is too often used to hide pseudoscience, and general nonsense. From chakras to healing crystals, and cranial manipulation to heavy metal chelation, it seems that it is used as a way to bring medical legitimacy to things that are ineffective or dangerous. Even in my residency program, I have witnessed some of these being practiced by people who should just know better. In any case, the fight to fix this is a slightly different fight. As always, your posts are fun reads.
Please unmask A.T. Still’s life and tell the truth about US osteopathic history before it changed to modern medicine.
There are a few of such osteopathic physicians D.O who sell alternative quack in the Commonwealth and in Europa and in Asia using their U.S. achieved D.O. title. They all relate it to the history of a “Dr. A.T. Still M.D.” (he never was a medical Dr.) and they make lot of money with their titles by doing so.
Because of the decline of OMM in the US the walking stick of A.T. Still was handed over from US osteopathic officials to the former Dean of the the ESO in England a few years ago. Why? Because osteopathic manipulators in England were the first to achieve a B.Sc.or M.Sc (ost) for OMM.
So telling the truth about the camouflaged history of this illustreous A.T Still who is the God itself in Osteopathy is a first step next to tell the truth about the history of osteopathy and the big changes after the Flexner Report and the ongoing chanches to evidence based medicine.
There is a little hope for change in Europe if the pseudoscience of European and Commonwealth osteopathic manipulators will com under pressure by science from outside. You might help to tell the truth to US osteopathic physicians about European osteopathic quackery.
As long as this enlightenment from outside is not happening they create their own “Scientific World” with “Wittgensteinschen Sprachspielen” (language games of Wittgenstein) mixing up scientific words with esoteric approaches to disturb others with their secret language.
Masking of what you are really doing is always an essential part of magic politics and religion and in alternative medicine like European / Commonwealth osteopathic trainings.
Hi European/Commonwealth Osteopathic Manipulators!
Why don’t you cry out loud…
Welcome back Anton Mesmer!
Welcome back Magnetic Healing!
Are Osteopathic manipulators in the Commonwealth and in Europe on the way back to Magnetic Healing (another word for Reiki?)
Are European / Commonwealth Osteopathic Manipulators guided by Alain Croibier, Jean Pierre Barral, James Jealous and Alain Abehsera (he advertised osteopathic distance healing). ???
Nowadays learning “European and Commonwealth Osteopathy” you can’t separate VM Visceral Manipulation or “Visceral Osteopathy” from Craniosacral and vice versa. Both are considered as core or essential subjects of the local European and Commonwealth “osteopathic” trainings.
VM and Craniosacral more and more are focussing on trauma healing.
Trauma healing is considered as part of the all over soft tissue manipulation and as essential for European / Commonwealth Osteopathic manipulator’s osteopathic trainings and schools.
Magnetic healing was the first officially advertised profession of A.T. Still and with the decline of magnetic healing and no longer advertising as such he advertised as Dr. A.T. Still lightning bone-setter on his first business card. Later he founded the artifical word “osteopath” a crude Latin translation of the word “bone-setter” that Still used on his first bussiness card.
He opened his School for bone-setting renamed into “Osteopathy” in Kircksville Missouri in 1892. This school nowadays became “A.T Still University of Health Sciences” teaching evidence based oriented medicine and has nothing to do with the European / Commonwealth oldfashioned osteopathy.
This term “osteopathy” has nothing to do with the common medical term of diseases of a bone.
A.T. Still a former hospital servant (Lazarettreiniger in German) during the US Civil War considered himself as a mechanic and was listed officially as a mechanic in the US census of population after the end of US Civil War although he only had visited a course in molinology (Mühlenkunde in German).
He had no real profession until he advertised himself officially as “magnetic healer” in 1974 having learned magnetic healing from a magnetic healer nearby who was running an infirmary for magnetic healing already in those times. (D.D.Palmer learned the same probably from the same person).
There are no records or documents in the US Army register of serving surgeons in the time of the US Civil War about a surgion named A.T. Still although this documents are very precise.
Besides being a hospital servant A.T. Still never had a medical training or was educated by a licensed physician which would have allowed him to name himself a Doctor or a M.D. under the exceptional regulations of the frontier areas in those times even without any training from a medical school. His father was a methodist circuit rider without any medical training or licence. A.T. Still’s brother J.M. Still M.D. achieved a M.D. in 1864.
But after officially being a mechanic and later a magnetic healer A.T. Still suddenly named himself a Dr. and lightning bone-setter on his business card for a short time until he created a teaching program for bone-setting and renamed it into Latin as “osteopathy” in 1882.
European / Commonwealth osteopathic manipulators nowadays more and more seem to come back to the roots of magnetic healing (vitalism iatromechanic and theories of free masonry and drugless healing) for different reasons. (A.T Still was accepted as a member of the free mason loge in Kircksville only by a one vote majority six days after his father a Methodist circuit rider died.)
The reasons could be:
1. direct old Thure Brand Massage “invented” around 1980 and renamed as “Visceral Osteopathy” with hard grips around the abdominal area is very dangerous and has a risk to cause internal bleadings.
2. It is clear that such a modified Thure Brandt Massage / Viceral Osteopathy / VM has no evidence for healing any medical known diseases. So the risks are higher than the benefits.
3. Since times when touching each other have passed away and if you are alone it might be a nice experience to be touched on the belly when nobody else touches you. People pay even for that.
4. Soft tissue or connective tissue became the new anatomic substance for an osteopathic pseudoscientific and esoteric whole body approach since a former Feldenkrais practitioner Rolfer and psychologist studied biology and did his doctorate for Dr. rer. nat. on this connective-tissue. http://www.fasciasymposium.co.uk/speakers/robert-schleip/ He is running his own courses http://www.fasciaresearch.de/Schleip_TrainingPrinciplesFascial.pdf
5. Nowadays the market for traumatology is endless and after Paul A. Levine published his books on trauma healing https://traumahealing.org and a lot of non medical persons are interested in SE and everybody starts to interprete everything as a trauma because people or their ancestors in Europe they all had “traumata” in their lifes.
6. Considering “traumata” related to VM or Craniosacral nowadays that’s nearly for everything. (Next to visceral osteopathy there are groups if SE Somatic Experience anf very often “osteopaths” join this training as well.
7. Soft touch is the better way to advertise than “crude and dangerous” Osteopathic or Chiropractic Manipulative Medicine (nowadays the do the same trainings in high velocity low amplitude techniques muscle energy and long lever techniques).
8. The osteopathic schools and teachers are interested in increasing their income by expanding the amount of study hours for scholars to achieve an osteopathic license. They are behind to fix such standards via Government’s decisions as it was in Hessen/Germany and as it is in Switzerland.
9. Therefore techings in VM coveres between a third up to a half of the total amount of hours in teaching of European/ Commonwealth Osteopathic Manipulators (OMM training in US is done only with a few hundred hours). Otherwise it is nearly impossible to argue for such an amount of training hours like in France or Switzerland.
10. The European Osteopathic Associations want to rise the hours of training of European Osteopathic Manipulators too up to the amount of hours of a physician’s training in university incl. practical and this cannot be done without the huge amount of hours spending in VM trainings.
11. B.Sc. and M.Sc. need a certain amount of credit points and next to the titles B.Sc. (ost) and M.Sc. ( ost) that’s a very good argument to put pressure onto the Governments and the EU to legalize a profession as “Osteopath” all over Europe. (The US osteopaths succeeded with this tactic after the pressure of the US Government reacting on the results of the Flexner Report published by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching in 1904. (But nowadays osteopathic physicians are very different from European/Commonwealth osteopathic manipulators.)
So putting all of this arguments together osteopathic traumatology (the new name for VM and Craniosacral nowadays) it’s the reason for why osteopathy in Europe became a very successful social movement. It contains theories about “interconnective tissue and trauma via physical intragenerational transgenerational prenatal perinatal freezing in the cells and tissues and mainly the brainstem theories of energy cysts and trauma cysts in the tissue which one should palpate and balance”
I have advertisements about postgraduate (D.O. or B.Sc. or M.Sc. (ost) ) osteopathic courses named “Palpating THE cell” !!! :-)” and “prenatal trauma in osteopathy” or “osteopathic treatment of the Down Syndrom
🙁 Reading this I couldn’t believe the audacity of such quacks.
The core of such a pseudoscientific and esoteric VM and Craniosacral approach is the opinion that first you have to resolve such “tissue inherent remebering of a traumata” by manual osteopathic soft touch or osteopathic no-touch but being present treatment or even by distance healing before you can really recover from surgery, cancer, infectious diseases, illness and what so ever. (Most of such “osteopaths” are not against such medical approaches but in their opinion any medical intervention needs their osteopathic touch additionally either before or after as well).
E.g. A few weeks ago a Canadian Osteopathic Manipulator D.O. from Quebec argued against an epidural in babies for hernia surgery because this “would cause a severe trauma to the midline of the body” and therefore he suggested only local anesthetics in babies for hus clients. As I explained to him why epidural is the best medical standard in babies to prevent traumata he told me that I should read the Canadian books of osteopathy to believe him but I stopped talking to this bloody quack.) If such European / Commonwealth osteopaths are against medical standards they are just as bad as homeopathy.
It seems as there is always a need for a “trauma treatment” to be done before or after a medical intervention in Somatic Experiencing and in “Osteopathy” as well.
So everybody at any time for any reason should have an osteopathic treatment. (e.g. babies with sectio because they were traumatically forced to come out babies without sectio because they had traumatically pressure on the head and so on there is always a good reason for “osteopathic” hands on…
Isn’t that an extraordinary marketing?
And all of this trauma healing is done just by soft-touch or by not touching at all (distance-healing included)
If you look at how the the German health insurances react since 2012 as the BVA Bundesversicherungsamt (The BVA is regulating the health insurances) allowed them to cover “Osteopathie” optionally for marketing reasons You might consider this as a social movement of alternative quack and as a movement much more effective than homeopathy but just as dangerous for the health.
Please help to observe and unmask this Trojan horse of pseudoscience camouflaged as evidence based osteopathy.
Remember the age of enlightenment went on to evidence based medicine nowadays and the times of Romantic Medicine are over … really?
Sorry for spelling errors and other mistakes in my comment above because of iPhone4 small typing fields whilst being on a train.
The School of Osteopathy opened in 1892 and not in 1882.
The Flexner Report was published in 1910 and not in 1904.
In the county Hessen/ Germany there was a certain amount of hours fixed by the “Ministerium für Soziales und Integration” via “Verordnung” and named as “Weiterbildungs- und Prüfungsordnung Osteopathie” to be allowed to call oneself an osteopath in Hessen as a non physician but only physicians and Heilpraktiker/naturopaths were allowed to practice manual osteopathic treatment.
Sorry again for mistyping A.T. Still advertised himself as “magnetic healer” in 1874 and not in 1974 🙂
As far as I found the term “osteopathy” originates in 1892 when A.T. Still opened his school and not in 1882.
I posted some details above of A.T. Stills life to correct false informations from other posts above.
A.T. Stills real life is camouflaged until today for several reasons by story telling. It has to do with the history of osteopathy in the US until now.
If you look onto the webpage of the new A.T. Still University of Health Sciences there is no critical comment about osteopathy’s history and you might think that there was always an University of evidence based medicine since the beginning.
But in the beginning it was a School figthing against medicine then a College that changed from drugless healing to medicine and now it is an University of evidence based health sciences.
The real life of A.T. Still is very different from the official story telling which fits much better into the corporate identity of osteopathic physicians D.O. nowadays.
1) Story: Dr. A.T. Still M.D.
Facts: Besides serving as a hospital servant during the Civil War he never achieved any medical training to become a doctor not from his father and not from a medical school or from another M.D or doctor.
2) Story: A.T. Stills father was a doctor and trained his son to become a physician.
Fact: A.T. Still’s father was a Methodist circuit rider in the frontier area of Adair County without any medical training or licence. (In those times under exceptional regulations of the frontier areas this would have been an option to teach others to become a physician.)
3) Story: A.T. Still claimed that he did the surgeon during the Civil War in his military unit.
Fact: The precise records of the US Army personal documents of the Civil War about the Army’s surgeons show no A.T. Still as surgeon. The US Government denied to pay a pension for that to A.T.Still.
Osteopathy is NOT evidence-based!
No evidence since 1892 for reliability of diagnosis and clinical efficacy for OMT/OMM
Osteopathic Manual Treatment / Osteopathic Manual Medicine
neither for parietal osteopathy
nor for cranial osteopathy
nor for visceral osteopathy
Conclusion: Osteopathy is NOT evidence-based