About Osteopathic Medicine

What is a DO?

A Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine is trained in conventional medicine. He/she also obtains an additional level of knowledge involving the anatomy and physiology of the musculoskeletal system.

A DO encourages the body’s natural ability to heal itself by facilitating blood flow and nutrients to all body systems and decreasing tissue congestion through hands-on manipulation. Inherent in Osteopathic philosophy, is that in affecting the structure of one system of the organism all others are affected. If you improve the structure, any and all body functions can be restored.

DO’s treat not only the physical, but also the mental, emotional, chemical and nutritional aspects of the body. They place special interest in the prevention of disease and advancement of health through an encompassing holistic approach to the person. DO’s look for the cause of dis-ease, instead of simply treating symptoms.

Manipulating DO’s

A DO that does Osteopathic Manipulative Treatment uses several different technique methods to treat the musculoskeletal system. These include but are not limited to: cranial osteopathy, brain mobilization, biodynamics, myofascial release and unwinding, soft tissue, deep articulation, high velocity low amplitude, muscle energy, counterstrain, facilitated positional release and visceral organ techniques. The whole body is assessed and treated.

More about Cranial Osteopathy from its founder – William J Sutherland

The indications for cranial treatment are analogous to those found in the general background of osteopathic practice, wherein structural malalignment with restricted articular mobility and tense ligamentous tissue disturb the pathway of the nutrient arterial stream of irrigation. In addition to the “supremacy of the artery,” stressed by Dr. Andrew Still, the founder of Osteopathic Medicine, cranial osteopathy merely moves upward a step by indicating the nutrient cerebrospinal fluid as the primary irrigation of “withering fields,” as likely envisioned in the Founder’s “Philosophy of Osteopathy”.

“The cerebrospinal fluid is the highest known element in the human body…. He who is able to reason will see that this great river of life must be tapped and the withering field irrigated at once or the harvest of health is forever lost.”

Emphasis is also placed upon restriction of venous channels as indications, both in the spinal and cranial realms. Spinal restrictions affect the cranial area and cranial restrictions affect the spinal area and both areas may be considered as cooperative in providing indications for treatment.

Therefore tactile sense tests are indicated to determine changes in fluid fluctuation, found palpable throughout cranial and systemic areas. The changes in fluctuation of the fluid are common indications of pathological systemic and structural disorders, acute and chronic. Cranial treatment is valuable towards restoration of the rhythmical, balanced interchange. These tests and treatment are indicated in disorders of the skeletal system; disorders of the special senses; acute and chronic respiratory ailments; eye, ear, nose and throat affections; traumatic injuries; birth injuries; mental derangements and so forth.

Muscle Energy Techniques

This is a direct treatment technique that involves putting the patient into a position designed to localize an area of dysfunction, then the patient is asked to push against the Doctor, resisting motion. This uses the patients muscle force to move bony structures back into place and stretch muscles. This is one of Doc Sandy’s favorite techniques.


A passive, direct action, low velocity/moderate to high amplitude technique where a joint is carried through its restrictive barrier toward its full range of motion with the therapeutic goal of increased free range of movement. The activating force is either a springing motion or repetitive concentric movement of the joint.


The central premise of visceral manipulation is that the interrelationship of structure and function among the internal organs is at least as strong as that among the components of the musculoskeletal system; and that, like the musculoskeletal system, manipulation of the viscera can be beneficially used in the treatment of internal organ dysfunction.


These techniques release brain-centered restrictions as well as the damaging effects that these restrictions cause in the brain, spinal cord and related pathologies such as closed-head injuries, whiplash, headaches, dyslexia, cerebral palsy, cognitive behavioral dysfunctions, learning disabilities, ADD/ADHD, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease. Brain and spinal cord structures are very important components of somatic dysfunctions. The body often aligns itself around these precise structures and they are frequently unaddressed key/dominant tissue restrictions.

High Velocity Low Amplitude

In this treatment technique the patient is put into a position that localizes the problem bony area. A quick force is applied to move the bones back into position. This looks a bit like chiropractic techniques but with less force.

Myofascial Release

Fascia is seen when trying to take the skin off a chicken breast. It is the thick, tough white transparent tissue between the skin and the meat (muscle). “Myo” stands for muscle thus myofascial is the tissue that wraps around muscles below the skin. This tissue can be damaged, twisted or torqued. Myofascial release technique is where the hands are put gently on the body and the tissues are followed or encouraged to release or unwind until balance or normalization is attained.

Counter-strain and Facilitated Positional Release

Counter-strain was developed by Larry Jones, DO. In this technique the body is put into a position of no pain, held there for 90 seconds and then slowly returned to normal position. It is thought that by shortening muscles and holding the position for a period of time, the nervous system is allowed to re-set at a normal level of tension thereby reducing or eliminating pain. Facilitated Positional Release follows this same principal except with counter-strain a tender point is treated and with Facilitated Positional Release a bony misalignment or a soft tissue muscle spasm is treated.


Is a hands-on Osteopathic Manipulative Treatment that addresses the fluid and wave form problems of the system at all levels.