The philosophy of Osteopathic Medicine is based on a holistic approach to the practice of medicine. It emphasizes that all systems of the body are interrelated so that any change in one part of the body may alter the functioning of other systems. Doctors of Osteopathy (D.O.s) are taught to treat the body as a whole, stressing the underlying cause of an ailment when treating a patient. Osteopathy also stresses preventive medicine and maintenance of a healthy lifestyle and diet.
Osteopathic medicine was founded in 1874 by a Civil War surgeon named Andrew Taylor Still, MD. After losing three of his children to spinal meningitis, he looked beyond western allopathic medicine. Dr. Still developed a theory based on the concept that the bodys structure and function are integrally related and the best way to combat disease was by naturally stimulating the bodys own immune system. In 1892, Still founded the American School of Osteopathy, which is currently the Kirksville College of Osteopathic Medicine.