is a distinctive and complete system of health care, based
on broad principles that ?offer a way of thinking and acting
in relation to questions of health and disease? (Dr. I. M.
Korr). The procedures it uses in diagnosis and treatment promote
healthy functioning in a person by correcting mechanical imbalances
within and between the structures of the body. By structures
we mean the muscles, bones, ligaments, organs, and fascia.
The fascia is a very thin layer of tissue that is found under
the skin. Correcting the mechanical imbalances in the structures
is done by restoring, maintaining, and improving the harmonious
working of the nervous and musculoskeletal systems.
The name osteopathy (given to the therapy by Dr. Still) comes
from the Greek osteon (bone) and pathos (to suffer), so it
literally means suffering of the bone. The name has created
some confusion, leading people to think that an osteopath
treats only conditions of the bones. However, Dr. Still chose
the name because he recognized the importance of a properly
functioning musculoskeletal system for the total well-being
of the individual.
Osteopathy and orthodox medicine have many things in common:
they both use the scientific knowledge of anatomy and physiology,
as well as clinical methods of investigation. In this respect,
they have a similar language. The greatest differences, however,
lie in the way patients are evaluated and in the approach
to treatment. As a general rule, the orthodox medical approach
focuses on the end product of the problem ? that is, on the
illness. Treatment aims to redress the balance by giving drugs
or carrying out surgery.