Expanding the osteopathic concept for the health of all things

To be seen.

To be heard.

To be understood.

To be acknowledged.

To be appreciated.

To be accepted.

To be welcomed.

To be engaged.

To be involved.

To be worthy.

To be helped.

Common desires of patients.

Common desires of physicians.

We are all interrelated.

This is the foundational basis of osteopathic medicine. Whether considering internal relationships of the systems of the body or the external relationships of a person with the world around them, connection is a key principle at the core of osteopathy.

Developed at a time when the baseline medical practice was lacking and offered as an answer to the beckoning call for a new perspective on methods of practice, osteopathic medicine is itself a call to curiosity and creativity. It is an invitation to challenge the status quo while standing in reverence of the grand design of human form and respect for the engagement with all of nature.

Is there anything about the current practice of medicine that frustrates you?

Do you notice outcomes that seem inappropriate, unfair, or discriminatory?

Considering the possibility of health, do you see untapped potential in patients?

Osteopathic philosophy offers the opportunity to see through to possible solutions.

To appreciate that which medicine has to offer AND to investigate for undiscovered or underutilized practices, applied in a new way to support the health of the practice of medicine itself.

To demand improvement in outcomes and to explore the reasons for the inequitable distribution of recovery.

To acknowledge that health interrupted is NOT the norm is not acceptable and is to be challenged until all have the chance to experience and appreciate health in its fullest capacity.

Do you notice in yourself the impact and influence of the body on mind? Of mind on spirit? Of spirit on body? Of the inverse of all of these?

Have you ever experienced better function in any aspect of your life because of better structure? On the counterpoint, have you ever built something specifically to support an intended function?

Have you experienced healing? Do you notice within your body the capacity to return to full and complete health?

If you’ve said, “yes” to any of these, you are engaging in osteopathic principles and practice.

These are key and core to the education, training, and practice of osteopathic medicine, though you don’t have to be a D.O. to experience and utilize these.

These are foundational perspectives that underscore the osteopathic approach, though are not limited to patient care.

These are supportive of the health of all things – from ourselves to our families to our communities to our work to the environment to systems to the world.

Acknowledging the person as a unit of body, mind and spirit broadens awareness of the interconnectedness of our whole being. Recognizing that this is as true for you as it is for your patients, your family and each and every person in the world deepens the power of connection.

Looking to the reciprocal relationship of structure and function calls us to thoughtfulness in design of the framework in our lives and appreciation of the power of organization to optimize function. Spanning scheduling, socialization, spending and so much more, respect for structure and function offers insight into challenges and invitation to effective solutions.

Holding space for the potential of healing and removing obstructions to health to engage the amazing inherent capacity within is a powerful practice. Honoring our own and expanding beyond extends the potential for health into the world.

Calling into question the legitimacy of a minority is not an uncommon practice. At 11% of the practicing physicians in the United States, osteopathic physicians are the minority in medicine in this country. Withholding equality, equity, access and acknowledgment and requiring adaptation to the practices of the majority is common. It has been a battle to achieve equal footing in the education, training, licensure, and practice rights of medicine for osteopathic physicians often at the expense of compromised distinctiveness.

Declaring covertly or overtly that different means “less than” happens often in our culture. Perhaps it is possible to consider different for what it is – a new perspective, an optional view, a potential enhancement – and allow it to exist within the construct of equality. Consider the call to assess and intentionally choose the current methods of practice or to change them if the assessment deems that the most appropriate next step. Either is a choice offered by the introduction of an alternative perception in the collective.

Founded on the idea that there was something more to be done to support the health, healing, recovery from, and prevention of disease for patients, Osteopathic Medicine has a 146-year-old history of calling out inequalities and inadequacies that obstruct the health and allow disease to persist. When we honor the health and join together to challenge the systems and practices that do not, we make these universally possible:

All are helped.

All are worthy.

All are involved.

All are engaged.

All are welcome.

All are accepted.

All are appreciated.

All are acknowledged.

All are understood.

All are seen.

All are heard.




We are all interrelated.

May expanded access to, and understanding of the osteopathic concept invite us to see, embrace, and live this more fully in our personal and professional lives.

Amelia L. Bueche is an osteopathic physician and founder, This Osteopathic Life.

Image credit: Shutterstock.com

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