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Osteopathic Philosophy
What is OMT?
What is a DO?
Conditions Treated
History of Osteopathy

What is Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine (OMM)?  

Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine (OMM) is a diagnostic and therapeutic practice of medicine that focuses on wellness.  Instead of just treating specific symptoms, Osteopathic Physicians concentrate on treating you as a whole.  Along with prescribing medical treatment, Osteopathic Physicians use Osteopathic Manipulative Treatment (OMT), which is hands-on care to identify structural problems and support the body’s natural tendency toward good health and healing.

Osteopathic Philosophy

The hallmark of Osteopathic care is the focus on health and wellness as opposed to the conventional disease based approach.  A.T. Still, M.D., D.O., founder of Osteopathy, said “the object of the physician is to find health, anyone can find disease.” Osteopathic physicians are trained to look at each patient as an individual and focus their care on the entire person, rather than merely a diseased body system. There are 3 core tenets of Osteopathic philosophy that guide the approach to each patient:


1. Structure and function are interrelated. The body’s physical structure provides the framework for the rest of the body to function optimally.  There is a relationship between the body's structure (anatomy) and the function (physiology).  When the physical structure is strained or under constant stress, this can lead to health problems in seemingly unrelated areas of the body, including the internal organs.


2.  Each person is a dynamic unit of body, mind and spirit. No single element functions separately from the other. At Osteopathic Health of Saratoga, we focus not only on your physical structure, but on all aspects of the body, mind and spirit.


3.  The body has the ability to heal itself.  Osteopathic physicians realize that health is the natural state for all living beings.  If the body is injured or becomes ill, it has the inherent ability to heal itself.  We work with the natural healing forces within your body.  Our goal is to support your self-healing mechanism making our healing approach gentle, compassionate and extremely effective.

What is Osteopathic Manipulative Treatment (OMT)?

Osteopathic Manipulative Treatment (OMT) is a non-surgical, hands-on method of care, performed by Osteopathic Physicians to diagnose, treat, and prevent injury and illness.  Treatment is based on the principle that body structure and function are interrelated.  The goal of treatment is to improve the body’s structure to support good health and the body’s ability to fight disease by stimulating the immune system.


The types of OMT range from indirect to direct techniques.  Treatment types include, but are not limited to:  Soft Tissue Techniques, Myofascial Release Techniques, Articulatory Techniques, Balanced Ligamentous Tension, Cranial Osteopathy, Lymphatic Techniques, and Muscle Energy Techniques.


Does OMT work?  

Yes.  The Osteopathic Medical Profession has conducted research to investigate how OMT works and how best to use various OMT techniques to treat patients for specific medical conditions.  The majority of the research has been conducted at osteopathic medical schools, and a large share of that research has been published in the JAOA-The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association, which is available at  As evidenced in a November 1999 New England Journal of Medicine study, as well as a study published in Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine in September 2003, OMT has been shown to be an effective form of medical treatment with lower costs and fewer side effects.

What is the difference between a DO and an MD?  

A Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine or Doctor of Osteopathy (DO) is a physician who has completed four years of medical training at an Osteopathic Medical School, instead of an Allopathic Medical School (MD).  DOs are fully trained and licensed to prescribe medicine and perform surgery.  Doctors of Osteopathic Medicine stress the unity of all body systems.  Education emphasizes preventive medicine and comprehensive patient care.  Throughout the curriculum, osteopathic medical students learn to use osteopathic principles and Osteopathic Manipulative Treatment to diagnose illness and treat patients.  Osteopathic physicians understand how all the body’s systems are interconnected and how each one affects the others.  In addition, DOs are trained to identify and correct structural problems, which can assist the body’s natural tendency toward health and self-healing.  DOs help patients develop attitudes and lifestyles that fight illness as well as help prevent disease.

What is different about the care a DO provides?  

DOs take a full-body approach, looking at the patient as a whole, not just his or her symptoms.  They view the body as a unity that is interconnected with self-healing and self-regulating mechanisms.  DOs focus on preventive healthcare and wellness.  Besides treating acute episodes of illness, the DOs underlying concern is to return the patient to an optimum state of health by dealing directly with the internal conditions that caused the disease.

What’s the difference between OMT and manipulations done by a chiropractor?  

A DO is a licensed physician who uses a combination of traditional medicine and Osteopathic Manipulative Treatments.  Osteopathic physicians utilize all of the recognized procedures and modern technologies for prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of disease, including medications, imaging, and surgery.  Although some manipulation techniques may seem similar, chiropractic treatment typically focuses on aligning the spine.

Who benefits from OMT?  

Anyone can benefit from Osteopathic Manipulative Treatment, including newborns, infants, children, and adults.  OMT can be used to diagnose and treat a variety of conditions, including, but not limited to the following: 

  • Sports pain, injuries, and recovery

  • Concussion and Post-Concussion Syndrome

  • Infant issues, such as feeding difficulties, Torticollis, and Colic

  • Recurrent ear infections in children

  • Pregnancy-related pain and postpartum pain

  • Menstrual pain

  • Heartburn, Reflux, Constipation, and other Digestive Problems

  • TMJ

  • Headaches and Migraines

  • Anxiety

  • Post operative recovery

  • Back, neck, and joint pain

  • Nerve pain, numbness and tingling

  • Scoliosis

  • Rheumatological conditions

  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

  • Leg Length Discrepancy

  • Respiratory problems such as Asthma, COPD, Bronchitis, and Pneumonia

  • Sinus problems


Andrew Taylor Still MD,DO (1828-1917), was an American frontier doctor who became frustrated with the inadequacies of the medical practice of his time.  In 1864 he watched helplessly as the finest doctors available were unable to save his three children who died during a meningitis epidemic.  He then immersed himself in the study of the nature of health, illness and disease. His goal was to determine the causes of disease and develop definitive scientific methods to cure and especially prevent the ailments of his patients.  A. T. Still dissected numerous cadavers and observed that wherever he saw diseased tissue or organs there was evidence of abnormal blood or nerve supply, which seemed to be related to dysfunction or alteration of structure.  He developed ways to normalize the structure of his patients and they got better.  Through his in depth studies of anatomy, physiology, physics, biology and chemistry he came to a realization that he announced in 1874. "Like a burst of sunshine the whole truth (of osteopathy ) dawned on my mind, that I was gradually approaching a science by study, research, and observation that would be a great benefit to the world." In Still's view, it was the job of the physician to correct structural disturbances so the body could function normally.

Dr. Still applied this theory, that the best way to fight disease was by naturally stimulating the body's immune system.  He found that when he was able to restore the musculoskeletal system to normal motion, the imbalances resolved and health was restored. Dr. Still broke from conventional medicine when he denounced the widespread practice of purging, leeching and using poisonous medications such as mercury and arsenic.  For his efforts he was ostracized from the medical profession. Undeterred, Dr. Still spent years developing a healing science that could restore normal function and freedom of tissues and circulation through a practitioner's sensitive manual diagnosis and manipulation of tissues and fluid.

In 1892, Dr. Still founded the first school of Osteopathy in Kirksville, Missouri. The first graduating class of twenty-two students included five women.  Today there are thirty-one colleges of osteopathic medicine in the United States and more than 96,000 practicing DOs.  Fewer than 10% practice traditional Applied Osteopathy.  

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28 Clinton St, Suite 3

Saratoga Springs, NY 12866

P: 518.250.3221

Fax: 518.348.8423

© 2016 by Karissa Scarabino, DO, MPH. Proudly created with

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