Common FAQs

You can find the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions below. If you would like more information, please call us at 617-431-4451.

What is an Osteopathic Physician and what type of training do they receive?

DOs are fully licensed in all 50 states to practice the full spectrum of Medical and Surgical specialties. Their training includes the completion of 4 years of Osteopathic medical school, covering the same standard training in the basic sciences and clinical medicine as is found in an MD medical education program. In addition, DO medical students complete another 500 hours of training and study in anatomy and manual medicine.

Successful completion of this curriculum leads to a Doctor of Osteopathy degree (D.O.). After medical school, the DO can pursue Internship and Residency training in any of the medical or surgical specialties.

What conditions can Osteopathic manipulative medicine treat?

Osteopathic care addresses the full spectrum of a patient’s Healthcare concerns. This means that OMM is intended to be used as an integral part of the Osteopathic physician’s treatment program in the management of any Healthcare issue. These may include chronic ear infections, Irritable Bowel Disease, high blood pressure, headaches, depression, Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, asthma and all issues related to care of pregnant women and newborns.

OMM can often play a significant role in helping a patient to achieve their optimal state of healing. In many situations, OMM is an important factor in a patient’s healing process. Sometimes, it is “the” crucial intervention necessary for Healing.

Who can benefit from OMT and Cranial Osteopathy?
Since the ability to heal persists throughout life, patients of all ages can benefit from this gentle treatment approach. Cranial Osteopathy can help with many different disease processes, from the moment of birth until the end of life. Treatment restores motion, improves vitality (ability to heal), and brings about a higher state of function.

Problems may begin with birth itself, often our first trauma, as the infant’s skull pushes against the birth canal. Some methods use to ease a difficult birth (forceps, vacuum extraction, and anesthesia), although necessary, may add to the trauma. Infants with cranial distortions may present with such problems as infantile colic, inability to suck or swallow, frequent spitting up, chronic ear infections, or even delayed development. Some problems, such as learning disabilities, may not surface until a later date.

Remember, life’s physical and emotional traumas can alter or hinder function at any age, often producing significant effects upon a person’s health. This can cause a wide variety of problems, including low back pain, headaches, joint pain, and repetitive stress syndromes such as tendonitis. The effects of trauma are not limited to the musculoskeletal system. Respiratory, digestive, menstrual and other systemic disorders may also result from traumatic influences. When indicated, osteopathic treatment may provide significant relief.

How long does it take to see results?
Results depend on many factors, including the body’s inherent vitality and the severity and the duration of the problem. Some conditions will respond immediately to Osteopathy. Some will require a series of treatments. It is important to understand that Osteopathy is not a cure-all. It can benefit everyone to some degree, because everyone has been imprinted individually by the trauma of life. For some patients it might be necessary to include other types of treatment. For many, Osteopathy is “the solution” to their problems.
Are DOs and MDs the same?
Like allopathic physicians (MDs), Doctors of Osteopathy (DOs) educated in the United States are fully trained and licensed to practice the entire range and scope of medicine and surgery. Here, DOs attend their own medical schools, and then continue in post graduate training programs, internships and residencies, often training side by side with their MD colleagues.

Doctors of Osteopathy receive additional education in the principles and practice of osteopathy as part of their basic medical education. Those doctors who utilize Cranial Osteopathy have many hours of additional training in the various functions of the cranium and primary respiration, and their relationship to all other parts of the body. This specialized training allows the osteopathic physician to diagnose and treat disorders and diseases in ways that are unique to the osteopathic profession.

Are DOs the only cranial practioners?
Many healthcare practioners including “body workers”, massage therapists, have learned a form of therapy called “Cranial-Sacral Therapy”. These cranio-sacral practioners have been taught simplified techniques that work on a cranial mechanism, but lack the training of a complete osteopathic medical education. Cranio-Sacral Therapy is different from Cranial Osteopathy both in principles and practice.

Only a physician (DO/MD), dentist(DDS/DMD) or qualified international DO/MD is eligible to receive training in the osteopathic cranial concept and become a member of The Cranial Academy.

Does OMT work?
Consider the results of a study published in a 2003 issue of Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine. Researchers observed the effects of OMT as an added treatment for children suffering from frequent ear infections. Patients were divided into two groups. One group received routine care for the infections while the other received routine care plus OMT. The results found a potential benefit of using OMT as an added treatment by possibly preventing or decreasing the need for surgical interventions or the overuse of antibiotics.

In addition, The New England Journal of Medicine published a study in November 1999. In the study, researchers looked at how well OMT works to treat low-back pain. Patients were divided into two groups. One group got standard treatments, such as hot and cold packs, physical therapy, and drugs. The other group received standard care plus OMT. Twelve weeks later, patients in both groups felt better. But those in the OMT group used less medication and less physical therapy. That meant they had fewer side effects and lower health care costs.

Do you recommend therapeutic exercises?
Yes. Each of our physicians recognizes the importance of therapeutic exercise in healing and commonly recommends home exercise programs, although each physician’s program may vary in its emphasis and features. Participating in an exercise program is often a crucial factor in a patient’s ability to realize their fullest healing potential.
Do you discuss nutrition and the use of natural supplements?
Proper nutrition is essential in allowing our systems to reach their full potential in growth and development, as well as in healing. Your osteopath may also recommend any of a variety of other complementary healthcare modalities as part of your overall treatment plan, such as dietary changes, nutritional supplements, homeopathy or therapeutic exercises.
Are there any contraindications to the use of Osteopathic treatment?
There are rarely, if ever, contraindications to the use of Osteopathic treatment, even though there may be a particular technique that might not be appropriate for an individual patient based upon their condition or their preferences. Even patients with serious illnesses or structural instabilities can be treated effectively and safely.