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One key concept osteopathic medical students learn is that structure influences function.Thus, if there is a problem in one part of the body’s structure, function in that area, and possibly in other areas, may be affected.

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The review found that OMT did not reduce mortality and did not increase cure rate, but that OMT slightly reduced the duration of hospital stay and antibiotic use.

With respect to irritable bowel syndrome, a 2014 review found that there had been a limited number of studies done and that all these studies had small sample sizes; with that caveat, it found preliminary evidence that osteopathic manipulation may be beneficial in this condition. D.s regarded that their treatments were rooted in "pseudoscientific dogma", and although physicians from both branches of medicine have been able to meet on common ground, tensions between the two continue.

Osteopathic medicine defines a concept of health care that embraces the concept of the unity of the living organism's structure (anatomy) and function (physiology).

The American Osteopathic Association (AOA) state that the four major principles of osteopathic medicine are the following: Muscle energy techniques address somatic dysfunction through stretching and muscle contraction.

In a 1995 conference address, the president of the Association of American Medical Colleges, Jordan J.

Cohen, pinpointed OMT as a defining difference between M. O.s; while he saw there was no quarrel in the appropriateness of manipulation for musculoskeletal treatment, the difficulty centered on "applying manipulative therapy to treat other systemic diseases" – at that point, Cohen maintained, "we enter the realm of skepticism on the part of the allopathic world." In 1998 Stephen Barrett of Quackwatch posted a highly critical article online entitled "Dubious Osteopathic Practices", in which he said that the worth of manipulative therapy had been exaggerated and that the American Osteopathic Association (AOA) was acting unethically by failing to condemn craniosacral therapy.Myofascial release is a form of soft tissue therapy used to treat somatic dysfunction and the resultant pain and restriction of motion.Treatment requires continual palpatory feedback to achieve release of myofascial tissues.The repetition of alternating cycles of contraction and subsequent relaxation help the treated muscle improve its range of motion.Muscle energy techniques are contraindicated in patients with fractures, crush injuries, dislocations, joint instability, severe muscle spasms or strains, severe osteoporosis, severe whiplash injury, vertebrobasilar insufficiency, severe illness, and recent surgery.Relative contraindications for the use of lymphatic pump treatments include fractures, abscesses or localized infections, and severe bacterial infections with body temperature elevated higher than 102 °F (39 °C).

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