The distinguishing characteristics of osteopathic medicine include its focus on treating the whole body (as opposed to specific symptoms or illnesses) and its focus on the musculoskeletal system as one of the key elements to overall health and well-being.
Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine is a type of "hands-on" medical treatment based on an in-depth understanding of the musculoskeletal, circulatory, lymphatic and nervous systems of the body used by D.O.s (Doctors of Osteopathic Medicine). Doctors of Osteopathic Medicine are fully-trained, fully-licensed medical doctors who complete premedical undergraduate courses, 4 years of medical school, and 3 years or more of residency training in their chosen specialties after medical school. They must be fully licensed in their respective states before they can practice medicine.
Osteopathic Physicians (D.O.s) can diagnose and treat all conditions (like M.D.s), perform surgery (like M.D.s), and prescribe all medications (like M.D.s), but they are additionally trained in Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine (unlike M.D.s).