Osteopathic Manipulation

What is osteopathic manipulation?

Osteopathic manipulation is a form of manual medicine that focuses on the health of the body and works to improve blood flow, nerve conduction, and musculoskeletal function by treating the tissues of the body. This allows your body to heal itself and better manage disease and other stresses on your body.

Osteopathic manipulation focuses on the health of the patient. With this in mind, the goal is to improve blood flow, nerve conduction and biomechanical function. Your osteopathic physician will accomplish this by working with the various tissues of your body to allow them to function more optimally.

There are a wide variety of techniques that are used for manipulation. Some techniques are very gentle, while others are more aggressive. Your physician will determine the best approach to treating you based on what will be most efficacious and within your range of tolerance.

At no point should you be in any more discomfort than you typically feel during your daily activities.

Dr Sneed treating young patient with Osteopathic ManipulationWhat types of patient can have OMT?

Osteopathic manipulation can be performed on patients of all ages. OMT has successfully benefited patients from only a few hours old to those who are well into their golden years. For more about the specific disease processes that OMT is used for see our “Services” page.

Is osteopathic manipulation safe?

Osteopathic manipulation has been studied extensively, and has been shown to be very safe. While certain techniques are not advised in certain circumstances, the more gentle forms of OMT are usually safer than going about your daily activities. Dr. Sneed has been trained in the various techniques available, as well as how to assess which ones are needed for your specific condition.

What is the difference between DO’s, MD’s and Chiropractors?

DOs and and MDs are both fully licensed medical physicians in the US. Just as your standard MD does, a DO physician attends medical school, internship, and residency training and can be anything from a general practitioner to a heart surgeon. They are board certified in their specialty and fully licensed by the state(s) in which they practice. The primary difference is in their approach to medicine. DO physicians are taught to treat holistically – focusing on the entire person rather than just a symptom or disease. Part of this holistic philosophy is the use of Osteopathic Manipulation, which all DO’s are taught the basics of in medical school and some, such as Dr. Sneed, choose to specialize in just as others may choose to specialize in family practice or surgery. You can read more about the differences between DO’s and MD’s on our blog, here.

Chiropractors are trained solely in adjusting subluxations (incomplete or partial dislocations of the joints). Unlike Dos, who are fully licensed medical physicians, chiropractors lack an education or license to diagnose, treat, or manage most other medical conditions. In addition, DOs are trained and licensed to treat the entire body whereas chiropractors are only licensed to treat the 24 vertebral of the spine in the state of Virginia. Thus, a DO may be able to treat multiple issues, as well as provide alternate treatments, medications, and referrals covered by insurance as needed. You can read more about the differences between DO’s and Chiropractors on our blog here.






Undergrad Training 4 Year Degree Same 90 Hours College Credit Some Require Degree
Grad Training 4 Year Osteo Medical Degree (DO) 4 Year Medical Degree (MD) 4 Year Chiropractic Degree (DC)
Post Grad Training 1 Year Internship2-8 Years Residency depending upon the specialty SameSame NoneNone
Licensure/Scope of Practice Fully Licensed to practice the complete spectrum of Medical and Surgical Specialties in all 50 states Same Licensed to practice Chiropractic Manipulation (see below)
Prescribe Medications Yes Same No
Manual Medicine Training Over 500 Hours (see below) None Over 500 Hours (see below)

* Association of Chiropractic Colleges and American Chiropractic Association

Reproduced with permission from www.osteopathichealthcareofmaine.com

What is the difference between DO’s and cranial-sacral therapists?

DOs are trained in cranial osteopathy in addition to their specialized training in osteopathic manipulation and medicine as a whole. Derived from the basics of cranial osteopathy, cranial-sacral therapy is a variation of this has been taught to non-physicians. Those trained in cranial-sacral therapy have highly variable medical knowledge as well as limited training requirements, are often not covered by insurance and may be unable to address any other underlying issues, prescribe needed supplements or medications, or provide referrals covered by insurance. The best source for finding a fully trained professional who specializes in cranial work is to consult the Osteopathic Cranial Academy.


Graduate Training 4 Years Osteopathic Medical School Variable. Some have PT or massage license, but people without any healthcare training can become certified and practice CST
Post Grad Training and Practice 3-8 Years Residency Training depending upon their specialty. Then†5 additional years in practice before they are eligible to apply for certification One 4 day course is necessary to begin practicing. Two 4 day courses are necessary for certification
Licensure/Scope of Practice Fully Licensed to practice the complete spectrum of Medical and Surgical Specialties in all 50 states No state or federal licensure and no governing body
Professional Organization Dr. Andrew Taylor Still Founded the first Osteopathic Medical School in 1892, based upon the body’s innate healing capacity.In 1939, Dr. Sutherland, introduced Cranial Osteopathy, which he characterized as merely a “Contribution of thought” to Dr. Still’s Osteopathic Science. John Upledger, DO introduced CST in 1983 and chose to teach it to non-physicians. Dr.Upledger gives no credit to Dr.Still and only references Dr. Sutherland to criticize aspects of his Cranial Concept

* The Upledger Institute

Reproduced with permission from www.osteopathichealthcareofmaine.com