Three Concepts of Health

Additional Core Osteopathic Concepts

These are the three primary concepts upon which our practice is actually based. They are not just philosophical ideas in our heads that we agree to; they are actual working concepts.

The interrelationship of structure and function

This scientific principle states that the structure determines function. If the structure is altered, then the function will be altered. In the human body, the structure consists of muscles, bones, and connective tissue.  If the structure is altered because the muscles are tight and pull the bones out of their physiological best alignment, this will alter how the blood, vessels, organs, and nerves function.

The recognition of the totality of the body 

This principle states that when a person is ill or has a dis-ease, it is not just a part of their body that has a problem, but it is the whole body. Consider, for example, the connective tissue which in anatomy is called fascia. The fascia or connective tissue is a very tough covering that connects every organ, muscle, and bone to every other muscle, bone, and organ within the body. Therefore, a problem that originated with a toe may affect a distant area of the body such as a shoulder or an ear. Therefore, in osteopathy it is paramount to diagnose and treat the whole body. This principle also recognizes that each person is body, mind, and spirit, and each of these dimensions plays a role in the total and complete health and level of wellness. The attitudes and beliefs of the child or those around the child can play a role in how the child heals.

The inherent therapeutic potency within the body that directs the body toward health

This principle states that the physician does not heal. It is the innate intelligence of the body that does all healing. As physicians, we only help to establish a connection with the innate healing force within. We may, with our hands, restore proper functioning or alignment to the body; we may, through medicines or diet, help the body find more physiological balance, or we may counsel and encourage the child with healing thoughts.

However, ultimately we realize that the body heals itself.