Osteopathic manipulative medicine in the treatment of hypertension: an alternative, conventional approach

Heart Dis. 2003 Jul-Aug;5(4):272-8. doi: 10.1097/01.hdx.0000080718.70719.88.


The branch of medicine known as osteopathy was founded by Andrew Taylor Still in the mid to late 19th century. Osteopathy is a philosophy of medicine. Osteopathic physicians use techniques collectively referred to as osteopathic manipulative medicine (OMM). One of the most common diseases suffered by those residing in westernized nations is hypertension. Although osteopathic physicians are taught to incorporate OMM into the management of medical disorders, the usefulness of OMM in treating hypertension is less clear. This review reflects on the past 90 years of biomedical literature and attempts to address the utility of OMM used alone, or in combination with other treatments including antihypertensive medication, for the effective management of hypertension. Preliminary evidence may suggest a role for OMM in treating hypertension within the context of a multifaceted and long-lasting treatment regimen that may include traditional pharmacotherapeutics. To have universal acceptance, controlled and blinded outcome studies are needed to determine the effectiveness of OMM for the routine treatment of hypertension.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Autonomic Nervous System / physiopathology
  • Humans
  • Hypertension / physiopathology
  • Hypertension / therapy*
  • Manipulation, Osteopathic*