Background: Several studies showed the effect of osteopathic manipulative treatment on neonatal care in reducing length of stay in hospital, gastrointestinal problems, clubfoot complications and improving cranial asymmetry of infants affected by plagiocephaly. Despite several results obtained, there is still a lack of standardized osteopathic evaluation and treatment procedures for newborns recovered in neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). The aim of this paper is to suggest a protocol on osteopathic approach (NE-O model) in treating hospitalized newborns.
Methods: The NE-O model is composed by specific evaluation tests and treatments to tailor osteopathic method according to preterm and term infants' needs, NICU environment, medical and paramedical assistance. This model was developed to maximize the effectiveness and the clinical use of osteopathy into NICU.
Results: The NE-O model was adopted in 2006 to evaluate the efficacy of OMT in neonatology. Results from research showed the effectiveness of this osteopathic model in reducing preterms' length of stay and hospital costs. Additionally the present model was demonstrated to be safe.
Conclusion: The present paper defines the key steps for a rigorous and effective osteopathic approach into NICU setting, providing a scientific and methodological example of integrated medicine and complex intervention.
Keywords: Complementary and alternative medicine; Integrated medicine; Neonatology intensive care unit; Newborns; Osteopathic manipulative treatment.