[Osteopathy under scrutiny]

Bundesgesundheitsblatt Gesundheitsforschung Gesundheitsschutz. 2020 May;63(5):553-560. doi: 10.1007/s00103-020-03126-7.
[Article in German]


Osteopathic medicine is a medical specialty that enjoys a high level of recognition and increasing popularity among patients. High-quality education and training are essential to ensure good and safe patient treatment. At a superficial glance, osteopathy could be misunderstood as a myth; accurately considered, osteopathic medicine is grounded in medical and scientific knowledge and solid theoretical and practical training. Scientific advances increasingly confirm the empirical experience of osteopathy. Although more studies on its efficacy could be conducted, there is sufficient evidence for a reasonable application of osteopathy. Current scientific studies show how a manually executed osteopathic intervention can induce tissue and even cellular reactions. Because the body actively responds to environmental stimuli, osteopathic treatment is considered an active therapy. Osteopathic treatment is individually applied and patients are seen as an integrated entity. Because of its typical systemic view and scientific interpretation, osteopathic medicine is excellently suited for interdisciplinary cooperation. Further work on external evidence of osteopathy is being conducted, but there is enough knowledge from the other pillars of evidence-based medicine (EBM) to support the application of osteopathic treatment. Implementing careful, manual osteopathic examination and treatment has the potential to cut healthcare costs. To ensure quality, osteopathic societies should be intimately involved and integrated in the regulation of the education, training, and practice of osteopathic medicine.

Keywords: Active therapy; Individualized; Medical specialty; Osteopathic education; Scientific based; Systemic.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Education, Medical, Graduate
  • Germany
  • Humans
  • Osteopathic Medicine / education*
  • Osteopathic Physicians*
  • Practice Patterns, Physicians'*
  • Professional Role*
  • Specialization