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Holistic Medicine?

Discussion in 'Medical Students - DO' started by bustinbooty, Jun 15, 2001.

  1. bustinbooty

    bustinbooty Senior Member 10+ Year Member

    Mar 11, 2001
    Detroit, MI
    At the clinic where I work, we have a homogenous mixture of D.O.'s and M.D.'s. Inherently, the most often asked question of patients to me is, of course "What is the difference...?"
    In my responses, I have often used the word "holistic" in describing the differences in the approach to treatment that the D.O. utilizes. However, I have noticed a specific trend among the lay people when I use this word. I am getting the impression that this word "holistic" has a negative conotation to those unfamiliar with medical terminology. Does the layman associate this word with medicine men and faith healers, or with other extremist forms of medicine? I am curious of everyones thoughts because the last thing I want to do as a future D.O. is give current patients the wrong idea. I have actually stayed away from the word "holistic" lately and used "integrated approach" more frequently, which seems to be a more welcome response.
    Your thoughts?
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  3. Popoy

    Popoy SDN Super Moderator 10+ Year Member

    Apr 22, 2001
    Like yourself, I found this word to have a "negative connotation" as well. May I suggest reading a few books (that would probably be reading your first year anyway) such as Norman Gevitz "The D.O." or "Osteopathic Medicine: A Reformation in Progress." This would help you differentiate and hopefully avoid that word.

    Now I never use "holistic" to decribe it....

    If other's have a speech/spill that they give to others about describing osteo, please share.... Thanx, :cool:
  4. bluejay

    bluejay Member 7+ Year Member

    Jun 5, 2001
    Although I am not currently a physician, I am always having to explain and describe Osteopathy to my family members and friends. This is what I say:
    1. osteopaths focus on the prevention of illness.
    2. When they treat an illness, they not only deal with the illness, but they also work with the patient to discover the cause of the illness and educate the patient about disease prevention and overall health.
    3. Osteopathic physicians have a patient-centered approach to treatment, the patient as a whole.(the patient is the focus, not the disease)
    4. Osteopathic physicians have additional means for the treatment of medicine such as OMM when drugs are not appropriate or successful.

    Well, I'm not an expert or even a D.O., but I will begin my M1 year in July and have given this in-a-nutshell description of Osteopathy many times. :) I hope that it is useful for other people as well. :D
  5. JS-UNMC

    JS-UNMC Senior Member 7+ Year Member

    Mar 29, 2001
    Omaha, NE USA
    This is the response I give now... "DO's take all of the same courses that MD's do. DO's do the same training that MD's do. The difference is that DO's recieve extra training in the muskuloskeletal system."

    Then I wait for their response and proceed from there.

    Hope that helps! Yes, please stay away from the word "holistic"

    Josh Smith, DMU '04
  6. bluejay

    bluejay Member 7+ Year Member

    Jun 5, 2001
    I think that the problem with the word "holistic" is that it gives the connotation of unregulated, folk medicine practiced by un-educated hippy types.

    In my experience, when people find out that D.O.'s can prescribe drugs and have the same amount of training and regulation (licensing) as M.D.'s, they do not think of it in the "witch doctor" hippy sense.
  7. cjkalmat

    cjkalmat Member 10+ Year Member

    Oct 3, 2000
    Ann Arbor, Michigan
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2009
  8. Popoy

    Popoy SDN Super Moderator 10+ Year Member

    Apr 22, 2001
    Here's a quote from the IOMA (Iowa Osteopathic Medical Association):


    The difference is that osteopathic physician receives additional training in what the osteopathic profession believes to be a most significant factor in comprehensive health care.

    The D.O. recognizes that the musculoskeletal system... is interdependent, and disturbance in one causes altered function in other systems of the body. D.O.'s use structural diagnosis and manipulative therapy of the musculoskeletal system, along with all of the other more traditional forms of diagnosis and treatment (drugs and surgery), to care effectively for patients and to relieve their distress.

    A D.O. is not just something else, but something more. "

    Okay that's it.... hope that helps in someway. :cool:
  9. ewagner

    ewagner Senior Member 10+ Year Member

    Nov 22, 1998
    I think, as some of you enter your clinical years, you will find some of the most "holistic" docs are MD's.
    Holistic, is pure PR...pure advertising.
  10. Popoy

    Popoy SDN Super Moderator 10+ Year Member

    Apr 22, 2001
    Yes... "pure advertising".... That's probably way it also has a negative connotation.... It's been advertised so much that it's associated with quackary!!!
  11. drchrislareau

    drchrislareau Member 7+ Year Member

    Apr 10, 2001
    Marcy, New York, USA
    here's my 2 cents. Entymologically, the word "health" is derived from the word "whole", thus we get wholistic and holistic from that. So literally speaking, a holistic practitioner is a health practitioner. Big deal. I prefer to tell people I am an osteopathic physician and leave it at that. Are osteopathic physicians wholistic? Sure. What's the difference between the schools of osteopathy and allopathy? The distinction has blurred a little, but historically, osteopathic physicians have always used the body's own health systems (physiological mechanisms) to restore a patient to health while allopaths have used external agents to defeat disease. It is interesting to note that there is not a single report in the literature of osteopathic manipulation causing mortality while iatrogenic causes of death from allopathic methods are well known. There are reports of chiropractic manipulation being seriously detrimental, but this shouldn't be confused with osteopathic manipulation.
  12. John DO

    John DO A.T. Still Endowed Chair 7+ Year Member

    Jun 19, 2001
    Tampa Bay, FL
    Outstanding response! I, too, am beginning KCOM in the class of 2005. I have often said that the practice is made by the physician, not the letters behind his name. I kind of adapted this from a KCOM instructor, but I think it is very true.
  13. prolixless

    prolixless Senior Member 10+ Year Member

    I've used phrases like "DO's have special training in the muscular-skeletal system" or "DO's use a more hands-on approach to diagnosis and treatment of disease", and the ironic thing is that people often respond to me "So DO's are basically more holistic in their approach, right?" Doh!

    Often times the public is not stupid and can read between the lines. I think the public tends to perceive anything that is not mainstream medical practice as "holistic medicine." Of course, I live in california so the way people respond out here might be different than in the rest of the country.

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