Osteopathic medicine originated as a 19th century alternative medical approach emphasizing the physical manipulation of the neuromusculoskeletal system. Today, doctors of osteopathic medicine study and practice the same types of medical and surgical techniques as their conventional MD colleagues with the addition of osteopathic manipulative treatment (OMT).

Osteopathic medicine was founded in 1874 by Andrew Taylor Still, a US physician. Physicians educated in this method were called doctors of osteopathy. Subsequently, however, schools of osteopathic medicine incorporated much of the same curriculum taught in conventional medical schools, while uniquely preserving training in OMT. Today, these physicians are now called doctors of osteopathic medicine (DO). The osteopathic medicine license is legally equivalent to that of MD. Like MDs, DOs complete 4 years of medical education followed by 3-8 years of graduate medical education.