Osteopathic manipulative medicine is a core set of techniques of osteopathy and osteopathic medicine distinguishing these fields from the rest of medicine. Parts of osteopathy, such as cranial therapy have been labeled pseudoscience and are said to have no therapeutic value. The techniques are based on an ideology created by Andrew Taylor Still (1828–1917) which posits the existence of a myofascial continuity – a tissue layer that connects all parts of the body.
Non-physician osteopaths and osteopathic physicians attempt to diagnose and treat somatic dysfunction by manipulating a person’s bones and muscles and therefore address a variety of ailments. OMT techniques are most commonly used to treat back pain and other musculoskeletal issues, and are less commonly used to treat systemic conditions such as asthma and Parkinson’s disease.
OMT is based on the idea that a myofascial continuity “links every part of the body with every other part”; a practitioner, through a “skillful and dexterous use of the hands” treats what was originally called “the osteopathic lesion”, but which is now named “somatic dysfunction”. The most commonly treated ailment is back pain, although some practitioners claim OMT can be used to treat a wide range of conditions.