Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine (OMM)

Doctors of Osteopathy restore health by applying osteopathic principles in the practice of a hands-on treatment. This method helps to alleviate pain, restore mobility and reduce or eliminate impediments by focusing on the natural motion within the body’s structure and its relationship to function. Osteopathic knowledge and treatment considers the musculoskeletal system as well as the inter-relationships of all physiologic systems (e.g. neurological, respiratory, digestive, hormonal, etc.).

The History of Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine

Osteopathic manipulative medicine began during the American Civil War era when Andrew Taylor Still proposed an alternate philosophy in medical thinking. Dr. Still observed disease in patients who had limitations in their body’s normal motion. He then postulated and experimented with using his hands to manipulate the tissues and bones of the body to restore their function and motion. He found that normal motion brought health. Dr. Still proposed that the mind, body and spirit are integrally connected and medicine must evaluate the whole in order to determine the cause of disease or ailment. A.T. Still believed health was not simply the absence of disease. He believed that with optimal motion throughout the body, the body possess an innate healing system. It is the job of the physician to guide the body to best use this innate healing system.

OMM has been practice by the D.O. community since this time. It is taught in all osteopathic medical colleges through course work on philosophy and lab training where students are guided with hands on training by practicing physicians. Osteopathic practitioners refine their palpatory skills to recognize the smallest motions in the body and our eyes are trained to recognize motion and absence of motion in body movement. Through a variety of techniques, osteopathic practitioners are able to restore motion in areas restricted, hence improving functionality.

Arcana physicians have mastery in the following techniques:

  • Counterstrain
  • Muscle Energy
  • HVLA (high velocity, low amplitude)
  • Soft Tissue
  • Myofacial Release
  • Cranial Osteopathy
  • Facilitated Positional Release
  • Trigger Point treatment
  • Visceral Techniques
  • Autonomic Balancing
  • Biodynamic Osteopathy
  • Functional Techniques: Balanced Ligamentous Tension/Ligamentous Articular Strain
  • Articulatory/Still techniques

Cranial Osteopathy

Cranial Osteopathy differs from Cranio-Sacral Therapy in that Cranial Osteopathy is only taught and performed by physicians. Certification in Cranial Osteopathy (or Osteopathy in the Cranial Field) requires at minimum a 40-hour course and passing both a written and practical exam with experienced physicians.

Conditions Treated with OMM

Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine is often recognized for its treatment of musculoskeletal conditions. While this is true, there are other conditions in which OMM can be useful such as:

Acute Musculoskeletal conditions

  • Sports injuries
  • Low back pain
  • Neck pain
  • Overuse injuries

Chronic musculoskeletal condition

  • Degenerative spinal processes
  • Disc disease
  • Fibromyalgia & Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
  • Arthritis
  • Tendinitis

Ear, nose and throat

  • Chronic otitis media
  • Chronic/acute sinusitis
  • Allergies
  • Vertigo
  • Tinnitus
  • Eustachian tube dysfunction
  • TMJ


  • Headaches
  • Carpel tunnel syndrome
  • Traumatic Brain Injuries
  • Concussive syndrome
  • Balance/gait (walking) dysfunctions


  • Dysmenorrhea
  • Fertility
  • Pelvic pain/pelvic floor dysfunction


  • Low back pain in pregnancy


  • Upper respiratory infections
  • Pneumonia
  • Interstitial cystitis
  • Chronic Lyme disease
  • Postural Orthostatic Tachycardic Syndrome (POTS)


  • Ear infections
  • Newborn Colic
  • Migraine Headaches
  • Autism spectrum disorder

For additional information on Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine, please visit any of the following websites: