Osteopathic Medicine


Osteopathic Medicine is a unique form of American  medical care that was developed in 1874 by Andrew Taylor Still, M.D., D.O..  Dr. Still was dissatisfied with the effectiveness of 19th Century medicine.  He believed that many of the medications of his day were useless or even harmful.  Dr. Still was one of the first in his time to study the attributes of good health so that he could better understand the process of disease.

In response, Dr. Still founded a philosophy of medicine based on ideas that date back to Hippocrates, the father of medicine.  That philosophy focuses on the unity of all body parts.  Dr. Still identified the musculoskeletal system as a key element of health.  He recognized the body’s ability to heal itself and stressed preventive medicine, eating properly and keeping fit.

Dr. Still pioneered the concept of “wellness” more than 130 years ago.  In today’s terms, D.O.s evaluate each patient’s personal health risks—such as smoking, high blood pressure, excessive cholesterol levels, stress and other lifestyle factors.  In coordination with prescribing appropriate medical treatment, osteopathic physicians act as teachers to help patients take more responsibility for their well-being and to change unhealthy patterns.
(American Osteopathic Association; “What is a D.O.?” Brochure 2008;”More than a Century of Unique Care”)

D.O.s and M.D.s are alike in many ways:

  • Applicants to both D.O. and M.D. medical colleges typically have four-year undergraduate degrees with an emphasis on scientific courses.
  • Both D.O.s and M.D.s complete four years of basic medical education.
  • After medical school, both D.O.s and M.D.s obtain graduate medical education through such programs as internships and residencies.  This training typically lasts three to six years and prepares D.O.s and M.D.s to practice a specialty.
  • Both D.O.s and M.D.s can choose to practice in any specialty area of medicine—such as pediatrics, family practice, psychiatry, surgery or obstetrics.
  • D.O.s and M.D.s must pass comparable examinations to obtain state licenses.
  • D.O.s and M.D.s both practice in fully accredited and licensed health care facilities.
  • Together, D.O.s and M.D.s enhance the state of health care available in America.

D.O.s, however, belong to a separate yet equal branch of American medical care.  It is the ways that D.O.s and M.D.s are different that can bring an extra dimension to your family’s health care.
(American Osteopathic Association; “What is a D.O.?” Brochure 2008)

As a part of their training, all osteopathic medical students learn body mainpulation techniques to help relieve musculoskeletal and possibly other body system issues.  Their use of these manipulation techniques is dependent upon their medical specialty and interest.

Dr. Burton utilizes osteopathic manipulation as a complementary treatment in addition to traditional medical care to help their patients.

SMA Locations

Springfield, Massachusetts

Phone: 413-739-5676
Fax: 413-733-5860
Toll Free: 1-800-541-8374

Enfield, Connecticut

Phone: 860-741-6058
Fax: 413-733-5860

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