One question I was asked in one of my medical school interviews was, “What are the four tenants of osteopathic medicine?” Although I read articles on osteopathic medicine, I could not quite understand exactly what the tenants were during the interview season. As a first-year osteopathic medical student, I realize the true importance of understanding the four tenants and applying it to become the best possible physician you can be. Below I have described the four tenants:
- The body is a unit; a person is a unit of body, mind, and spirit. When treating a patient, one must always realize that you aren’t just treating a disease. You are treating a person with emotions, thoughts, family, and friends. It’s important to keep in mind the humanity of a patient when treating.
- The body is capable of self-regulation, self-healing, and health maintenance. This tenant states that the body tries to return to homeostasis (in terms of physiological processes) when it is disrupted.
- Structure and function are reciprocally interrelated. Osteopathic Manipulative Treatment (OMT) is used to treat structure in order to help allow the function to return to normal.
- Rational treatment is based upon an understanding of the basic principles of body unity, self-regulation, and the interrelationship of structure and function. This last principle states that a physician should combine all of the previous three tenants to provide the best possible medical care to a patient.
Be sure to visit the American Osteopathic Association (AOA) to gain access to more information regarding the four tenants of osteopathic medicine!