Education Benchmarks

Basic Science:

  • History and philosophy of science.
  • Gross and functional anatomy, including basic embryology, neuroanatomy and visceral anatomy.
  • Fundamental bacteriology, fundamental biochemistry, underlying cellular physiology.
  • Physiology with particular emphasis on the neuroendocrine-immune network, the autonomic nervous system, the arterial, lymphatic and venous systems and the musculoskeletal system.
  • Biomechanics and kinetics.

Clinical Science:

  • Models of health and disease.
  • Safety and ethics.
  • Primary pathology and pathophysiology of the nervous, musculoskeletal, psychiatric, cardiovascular, pulmonary, gastrointestinal, reproductive, genitourinary, immunological, endocrine and otolaryngology systems.
  • Basic orthopedic diagnosis.
  • Basic radiology.
  • Nutrition.
  • Basic emergency care.

Osteopathic Science:

  • Philosophy and history of osteopathy.
  • Osteopathic models for structure/function interrelationships.
  • Clinical biomechanics, joint physiology and kinetics.
  • Mechanisms of action for osteopathic techniques.

Practical Skills:

  • Obtaining and using an age-appropriate history.
  • Physical and clinical examination.
  • Osteopathic diagnosis and differential diagnosis of the nervous, musculoskeletal, psychiatric, cardiovascular, pulmonary, gastrointestinal, endocrine, genitourinary, immunological, reproductive and otolaryngology systems.
  • General synthesis of primary laboratory and imaging data.
  • Clinical problem-solving and reasoning.
  • Understanding of relevant research and its integration into practice.
  • Communication and interviewing.
  • Clinical documentation.
  • Basic life-support and first-aid care.

Osteopathic Skills:

  • Osteopathic diagnosis.
  • Osteopathic techniques, including direct methods such as thrust, articulatory, muscle energy and general osteopathic methods.
  • Indirect techniques, including functional techniques and counterstrain.
  • Balancing techniques, such as balanced ligamentous tension and ligamentous articulatory strain.
  • Combined techniques, including myofascial/fascial release, Still technique, osteopathy in the cranial field, involuntary mechanism and visceral methods.
  • Reflex-based techniques, such as Chapman’s reflexes, trigger points and neuromuscular techniques.
  • Fluid-based techniques, such as lymphatic pump techniques.

Practical Supervised Clinical Experience:

Osteopathic manipulative treatment is a distinctive component of osteopathy. It requires both cognitive and sensory motor skills, and knowledge and the development of these clinical and manual skills need time and practice.

Supervised clinical practice is an essential component of the training of osteopathic practitioners and should take place in an appropriate osteopathic clinical environment so that high-quality clinical support and teaching can be provided. This will include a minimum of 1000 hours of supervised clinical practice.

The Typical DOMP Curriculum Usually Includes the Following Courses:

  • Human Anatomy
  • Neuro-anatomy and neurology
  • Physiology
  • Pathology
  • Biomechanics and kinetics
  • Safety and ethics
  • Complementary medical techniques
  • Philosophy and history of osteopathy
  • Osteopathic physical and clinical examination
  • Osteopathic diagnostic and differential diagnosis
  • Orthopedic diagnosis
  • Clinical problem-solving and reasoning
  • Osteopathic manual therapy techniques
  • Osteopathic manual therapy application
  • Nutrition

Core Competencies for Osteopathy:

Osteopathic practitioners share a set of core competencies that guide them in the diagnosis, management and treatment of their patients and form the foundation for the osteopathic approach to health care.

The following are essential competencies for osteopathic practice in all training programs:

  • understanding the basic sciences within the context of the philosophy of osteopathy, the role of vascular, neurological, lymphatic and biomechanical factors in the maintenance of standard and adaptive biochemical, cellular and gross anatomical functions in states of health and disease;
  • a strong foundation in osteopathic history, philosophy, and approach to health care;
  • ability to form an appropriate differential diagnosis and treatment plan;
  • an understanding of the mechanisms of action of manual therapeutic interventions and the biochemical, cellular and gross anatomical response to therapy;
  • ability to appraise medical and scientific literature critically and incorporate relevant information into clinical practice;
  • competency in the palpatory and clinical skills necessary to diagnose dysfunction in the aforementioned systems and tissues of the body, with an emphasis on osteopathic diagnosis;
  • competency in a broad range of skills of osteopathic manual therapy;
  • proficiency in physical examination and the interpretation of relevant tests and data, including diagnostic imaging and laboratory results;
  • an understanding of the biomechanics of the human body including, but not limited to, the particular, fascial, muscular and fluid systems of the extremities, spine, head, pelvis, abdomen and torso;
  • expertise in the diagnosis and osteopathic manual therapy of neuromusculoskeletal disorders;
  • thorough knowledge of the indications for, and contraindications to, osteopathic treatment;
  • a basic understanding of commonly used traditional medicine and complementary/ alternative medicine techniques.
  • visceral techniques;
  • reflex-based techniques, such as Chapman’s reflexes, trigger points and neuromuscular techniques;
  • fluid-based techniques, such as lymphatic pump techniques