Osteopathic Medicine Week aims to spark awareness of the profession

West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine

LEWISBURG, WV (WOAY) – During this time, osteopathic professionals gather to try to raise awareness about the unconventional practice. 

Osteopathic medicine is an unconventional type of healing that uses the body’s own natural processes to help facilitate healing. The practice at times draws criticism for it’s alternative ways, but Dr. Bob Foster with the WV School of Osteopathic Medicine says the practice is safe and simply an alternative for some patients.

For instance, someone with a low grade fever could elect to practice osteopathy and instead let their own body do most of the work to fight off a minor infection. 

“One of the most important healing properties we have is inflammation. So, inflammation is really a good thing. We often say fever is a friend,” Foster said.

A fever is not just a side-effect of being sick, it is the body actively trying to fight off an infection. So in some cases a patient could limit their intake of anti-inflammatory drugs and quicken their healing process.

But this shouldn’t be practiced in all cases, especially right now given the circumstances of the pandemic. One important distinction to make is that osteopathy is not a complete alternative to modern medicine. If someone is sick and has a fever, then they should take the necessary steps to get better.

And in many cases, osteopathy can be used together with modern medicine, or after it’s already been tried. Many osteopathic doctors practice on patients in hospitals that have already tried typical methods for reducing pain after surgeries.

“It can certainly be used in ICUs and places that are even post-operative for healthy patients who are just coming out of surgery.”

Oftentimes a patient can try conventional pain-relief methods recommended by their doctors without good results, and instead they could look to osteopathy.

There are more than 800 graduates from the West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine that currently practice in state. 

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