GLOSSARY

 
 

Glossary of Terms



Acupuncture:  A type of alternative medicine that treats patients by insertion and manipulation of thin needles placed in acupuncture points in the body. There are about 400 acupuncture points and 20 meridians connecting most of the points. Acupuncture is a key component of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and other schools of Chinese Medicine that form the philosophical foundation this ancient healing art. Its general theory is based on the premise that bodily functions are regulated by the flow of a life force or energy called Qi (or chi). Acupuncture aims to correct imbalances in the flow of Qi by stimulation of acupuncture points, most of which are connected by channels known as meridians.



Allopathy or Allopathic Medicine:  A term coined by Samuel Hahnemann, MD, the founder of Homeopathy, to distinguish the distinct philosophy of Homeopathy from that of orthodox or regular medicine of the 19th century. As a philosophy, allopathy defines health as the absence of disease. The term used to describe standard, conventional, orthodox medicine, or Western medicine. It is also the system of medical education that trains an MD (medical doctor). Osteopathic Physicians are trained in all aspects of allopathic medicine and have additional training in Osteopathic philosophy and manual medicine.



Alternative Medicine, Alternative Treatment, or Alternative Therapy:  Healing arts not taught in traditional Western medical schools or in an allopathic medical education curriculum. Alternative medicine is used in place of conventional medicine and promotes options to standard medical care. It covers a broad range of healing philosophies, approaches, and therapies. Alternative medicine is semantically different from complementary medicine. If alternative medicine or therapy is used alone or instead of conventional medicine, it is called "alternative" medicine. If the treatment or therapy is done along with or in addition to conventional medicine, it is referred to as complementary medicine as the two practices complement each other. Because Osteopathic philosophy and manipulation are taught in the context of an American medical school model whose graduates have an unlimited license to practice medicine and surgery, it has been suggested that Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine is not “alternative medicine” but is a part of American conventional medicine. See Complementary Medicine.



Ambulatory Care:  Medical care including diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation that is provided on an outpatient basis. Outpatient medicine is performed in an office or clinic setting as opposed to inpatient medicine which is performed in a hospital.



Andrew Taylor Still (1828-1917):  The allopathic physician and surgeon who founded Osteopathy. He stated that he discovered Osteopathy in 1874. He then spent the next 18 years empirically studying alternative ways to treat disease by the use of Osteopathic Manipulation. Dr. Still founded the first Osteopathic Medical School in 1892 in Kirksville, Missouri.



Ayurvedic Medicine or Ayurveda:  A system of traditional medicine native to India and a system of alternative medicine practiced in the United States. Ayurveda stresses a balance of three elemental energies or humors called doshas : vata (air or wind), pitta (fire), and kapha (earth). According to ayurvedic medical theory, these three substances are important for health, because when they exist in equal quantities and balance, the body will be healthy, and when they are not in equal amounts, the body will be unhealthy in various ways. Ayurvedic treatment is based upon balancing the three doshas by the use of herbs, a diet prescription, and specific hatha yoga postures.



Board Certified:  Board certified in medicine or surgery means that a DO or MD has completed an accredited post-graduate (after medical school) training program and has taken and passed a medical or surgical specialty examination.



Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM): 

A group of diverse medical and health care systems, practices, and products that are not generally considered part of conventional medicine. CAM is the formal term utilized by the National Institute of Health (NIH) to describe a defined set of healing arts that are not allopathic medicine. See Complementary Medicine and Alternative Medicine.



Chinese Medicine:  A system of traditional medicine native to China and a system of alternative medicine practiced in the United States. Chinese Medicine is based on a tradition of more than 2,000 years, including various forms of herbal medicine, acupuncture, massage, exercise (Qigong), and dietary therapy. See Acupuncture.



Complementary Medicine, Treatment, or Therapy:

A group of diagnostic and therapeutic disciplines that are used together with conventional, or allopathic, medicine. It covers a broad range of healing philosophies, approaches, and therapies. Complementary medicine is different from alternative medicine. Whereas complementary medicine is used together with conventional medicine, alternative medicine is used in place of conventional medicine. If alternative medicine or therapy is used alone or instead of conventional medicine, it is called "alternative" medicine. If the treatment or therapy is done along with or in addition to conventional medicine, it is referred to as complementary medicine as the two practices complements each other. An example of a complementary treatment is adding Osteopathic Manipulation to help treat the side effects of chemotherapy or radiation therapy in cancer patients; or using Osteopathic Manipulation with antibiotics to treat pneumonia; or integrating Osteopathic Manipulation in the treatment of cardiac arrhythmias. See Alternative Medicine.



Connected Oneness:  One of the terms utilized by Andrew Taylor Still (the founder of Osteopathy) to describe what we today call holism. Holism, in the Osteopathic sense, was traditionally called: connected oneness, harmony, united in form and function, or the whole being, the whole person, and the whole body. The goal of an Osteopathic Treatment is to help the patient achieve harmony or connected oneness—or what we now call holism. See Holism and Andrew Taylor Still.



Conventional Medicine:  Standard medicine, conventional medicine, orthodox medicine, or Western medicine, also called allopathy (or allopathic medicine), are all interchangeable terms that mean the same thing. It is the system of health care taught in Western medical schools and is the dominant form of medicine and surgery in most of the world. See Allopathic Medicine.



DO:  See Doctor of Osteopathy or  Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine



Doctor of Osteopathy (DO):  The traditional degree and term used to describe and American DO. The American Osteopathic Association has determined that the term “Doctor of Osteopathy” is now antiquated and the preferred term is Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine. In common usage, the term Doctor of Osteopathy is still frequently utilized to identify a DO.



Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (DO):  The current standardized way to describe an American DO that is promoted by the American Osteopathic Association. In common usage the terms Doctor of Osteopathy and Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine are interchangeable.



Family Medicine:  Family Medicine is a medical specialty, in which physicians provides ongoing and comprehensive health care for the individual patients and families. It is a “general” specialty that has expertise in every bodily systems and it integrates scientific, clinical and the behavioral sciences. Family Physicians treat patients of all ages, both sexes, each organ system and every disease entity. To be called a specialist in Family Medicine, a DO or MD must be residency trained and Board Certified.



Family Physician (FP):  A Board Certified specialist in Family Medicine.



Family Practitioner (FP):  Practitioner is a general term applied to any health care provider offering direct patient care. A Family Practitioner is a DO or MD who is a Board Certified specialist in Family Medicine.



FP:  See Family Physician or Family Practitioner.



GP:  See General Practitioner.



General Practitioner (GP):  Prior to 1969 all family doctors were known as general practitioners. Family Medicine became a formal specialty in 1969, and after that point family doctors were referred to as Family Physicians practicing Family Medicine. The term general practitioner is still applies to a physician who has a general practice but has only completed a one-year internship, has not enrolled in a residency program, and is not Board Certified in Family Medicine. The term “GP” is still commonly used to describe a family doctor.



General Practice:  A DO or MD who practices general non-specialty medicine, has completed an internship but has not enrolled in a Family Medicine residency and is not Board Certified.



Generalist:  A physician who practices one of the primary care specialties or practices in a field oriented toward general medicine as opposed to specialty or subspecialty medicine. E.g. Family Medicine, Pediatrics, General Internal Medicine, or Emergency Medicine.



Health Care Practitioner:  It is an indistinct term with broad applications. Any licensed, certified, or unlicensed individual practicing any form of health care. This can include fully licensed physicians (DO or MD), limited licensed practitioners (Dentists, Podiatrists. Nurses, Physician Assistants, Nurse Practitioners, Midwives, Naturopaths, Phychologists, Social Workers, Chiropractors, Physical Therapists, Occupational Therapists, Accupuncturists), or certified practitioners (massage therapists, Rolfers, Trager workers, Feldenkrais practitioners, lay homeopaths, etc.). And others . . .



Herbal Medicine or Herbalism:  Also called botanical medicine or phytomedicine, refers to using a plant's seeds, berries, roots, leaves, bark, or flowers for medicinal purposes. Herbalism has a long tradition of use outside of conventional medicine.



Holism: J. C. Smuts, a South African scholar in 1926, first conceptualized holism. In his book, “Holism and Evolution,” Smuts created the word holism from the Greek word holos, which means whole. He then outlined the philosophy of holism, which reiterates Aristotle’s philosophy of “the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.” According to Smuts, the mechanical putting together of parts does not account for the integrated characteristics or connected function of a living and unified holistic human being. He described holism as a universal phenomenon and a recognizable expression of nature. In medicine, the philosophy of holism accommodates somebody’s physical, mental, and social conditions, not just physical symptoms in the treatment of illness. In alternative medicine, the integration of body, emotions, and spiritual elements in are important aspects patient care. In Osteopathy, holism is a principle of treatment and a perceptual field that is connected and integrated. One of Andrew Taylor Still’s terms for holism was connected oneness. The concept of holism is inherent in Osteopathic philosophy and is taught in Osteopathic Medical Schools. See Connected Oneness.



Holistic Medicine, Holistic Healing:  There are many definitions of holistic medicine and as a term it has been used appropriately and inappropriately in a clinical setting. Unfortunately, holistic medicine is often used as a marketing tool or is just a platitude rather than a guiding philosophy in medicine.


Definition: Holistic medicine is not a method but an approach to wellness and integrated patient care. The basic philosophy is to treat the entire person, not just the pain or disease. The goal is to enhance wellness on all levels by including analysis of physical, nutritional, environmental, emotional, social, spiritual and lifestyle values. Holistic medicine includes an emphasis on education and patient personal responsibility in the treatment of disease and to achieve well-being.



Homeopathy:  A system of healing practiced by physicians (DO/MD), non-physician practitioners (ND, DC, LAc), or lay individuals based upon the concept that disease can be treated with remedies capable of producing the same symptoms in healthy people as in the disease itself. Homeopathy was invented by the German physician Samuel Hahnemann, MD (1755-1843). Hahnemann discovered that by diluting plants, mineral compounds, drugs, and organisms in a standardized manner one could unlock the true essence of that substance. The process of dilution and succession (shaking) is called potentizing. The more dilute the compound the more powerful the potentially healing qualities. The training to become a homeopath is diverse. One can practice homeopathy with a home-study course or participate in part-time or full-time extensive training programs.



Hospitalist:  A new medical specialty founded in the late 1990s. A specialty organized specifically around hospital medicine. Hospitalists are comprised of Board Certified Family Physicians or Internists who exclusively or primarily practice in a hospital environment.



Indigenous Healing or Indigenous Medicine:

The traditional healing practices of native or aboriginal peoples.



Integrative Medicine:  Like holistic medicine, integrative medicine can be difficult to define or has too many diverse or vague definitions. Also, as a term it has been used appropriately and inappropriately in a clinical setting. Integrative medicine is also frequently used as a marketing tool or is just a platitude rather than a guiding philosophy in medicine.


Definition: Integrative medicine joins together the therapies or systems of alternative medicine with conventional medicine. As defined by the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine at the National Institutes of Health, integrative medicine "combines mainstream medical therapies and CAM therapies for which there is some high-quality scientific evidence of safety and effectiveness."



Manipulative Medicine or Manual Medicine:  Generic terms indicating any system or form of treatment that uses manipulation, physical medicine, manual therapy, or hands-on healing. It often denotes a physician that incorporates manipulative techniques into their medical practice and can be synonymous with physical medicine. However, the terms manual medicine, manual therapy, manipulative medicine, and manipulative therapy are often used interchangeably and some consider to be synonyms.



MD:  See Medical Doctor



Medical Doctor (MD):  The degree granted to a graduate of a standard, orthodox, conventional, or allopathic medical school.



Mind-Body Medicine:  A holistic approach to medicine that is concerned with the ways that the mind and emotions influence and interact with the body and physical health and vice versa.



Natural Remedies:  Any form of treatment that does not use allopathic prescription drugs or surgery. It is an indistinct term with broad applications that has no standardized use.



Natural Medicine:  An indistinct term with broad applications that has no standardized use. In general, any form of diagnosis and treatment that is not conventional medicine. It is often used interchangeably with the terms alternative medicine, holistic medicine, and complementary medicine. See alternative medicine, holistic medicine, and complementary medicine.



Nutraceutical: The term nutraceutical was coined in the 1990's by Dr. Stephen DeFelice. He defined nutraceutical as: “A nutraceutical is any substance that is a food or a part of a food and provides medical or health benefits, including the prevention and treatment of disease. Such products may range from isolated nutrients, dietary supplements and specific diets to genetically engineered designer foods, herbal products, and processed foods such as cereals, soups and beverages. It is important to note that this definition applies to all categories of food and parts of food, ranging from dietary supplements such as folic acid, used for the prevention of spina bifida, to chicken soup, taken to lessen the discomfort of the common cold. This definition also includes a bio-engineered designer vegetable food, rich in antioxidant ingredients, and a stimulant functional food or pharmafood.” Since the term was coined, its meaning has been modified. Health Canada defines nutraceutical as: “a product isolated or purified from foods, and generally sold in medicinal forms not usually associated with food and demonstrated to have a physiological benefit or provide protection against chronic disease.”



ND:  Naturopathic Doctor. See Naturopathy



Naturopath (ND):  See Naturopathy



Naturopathy:  An independent school of healing developed in the early 20th century partially by the American Osteopath, Benjamin Luse, DO. It is a system of healing that combines many therapeutic approaches including hydrotherapy, colonics, acupuncture, homeopathy, herbal remedies, supplements and vitamins, nutrition, manual therapies, and massage. In most states Naturopaths have a limited license to practice non-allopathic medicine. In some states they have an expanded license to offer injections, deliver babies, and provide limited primary care services.



Objective Medicine:  The objective part of western medicine uses of science, linear thinking, and logic. Objective medicine is dominated by the use of surgery, scientifically proven medications, lab tests, and imaging tests such as, MRI, x-rays, and CAT scans.



Objective Osteopathy:  Like objective medicine, the objective aspect of Osteopathy uses of science, linear thinking, and logic. Objective Osteopathy uses surgery, scientifically proven medications, lab tests, and imaging tests such as, MRI, x-rays, and CAT scans. In the context of an Osteopathic Manipulative Treatment, objective Osteopathy includes biomechanics as well as anatomic and physiologic functions that can be measured and reproduced



OMM:  See Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine



OMT:  See Osteopathic Manipulative Treatment



Orthodox Medicine:  See Conventional Medicine and Western Medicine.



Osteopath:  A DO who utilizes and integrates Osteopathic Manipulation and Osteopathic Philosophy in to his/her clinical practice.



Osteopathic Manipulation:  The unique brand of manipulative medicine practiced by a DO.



Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine (OMM):  A less commonly used term used for Osteopathic Manipulation. See Osteopathic Manipulative Treatment.



Osteopathic Manipulative Treatment (OMT):  The formal term used to indicate type of manipulative medicine utilized by a DO. The acronym OMT is most commonly used by Osteopathic Physicians, research articles, and insurance companies when describing the manual medicine performed by a DO. When referring to OMT with patients, it is common for a DO to shorten the term and call OMT a “treatment.”



Osteopathic Medicine:See Osteopathy.



Osteopathic Physician:  The accepted term utilized by the American Osteopathic Association to describe an American DO.



Osteopathic Treatment:  Osteopathic Treatment is a comprehensive approach to health care. Osteopathic Treatment implies the inseparable interrelationship between Osteopathic philosophy, palpation and perceptual skills, and Osteopathic Manipulation. Together these three components form the heart and soul of what it means to be an Osteopath.



Osteopathy: Osteopathy is a comprehensive system of healing based upon a clinical philosophy that utilizes a hands-on form of manual medicine called Osteopathic Manipulative Treatment or OMT. Osteopathy was discovered and developed by a frontier physician named Andrew Taylor Still in the late 1800s. Osteopathy is not just a system of manual medicine; it is a practical and intelligent means of being with a patient in a holistic way. As originally taught in the late 1800s, Osteopathy aimed to give a new definition of the causes of disease and then offered an innovative method of treatment. Osteopathy looks at disease from a different viewpoint. The body has the ability to self-repair and adapt creatively in the presence of disease and injury. During an Osteopathic Treatment, the forces of self-repair are accessed through the connection made between the Osteopath’s hands and the patient’s body. From a therapeutic point of view, Osteopathy is a method of treating disease in which the healing agents are the natural fluids and forces contained within the body itself. In essence, Osteopathic Treatment utilizes the materials and methods from Life itself to do the work of healing. See Osteopathic Philosophy section of this website.



PCP:  See Primary Care Physician or Primary Care Provider



Physiatry or Physiatrist:  The abbreviated term for a specialist in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (PM&R). See Physical Medicine



Physical Medicine:  The specialty branch of allopathic medicine that deals with the treatment, prevention, and diagnosis of disease by essentially physical means, including the use diagnostic tools such as Electromyography or Nerve Conduction Velocity testing, and treatment interventions including therapeutic injections, the use of prescription medicine, manipulation, and exercise rehabilitation, Also called Physiatry or Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (PM&R). It also can generically refer to any practitioner who utilizes manipulation, manual therapies, massage, exercise, the utilization of mechanical devices such as traction or ultrasound, or the application of modalities such as heat, cold, electricity, or water therapies.



Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation:  See Physical Medicine



Preventive Medicine:  That part of the medical and alternative medical systems aimed at preventing disease.



Primary Care:The field of primary care includes the primary care physician (Family Physicians, Pediatricians and General Internists) and some non-physician providers. Primary care as defined by the American Academy of Family Physicians “is that care provided by physicians specifically trained for and skilled in comprehensive first contact and continuing care for persons with any undiagnosed sign, symptom, or health concern (the "undifferentiated" patient) not limited by problem origin (biological, behavioral, or social), organ system, or diagnosis. Primary care includes health promotion, disease prevention, health maintenance, counseling, patient education, diagnosis and treatment of acute and chronic illnesses in a variety of health care settings (e.g., office, inpatient, critical care, long-term care, home care, day care, etc.). Primary care is performed and managed by a personal physician often collaborating with other health professionals, and utilizing consultation or referral as appropriate.”


Primary Care Physician (PCP):  A primary care physician (Family Physicians, Pediatricians and General Internists) is a specifically trained generalist physician who provides definitive care to any patient at the point of first contact and takes ongoing responsibility for providing the patient's care. The primary care physician is the personal physician for individual patients and families. See Primary Care.



Primary Care Practitioner (PCP):  An all-purpose term used to denote a physician (DO or MD) or a non-physician (Physician’s Assistant or Family Nurse Practitioner).



Specialist:  A physician (DO or MD) whose practice is limited to a particular branch of medicine or surgery, especially one who is Board Certified, such as pulmonologist, cardiologist, urologist, gynecologist, orthopedic surgeon, etc.



Standard Medicine: Standard medicine, conventional medicine, orthodox medicine, or Western medicine, also called allopathy (or allopathic medicine), are all interchangeable terms that mean the same thing. It is the system of health care taught in Western medical schools and is the dominant form of medicine and surgery in most of the world. See Allopathic Medicine.



Subjective Medicine:  The subjective part of western medicine has no scientific foundation but is based upon practical and authentic person-to-person interactions. Subjective medicine uses what works for an individual rather than treating based upon rigid rules. The subjective aspects of medicine respect that the art of healing is inseparable from the science of evidence-based medicine.



Subjective Osteopathy:  The subjective aspect of Osteopathy has no scientific foundation but is based upon a method of perception and interaction with a patient. There are two distinct and interrelated ways of perceiving during Osteopathic diagnosis and treatment. Objective Osteopathy accesses the material field, which is tangible and contains the biomechanical elements that are formed by the palpable anatomy and physical functions that are objective and can be measured. Subjective Osteopathy accesses the non-material field, which is invisible and refers to the subjective bioenergetic elements that underlie the material form. The non-material field is the expression of subtle functions or inherent forces. The material and non-material fields coexist simultaneously and are unified in a dynamic state of connected oneness. The subjective aspects of Osteopathy respect that the art of healing is inseparable from the science of evidence-based medicine.



Subspecialist:  A narrow field of medicine or surgery within a specialty, such as pediatric dermatology, thoracic surgery, urologic oncologist, etc.



Supplements:  A generic term that includes the therapeutic use of vitamins, herbs or botanical medicines, minerals, nutritional agents, and nutraceuticals.



Unlimited License (to practice medicine and surgery): The license granted to an MD or an American DO which gives the physician or surgeon an unrestricted legal ability to practice medicine and surgery. Physicians and surgeons are medical practitioners who treat illness and injury by prescribing medication, performing diagnostic tests and evaluations, performing surgery, and providing other medical services and advice. Physicians and surgeons are highly trained and duly authorized by law to practice medicine. Within the United States, individual State statutes delineate requirements for a license to practice medicine. To obtain a license, an applicant must demonstrate requisite education and knowledge. A college degree and graduation from an accredited medical school typically fulfills the education requirement, and passing a state-licensing exam demonstrates an applicant's skills. State law determines who may sit for an exam and typically limits the number of tries an applicant has to pass the exam. Specialists, such as cardiologists, ophthalmologists, pediatricians, and neurosurgeons, must usually pass further exams beyond the initial licensing exam.



Watchful Waiting: A diagnostic and therapeutic strategy also known as expectant management, observation, surveillance-only management. Watchful waiting is an accepted form of medical management where the patient is closely monitored but treatment is withheld until symptoms appear or change.



Western Medicine:  Standard medicine, conventional medicine, orthodox medicine, or Western medicine, also called allopathy (or allopathic medicine), are all interchangeable terms that mean the same thing. It is the system of health care taught in Western medical schools and is the dominant form of medicine and surgery in most of the world. See Allopathic Medicine.



Wholism:Practically speaking there is no difference between the terms holism and wholism. From a grammatical point of view holism is the most accurate term. See Holism.