Frequently asked questions...

Below, you will find a number of answers to common questions as well as more detailed information about Osteopathy - things like practices, expectations, results, follow up and more.

What is an Osteopathic Physician and what type of training do they receive?

DO's hold the same unlimited practice rights as MD's in all 50 states—they are licensed in the same scope of Medical and Surgical specialties. Osteopathic training is nearly analogous in both length and content to MD's. DO's attend 4 years of Osteopathic medical school and then complete residency training in hospitals and clinics in their given specialty. Many DO's and MD's work as colleagues in a wide range of medical settings, and commonly refer to one another. DO's serve as commissioned officers in the medical corps, plus the Veterans Administration and Public Health Service, and they are recognized by the AMA as full-practice physicians. Participation in federal Medicare and Medicaid programs is also on an equal basis (though individual physicians may chose to opt-out of participation in such programs.)

What is Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine (OMM)?

Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine (OMM) refers to the manual modalities used in applying the principles of Osteopathy. All Osteopaths graduating from Osteopathic medical school have a foundation in OMM. After medical school, Osteopath Physicians can seek internship and residency training in any number of medical or surgical specialties, including Neuromuscular Medicine (NMM). Specialization in NMM involves a 3 year hospital based residency program. Osteopaths who chose to specialize in OMM can then become board-certified in Neuromuscular Medicine (NMM). OMM incorporates Osteopathic principles into a gentle hands-on approach that addresses restrictions in all the tissues — including the bones, muscles, fascia, organs, and fluids of the body. A thorough understanding of anatomy and physiology is fundamental to the work. OMM techniques vary from very gentle to more direct approaches, but all are applied with little force. Regardless of technique used, our patient's comfort and sense of well-being are the most important aspect of any treatment.

What is the difference between a D.O. and an M.D.?

In addition to covering the same standard training in the sciences and clinical medicine, osteopathic education also incorporates up to 500 hours of additional training in osteopathic philosophy and hands-on diagnosis and hands-on manual medicine. The osteopathic profession cooperates with all other branches of medical science. There are more than 60,000 osteopathic physicians in the US whose practices cover the range of specialties from internal medicine, pediatrics, and surgery. However, Osteopathy maintains its professional independence in order to sustain and develop osteopathic medicine as a unique and comprehensive system of health care.

Why don't more Osteopaths do hands-on manipulation?

Shortage of teachers who specialize in osteopathic manipulative medicine component. Limited continuity within osteopathic education: Education after the 2nd year of osteopathic school occurs in clinics and hospitals around the country where DO's spend time in traditional rotations such as pediatrics and surgery. Because of the shortage of osteopathic hospitals, much of a DO's training takes place in allopathic institutions, with MD mentors, and MD students who are unfamiliar with osteopathic philosophy and manipulation. This trend often continues through residency training. As the saying goes, "What we don't use, we lose." Thus, by the time many osteopaths are in practice, they have "lost touch" with how to efficiently incorporate osteopathic principles and practice. Shorter patient visits: Health care practices are often influenced by restrictions set forth by insurance practices that generally do not allocate time for patient visits to incorporate a traditional osteopathic evaluation and treatment. Lack of provider/institutional familiarity with osteopathic coding & billing

Can DOs be reimbursed by insurance companies for manual manipulation?

Sometimes — it depends on the insurance plan. However, because attaining reimbursement is increasingly time intensive and labor intensive, often with smaller percentages reimbursed, some physicians (both osteopathic and allopathic) are choosing to limit which insurance companies they work with, or forgo working with insurance all together. Physician, concierge or boutique practices are becoming more common in certain areas, a trend which reflects a creative outgrowth of physician frustration with the current insurance system and desire to focus on patient-centered care.

Is there a difference between Osteopathy and Cranial Osteopathy?

Per the Osteopathic Cranial Academy Website: "Physicians who practice Cranial Osteopathy recognize that primary respiration guides the function of every cell of the body. The Primary Respiratory Mechanism is not restricted to the cranium, spinal cord, dura and sacrum. Osteopathic physicians do not separate the body into individual parts, but treat the body as a whole. When working on any one part, the physician is in contact with all parts." Thus, because Osteopaths see the body as a whole, it is in some ways irrelevant or redundant to say "Cranial Osteopathy." However, some traditional hands-on Osteopaths do not do cranial work, and thus the term is applicable in distinguishing those Osteopaths who do study and incorporate cranial work into their practice.

What is the difference between Osteopathy and Cranio-Sacral Therapy (CST)?

Per the Osteopathic Cranial Academy Website: Osteopathic Manipulation "is a medical treatment applied by licensed physicians who have completed a thorough Osteopathic medical education and numerous years of additional training in this specialty. In the United States, only actively licensed physicians are permitted to diagnose and treat using [Cranial] Osteopathy. Cranio-Sacral Therapy™ requires little to no medical background. A single 24 hour course provides a certificate." Additionally, Cranio-Sacral Therapy limits study of the mechanism to the head, spine, and sacrum, while Osteopathic treatment addresses the whole body. A clear and concise chart of the differences is available on the Osteopathic Cranial Academy Website at:

What is the difference between an Osteopathic physician and a Chiropractor?

The main difference comes down to extent of training and scope of practice. A chiropractor is not a licensed physician and has not completed residency training in a hospital. The scope of practice is defined by, "including the diagnosing and locating of misaligned or displaced vertebrae and, through manual manipulation and adjustment of the spine and other skeletal structures, treating disorders of the human body. The practice of chiropractic does not include the use of drugs or surgery, or the practice of osteopathy, obstetrics, or any other branch of medicine." Chiropractic practice is mainly concerned with normalizing the alignment of the spine to create a harmonious relationship between the spinal column and the nervous system. Whereas, Osteopathic philosophy is based on the principles that Osteopathic treatment goes beyond spinal alignment and gives attention to the anatomy and physiology of the entire body. Furthermore, osteopathic training encourages getting to the root of the problem so that generally speaking, a person does not need to be treated multiple times a month for years. However, many conditions do require a number of follow-up visits and some chronic problems may require periodic follow-up.

Why do children tend to be especially responsive to osteopathic treatment?

Because children are so vital and quick to heal, osteopathic treatment can produce surprising results. Infants who suffer from birth trauma can potentially be spared life-long handicaps by being diagnosed and treated before the bones and fascia become set in a distorted pattern. However, the ability to heal persists throughout life, thus patients of all ages can benefit from this gentle treatment approach. This is especially true for those that are sensitive or when injury or pain might make other hands-on treatment approaches difficult or intolerable. What will happen during my initial and follow-up appointments? Initial visits are approximately 90 minutes and follow-up visits are 30-45 minutes. An initial visit involves a thorough interview, a general medical exam, followed by an Osteopathic structural exam and treatment. Patients are generally treated lying on their back, but may be treated seated, or side-lying. Accommodations can be made for individuals to maximize comfort. The need for follow-up appointments is based on each individual's unique needs and response to treatment.

What should I wear to my appointment?

Wear comfortable clothing (or bring some with you to your appointment). Blue jeans, skirts, and dresses are discouraged. Comfortable pants, sweats, or leggings work well. Also, please refrain from wearing perfumes or strong fragrances.

Post treatment: Is it normal to feel sore a day or two after treatment?

Yes. It is not uncommon for patients to report feeling mildly tired or sore after even a very gentle treatment. This soreness quickly resolves and is often combined with a greater sense of well-being.

What should I do after receiving an OMM treatment?

  • Drink lots of water
  • Don't do vigorous exercise (particularly jarring exercise such as jogging) or and physically labor intensive activities (such as moving furniture, or lifting heavy kids) for at lease 24 hours after treatment. More gentle exercise such as walking and swimming are generally okay.
  • Rest
  • Avoid alcohol for 24 hours

Does Dr. Woodrow recommend therapeutic exercises to complement Osteopathic treatment?

Yes. Dr. Woodrow may recommend stretches or exercises to help with healing and strengthening. However, for establishing a more complex rehab routine or exercise program, she may recommend physical therapy or working with a reputable personal trainer.

Does Dr. Woodrow incorporate nutrition and use of natural supplements?

Proper nutrition is a fundamental part of health and wellness. Dr. Woodrow has a basic foundation in nutrition. However, she does not currently offer in-depth nutritional consulting as part of her practice. Please go to the "LINKS" page of this website for a list of practitioners who specialize in nutrition.

Why doesn't Dr. Woodrow email?

It has been her experience that most problems are best addressed face to face. Many questions can only be answered after an examination. She recommends bringing a list of questions you would like addressed to your next appointment.

Where do the contacts come from on the RESOURCES page?

Many of these recommendations have come from either personal contacts or the high recommendations of friends and colleagues. It is a growing list and your input is greatly welcomed. Dr. Woodrow will update the list periodically. The body is a unit Structure and function are inter-related The body is self-healing Drink lots of water Don't do vigorous exercise (particularly jarring exercise such as jogging) or and physically labor intensive activities (such as moving furniture, or lifting heavy kids) for at lease 24 hours after treatment. More gentle exercise such as walking and swimming are generally okay. Rest Avoid alcohol for 24 hours


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Berkeley, CA 94705

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