The osteopathy of Still, Sutherland and other osteopaths who served as “Master” for generations of Americans and Europeans osteopaths , present concepts which require to be re-examined in the light of modern science. At the time of the “evidence-based medicine”, osteopathic medicine must use scientific methodology to be validated and to fulfill the requirements of the public authorities, to finally receive the place which is his in Europe.
The evidence-based paradigm leads all sciences to rigorous models of interpretation of the reality, a search for uniform and standard protocols when carrying out scientific work, along with determination and constant reviewing by researchers of the same subject matter.
In the health sciences, nursing care has at times moved away from scientific tests, navigating in the dangerous waters of empiricism and the absence of objective, valid, comparable and commonly-accepted data. This fact has had and continues to have special relevance in disciplines like osteopathy, chiropractice, physiotherapy and occupational therapy. The causes of this asynchrony with regard to the pharmacopoeia or medicine are due to many factors including the absence of financial support, public and institutional disinterest and the lack of exploiting the possibilities of each science.
Osteopathic Medicine as a treatment and medicine system, using the official terms of the Medical Subject Headings, has started along the thorny path towards identifying the true therapeutic capacity of the techniques and protocol it proclaims. The way is narrow, dangerous and full of obstacles and difficulties which crop up but the need to make progress in this direction, an inquiring mind and patience all help to bring about recovery after each stumble.
With the firm intention of collaborating towards the cause, the Madrid School of Osteopathy (Escuela de Osteopatía de Madrid – EOM), member of the Scientific European Federation of Osteopaths, has been developing its Research, Development and Innovation Department over the last few years. Forming part of this Department are professionals, both internal and external to the EOM itself, who are fully qualified in the osteopathic, medical, epidemiological and statistics fields. The mission of these professionals is to work towards ambitious future objectives, which are built up step by step through hard work and performance. Some of the projects developed and maintained by the R+D+I Department over the last few years include the following:
- Management of the Diploma in Osteopathy (D.O.) in the 6th year: 6th-year-students at the EOM are trained, tutored, guided and assessed in the preparation of their scientific work, necessary for obtaining the D.O. which grants them international recognition and homologation. All of the studies are in line with and are adapted to internationally-accepted quality standards, through standards such as CONSORT, STARD, etc.
- Research Laboratory: Generating knowledge by carrying out leading research lines in the international field forms part of the daily task of the members of the Department. The allocation of material is abundant and in all cases has the appropriate validation and usual standards. Not only is the laboratory the physical and instrumental place where quality studies are carried out, but it also contributes to training future researchers, a job sector lacking at present which is preparing to confidently meet the upcoming challenges which Osteopathic Medicine will have to face. Moreover, given the lack of specific instruments designed for studying the therapeutic properties of Osteopathy, patents are being developed in the laboratory to facilitate the acquisition of data from different types of study.
The goals of the EOM’s research department are to supervise and carry out serious protocols of methodology applicable to osteopathic medicine, as well in fundamental sciences as in epidemiology, this with the participation of researchers recognized in their discipline, osteopaths, doctors and another PhD.
Special consideration is given to certain central themes, such as the objective evaluation of osteopathic practice.
Our work focuses on the study of the reproductivity of osteopathic tests (sensitivity and specificity), as well as the evaluation of osteopathic techniques using scientific criteria. In the near future, we hope to begin work on osteopathic epidemiology and establish osteopathic treatment protocols.
- Dissemination of the results: The world of scientific knowledge should be open and dynamic. To this end, the Research Department seeks to ensure that the results generated have a firm opportunity of being made public. It uses a variety of means of dissemination with diverse terms, which range from integrating the latest advances in research into the EOM’s teaching programmes, holding National and International Scientific Conferences, and the corresponding annual events of the International Committees where D.O.s of a high enough quality are examined and defended. The results of this process mean that today we can affirm, without fear of being mistaken, that the EOM boasts international recognition and prestige through the articles extracted from the studies carried out with its support which are published in national and international journals.
- Journal Scientific Osteopathy: As a tool for disseminating results, the journal promoted by the SEFO stands out on its own. The effort of launching a periodic publication in the publishing market, with the difficulties that involves, initially supposes a responsibility which was assumed, through collaboration with Elsevier-Doyma, the review “Scientific Osteopathy”, and maintaining with a new free online scientific journal in English language and Spanish, the European Journal in Osteopathy and Clinical Related Research. The composition of the editorial and scientific committees endorses the quality of its contents and the certain future success of a young publication, which is born out of hopes and dreams and international vocation.
- The SEFO-Research Web: This is the last Project, but not any less ambitious for all that. The web offers unique possibilities for all the professionals, students, patients, institutions and administrations wanting to know about and be totally up-to-date with all the latest activities undertaken by the EOM in its different fields of action. Continuous updating, the diversity of subject matters and the quality of the contents are the main strengths of an on-line publication which offers rigour and hard work as its flagship.
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- Hard work
Director of the EOM’s R+D+i Department