Of the various systems and methods in healthcare, osteopathy takes a different approach. Principles that are followed by those who practice osteopathy include the following- the belief that the human body is one unit, and that structure and functions of said body are interrelated. There is also the belief that the body contains self-regulating systems which permit the body to defend and mend itself. Principles of osteopathy also hold that changes in the environment may triumph over the body's capability for self regulation when this comes about, disease results. Nerves are said to hold a decisive role in controlling body fluids. There are believed to be constituents of diseases which reveal themselves contributors to the overall state of the body.
Physicians who practice osteopathy employ manipulative therapies in order to assuage tension headaches and lower back pain. Some use osteopathy to help control medical conditions like ear infections, asthma, pulmonary infection and menstrual discomfort. Osteopathic physicians, in order to treat disease, also undertake the tracing of changes in body function over time. With this, understanding of what occurred to alter the relationship between structure and function is gained.