The Osteopathic Approach During the 1918 Influenza Pandemic, Featuring Newly Analyzed Case Reports

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Osteopathic physicians played a pivotal role in treating patients suffering from the H1N1 influenza A virus of the 1918 Influenza Pandemic. This article focuses on case reports and questionnaire answers from the Journal of the American Osteopathic Association (JAOA), now the Journal of Osteopathic Medicine (JOM), and Osteopathic Physician concerning the modalities, techniques, and efficacy of osteopathic treatments of the 1918 pandemic. There are 19,565 patients who are represented in this analysis. The results are compared to the often-cited 110,120 patient cases reported by the JOM in 1920. Several different approaches, including lymphatic and visceral techniques, were widely used at the time, and their historic incorporation into patient treatment is explored. There is a discussion of the geographic location and characteristics of the practices. Statistical breakdown of mortality rate, the most commonly used approaches, somatic dysfunctions commonly treated, physician anecdotes, and other common remedies used by osteopathic physicians, are noted additionally. A comparison is done of the literature regarding the osteopathic approach for COVID-19. The newly analyzed case reports in this article demonstrate a similar mortality rate as in the 1920 JAOA article and illustrate the geographical distribution, treatment approaches, and personal stories of osteopaths during the pandemic.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)9-16
Number of pages8
JournalAAO Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2021


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