Multicenter Osteopathic Pneumonia Study of the Elderly (MOPSE) – OMT Techniques

In this era of Covid-19, the world struggles to find ways to minimize the viruses’ morbidity and mortality. This instructional video provides a rationale for and demonstrations on how to perform osteopathic manipulative techniques for people suffering from viral respiratory syndromes.

The Multicenter Osteopathic Pneumonia Study of the Elderly (MOPSE) was a 21st-century sentinel study that provided an approach based on the profession’s published experience. This video is offered to give a refresher to those with formal osteopathic training to have a frame of reference for performing patient-specific OMT within the context of a sequence of techniques based on osteopathic principles and past publications.

Please note that in the current pandemic, these techniques need to be performed by clinicians wearing appropriate isolation gear to help stop the spread of the infection.

The MOPSE clinical trial was funded by a consortium of foundations, including the Foundation for Osteopathic Health Services, Osteopathic Heritage Foundation, Brentwood Foundation, Colorado Springs Osteopathic Foundation, Muskegon General Osteopathic Foundation, Northwest Oklahoma Osteopathic Foundation, Osteopathic Founders Foundation, Osteopathic Institute of the South, and Quad City Osteopathic Foundation.

Publications related to MOPSE.

1. Noll, D.R., Degenhardt, B.F., Morley, T.F. et al. Efficacy of osteopathic manipulation as an adjunctive treatment for hospitalized patients with pneumonia: a randomized controlled trial. Osteopath Med Prim Care 4, 2 (2010).

2. Noll DR, Degenhardt BF, Johnson JC. Multicenter Osteopathic Pneumonia Study in the Elderly: Subgroup Analysis on Hospital Length of Stay, Ventilator-Dependent Respiratory Failure Rate, and In-hospital Mortality Rate. J Am Osteopath Assoc 2016;116(9):574–587. doi:

3. Noll DR, Degenhardt BF, Fossum C, Hensel K. Clinical and Research Protocol for Osteopathic Manipulative Treatment of Elderly Patients With Pneumonia. J Am Osteopath Assoc 2008;108(9):508–516.

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Thank you for the video. A great reminder of techniques, duration and sequence.

My colleagues and I work in the hospital setting and MDs, PAs, RNs love what we do!

Might OMT used early as an adjunctive therapy for COVID-19 patients conceivably reduce the need for ventilators? What is your opinion?

I have drafted the following letter to The Boston Globe and plan to forward the basic research I’ve done to the medical reporters at The Boston Globe for a possible feature article. R. Kendrick Smith was both an MD and a DO, which might help bridge the osteopathic-allopathic divide.

To the editor:

An article in The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association (January 1920) by Boston physician R. Kendrick Smith, MD, DO, reports that the mortality rate during the 1918 flu pandemic for those treated with osteopathic manipulative medicine (OMM) was 1/40th that of those treated with conventional medicine; for patients who developed pneumonia, the mortality rate with OMM was 1/3rd that of conventional medicine. These figures may be distorted by under-reporting of deaths that didn’t take place in hospitals staffed by allopathic physicians, as Donna Mueller, DO points out in “The 2012-2013 Influenza Epidemic and the Role of Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine.” However, clinical and research studies have shown that lymphatic pump techniques can enhance the lymphatic and immune systems and benefit patients with pneumonia.

Boston can be proud of the role that Dr. Smith played in calling to the world’s attention the efficacy of osteopathic techniques during the influenza pandemic a century ago. I hope the Boston medical community will embrace OMM as an adjunctive therapy for COVID-19, possibly reducing deaths and shortening hospitalization times. Indeed, the Western University NMM/OMM department is conducting a nationwide survey of OMM instructors to ascertain which techniques they consider safest to use by healthcare workers with limited PPE.

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