Everyone's heard about "Internal Medicine," which is generally thought of as "regular medicine." Manual Medicine is quite ancient, but not very well known. You might think of manual medicine as "External Medicine, " in that manual medicine doctors do things on the outside of the body that affect the inside. Manual medicine is not intended to be a panacea for all the ills of humankind. But that doesn't mean that manual medicine should be thought of in isolation from "regular" medicine.
There's a slight difference in focus between "regular" medicine and manual medicine. Regular doctors are certainly interested in disease processes, but they tend to focus on things like blood or UA test results, tissue pathology or imaging techniques. Manual medicine, on the other hand, tends to be more focused on function, especially of the musculoskeletal system, which composes more than 60% of the body. When you visit a manual medicine physician, most testing will examine your range of motion, assymetry of related parts of your body, and abnormalities in the textures of the tissues, such as swelling or spasm.
Many manual medicine physicians look for changes in the body's structure that may have their origins in abnormalities of the body's organ systems. Other practitioners focus on pain relief. Still others are more intereested in releasing or normalizing restricted areas of the musculoskeletal system. In general, Chiropractors, myself included, fall into this last group.
When used appropriately, manual medicine has been found to be very effective in reducing musculoskeletal pain and increasing a patient's function and wellness.