Osteopathy is a system of diagnosis and therapy based on the interrelationship of anatomy and physiology. It is applied to the treatment of disease, as well as the prevention of disease, and is based on the fact that the body functions as one harmonious system, not as a collection of separate parts.
The body is capable of making its own remedies against disease given that it has normal movement, favorable environment, and adequate nutrition. The premise of this understanding is applied to the treatment and healing of the entire person, rather than responding only to their symptoms in a crisis-oriented, one-spot approach.
The Founder of Osteopathy: Andrew Taylor Still (1828-1917)
A relatively unknown medical maverick of his time, Dr. Still was disheartened by orthodox practices and particularly shocked at the mutilating surgeries he witnessed as a volunteer army surgeon, but it was the loss of three of his own children in the 1864 meningitis epidemic that moved him to “fully realize the inefficacy of drugs… (and the) gross ignorance on the part of the medical profession.”
Steeled with determination the following ten years of his life were spent delving into medical books and fervently studying the human anatomy. He wanted to understand and enhance nature’s diverse capacities, and prove that the body was capable of its own curative powers. Dr. Still developed the ability to change physiology with the use of his own hands, and as his skills evolved and his reputation grew, train routes were redirected and boarding houses built to accommodate the numbers of people traveling to the remote area of Kirksville, Missouri in search of his treatments. His “magic” manual manipulation produced the most renowned results and Dr. Still came to regard himself as a mechanic of the living body. With his discoveries a new medical science was born.