Dr. Still developed osteopathy in the late 19th century. He had been trained as a medical doctor, but found that he could treat most diseases by palpating dysfunctional areas, and treating them with his hands. He called this new science Osteopathy, meaning to “begin with the bones.” By finding where the bones were not properly aligned and where they were not moving properly, it can guide the physician to the area of the body that needs to be treated, as they reflect where the forces of life are not moving properly. Notice that he “began with the bones,” but did not end there. In his writing, he constantly talked about joints, fascia, blood supply, nerves, internal organs, and lymphatic flow. Dr. Still, and his students, treated all of the known medical diseases of the day.
Classical Osteopathic Philosophy
A.T. Still’s fundamental concepts of osteopathy can be organized
in terms of health, disease, and patient care.
1. Health is a natural state of harmony.
2. The human body is a perfect machine created for health
and activity.
3. A healthy state exists as long as there is normal flow of
body fluids and nerve activity.
4. Disease is an effect of underlying, often multifactorial
5. Illness is often caused by mechanical impediments to normal
flow of body fluids and nerve activity.
6. Environmental, social, mental, and behavioral factors
contribute to the etiology of disease and illness.
Patient Care
7. The human body provides all the chemicals necessary for
the needs of its tissues and organs.
8. Removal of mechanical impediments allows optimal body
fluid flow, nerve function, and restoration of health.
9. Environmental, cultural, social, mental, and behavioral
factors need to be addressed as part of any management
10. Any management plan should realistically meet the needs
of the individual patient.