Osteopathy is a form of manual medicine. The aim of treatment is to bring the body as a whole into greater balance and alignment, to gently free areas of the body that have become restricted, thereby reducing stress on the joints and improving overall physiological function and vitality. Osteopaths use a range of approaches and techniques depending on what is appropriate for the patient at that time.
Osteopathy was founded by an American frontier physician Dr. Andrew Taylor Still (1828–1917).
Dr. Still based osteopathy on his discovery of the intimate relationship between the structure of the body and its function. Recognizing also that the body has its own innate ability for repair and self-healing, he found out that by correcting any structural misalignments, no matter how small, that this would ensure proper blood supply, venous drainage, lymphatic supply and nerve impulses, enabling the body to heal itself by creating the right environment for healthy physiological function. Dr. Still found out that if all compartments and parts of the body had freedom of motion, then there could be proper interchange of fluids throughout the body, and that this was fundamental to health.
Dr. Still had become disillusioned with the medicine of the day, which seemed to poison people or worse. In 1864 three of Dr. Still’s daughters died within several weeks of each other of meningitis, and he could do nothing to help them. Devastated, he vowed from that time to find a different form of medicine. After years of study, research and detailed observations of nature, osteopathy was born, in 1874. He began successfully to treat all sorts of diseases, from typhoid to sciatica by using his hands, and his reputation soon spread far and wide. In 1892 Dr. Still set up the first osteopathic medical school in Kirksville, Missouri, and by the time he died in 1917, he had trained over 6,000 osteopaths.
For more information on A.T Still and osteopathy go to: www.cranialacademy.org.