A Little History

Osteopathy was founded in 1874 by Dr. Andrew Taylor Still. A.T. Still was trained as a doctor and practiced during the American Civil War. In 1864 he lost his wife, three of his children, and an adopted child to spinal meningitis. Feeling disillusioned by “modern” medicine for not having the ability to save his family he spent the rest of his life studying human anatomy to discover alternate ways to heal the body. He came to the conclusion that if “the creator” made us perfect, then if every part of the body was where it should be we will have health. If the body is not in its proper position we have an alteration (of flow of blood, lymphatics, nerve impulses) then dis-ease is the result. He coined the name Osteopathy from the Greek words osteo– bone, and pathos– suffering. His belief was the the root of disease and dysfunction is rooted in a “disorder” in the musculoskeletal systems.

In 1892 A.T Still founded the first school of Osteopathy. He was one of the first doctors to believe in preventitive medicine and that we should look at treating the root cause of disease not just the expression or symptom.

Osteopathy is based on the belief that:

  1. the body is a complete unit, body, mind, and spirit
  2. the body has the inate ability to self-heal as well as self-regulate
  3. the structures of the body and the functions are reciprocally interrelated
  4. rational treatment of the body is based on the understanding the prior 3 principles

Classical Osteopathy is rooted in the original teachings of A.T. Still. It looks at the entire body and how everything is connected and interrelated. There is no formula for treatment, instead each person and each treatment is assessed and treated on an individual basis. Classical Osteopathy looks for the root of “dis-ease” and works to find and improve health.

In Canada an practitioner who has graduated from a Canadian program (like the Canadian Academy of Osteopathy) is known as an Osteopathic Manual Practitioner or Therapist. During the course of their education they develop an in-depth knowledge of anatomy and physiology and the interrelationship between the two. They use this knowledge to assess the body for deviations from the anatomical “neutral” with the understanding of how this change in the function of the anatomy can effect all other areas of the body.

A. T. Still

Any variation from the health has a cause, and the cause has a location.  It is the business of the osteopath to locate and remove it (the cause), doing away with disease and getting health instead.                                                                                                                                               – A. T. Still MD, DO, Osteopathy Research and Practice