History and Philosophy

Andrew Taylor Still (1828-1917) developed the philosophy and practice of osteopathy. Originally an M.D. physician, he started his path towards finding natural healing abilities within the body’s musculoskeletal system after 3 of his children died from spinal meningitis. Conventional medicine could not help his children and were often viewed as harmful.

Still believed that the body contained an innate healing ability and that the body structures are very closely related with its function. By correcting the problems in the body’s musculoskeletal structures with manual techniques now known as osteopathic manipulative medicine, the body’s ability to function and heal itself could be optimize. He was an advocate of treating the patient as a “whole” instead of as a specific disease process. The part of the body that is ill will affect other areas because the human body is made to work as a unit.

Inspired to spread his osteopathic philosophies and practice, Still founded the first school of osteopathy in Kirksville, Missouri in 1892 called American School of Osteopathy, which is now known as AT Still University. It was the first medical school to welcome women and minorities. Today there are many osteopathic schools throughout the United States.

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