Osteopathy

Andrew Taylor Still (August 6, 1828 - December 12, 1917) is considered the father of osteopathy

Still was born in Lee County, Virginia in 1828, the son of a Methodist minister and physician. At an early age, Still decided to follow in his father's footsteps as a physician. After studying medicine and serving an apprenticeship under his father, Still became a licensed MD in the state of Missouri. Later, in the early 1860s, he completed additional coursework at the College of Physicians and Surgeons in Kansas City, Missouri. He went on to serve as a surgeon in the Union Army during the American Civil War.

After the Civil War and following the death of three of his children from spinal meningitis in 1864, Still concluded that the orthodox medical practices of his day were frequently ineffective and sometimes harmful. He devoted the next ten years of his life to studying the human body and finding better ways to treat disease.

His research and clinical observations led him to believe that the musculoskeletal system played a vital role in health and disease and that the body contained all of the elements needed to maintain health if properly stimulated. Still believed that by correcting problems in the body's structure, through the use of manual techniques now known as osteopathic manipulative medicine (OMM), the body's ability to function and to heal itself could be greatly improved. He also promoted the idea of preventive medicine and endorsed the philosophy that physicians should focus on treating the whole patient, rather than just the disease. He became so skilled at reducing fractures, he became known as the "lightening bone setter".

At the time, these beliefs formed the basis of a new medical approach, osteopathic medicine. Based on this philosophy, Still founded the first school of osteopathy - the American School of Osteopathy (now A.T. Still University) in Kirksville, Missouri in 1892.

“As you contemplate studying this science have asked to know the necessary studies, I wish to impress it upon your minds that you begin with anatomy, and you end with anatomy, a knowledge of anatomy is all you want or need, as it is all you ever will use in your practice, although you may live one hundred years. You asked for my opinion as the founder of the science. Yours is an honest question, and God being my judge will give you just as honest an answer. As I have said, a knowledge of anatomy with its application covers every inch of ground that is necessary to qualify you to become a skillful and successful Osteopath, when you go forth into the world to combat diseases.” Andrew Taylor Still