Happy Birthday Osteopathy

On June 22nd 1874 Andrew Taylor Still proclaimed the creation of Osteopathy. Happy 150th Birthday Osteopathy. He described it thus, “…on June 22nd, 1874, like a burst of sunshine the whole truth dawned on my mind, that I was gradually approaching a science by study, research, and observation that would be a great benefit to the world.” (1)

Osteopathy was coined from Osteon meaning bone and pathos, to suffer. A T Still studied the human body for over thirty years and through looking at anatomy saw how all the supporting structures of the body (the connective tissue), attach from/to the bones so therefore how the bones were being held by the ligaments and joints would affect the connective tissue. The structures that move within and are affected by the connective tissues are the nerves, arteries, veins and lymphatics. Which to translate from anatomy speak is what brings the nutrition to the cells, clears the waste from the cells, brings in the defence of the body to get rid of any unwanted bugs and tissues within the body that are not adapting or working well. These systems are the mechanism by which the body maintains its health. In this way the Osteopathy is a body mechanic and over 150 years we know more now about the human body than any point in the history of man. However, we are constantly learning and have so much more to understand about the human body, from how the brain works, to the gut biome, how we age and what really defines the point of death. A T Still said he had only grasped the tail of the squirrel to acknowledge that there is so much more for us to learn.

So one final thought from A T Still regarding Osteopathy and our work with patients,

“I can trust the principles that I believe are found in the human body. I find what is necessary for health, comfort, happiness of man, the passions, and all else. Nothing is needed but plain, ordinary diet and exercise. We find all the machinery, qualities, and principles that the architect intended should be in man. Therefore, let me work with that body, from the brain to the feet. It is all finished work, and is trustworthy in all its parts.” (2)

Happy 150th Birthday Osteopathy.


(1) Lane MA (1918). Dr Andrew Taylor Still, Founder of Osteopathy. Chicago: The osteopathic publishing co., 217.
(2) Still, A T (1908). Autobiography of Andrew, T Still. Reprinted, 1981. Indianapolis, IN: American Academy of osteopathy, 302.

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