Today we are familiar with a raft of complementary therapies and medicinal traditions but when Andrew Taylor Still began to develop Osteopathy, the information available was scant. Classical textbooks, a conventional medical education for the time and a single man’s experience of medical practice was the basis Dr. Still had to work from. His driving force was a distaste for the suffering he believed to be the result of typical medical treatments and strategies of the time.
Dr. Still sought to change the necessity for medical treatments with harsh side effects and uncertain affect. He experimented with alternative therapy techniques including hydropathy, prescribed diets and bone manipulation. Still found comfort in the lack of debilitating side effects that these methods showed and he hoped to see a medical model which involved more sparing use of drugs and surgery prevail. The term which is now familiar across the world ‘Osteopathy’ comes from Still’s conviction that the cause of a range of maladies or pathologies could be found in the musculoskeletal system. In his own words ‘by which nature under the scientific treatment peculiar to osteopathic practice, apart from all ordinary methods of extraneous, artificial, or medicinal stimulation, and in harmonious accord with its own mechanical principles, molecular activities, and metabolic processes, may recover from displacements, disorganizations, derangements, and consequent disease, and regained its normal equilibrium of form and function in health and strength’.
As a pioneer of teaching women and minorities to administer treatment and an early advocate of prescribing in a proportionate way, Dr. Still has inspired a global healthcare practice with Osteopathy, Research and Practice.