Founding father of osteopathy

Founding father of osteopathy

Founding father of osteopathy

is the American physician Dr. Andrew Taylor Still.

In 1874 Still announced his new medicine and gave it the name osteopathy . The compound term is derived from the ancient Greek words osteo for bone and pathie for suffering. Still had begun his studies with the bones in order to be able to alleviate the suffering of his patients.

founding father of osteopathy

Dr. Andrew Taylor Still

Andrew Taylor Still (1828 - 1917) soon had more patients than he could treat. So he decides to teach osteopathy and founds the American School of Osteopathy (today the Kirksville College of Osteopathic Medicine) in Kirksville, Missouri, USA, in 1892.

His osteopathy is very popular. In the first half of the 20th century, it is legally recognized in more and more states. New colleges are founded and more and more students are trained as osteopaths. At the same time, there are massive efforts by medical associations to restrict osteopathy. It was not until the 1960s that this dispute was settled. Since then, osteopathy has been generally recognized in the USA.

Today, approximately 54,000 osteopaths practice their independent profession in the United States. They hold the title D.O., Doctor of Osteopathy, and have the same status as medical doctors (MD). Therefore, osteopaths in the U.S. prescribe medications, give injections, and perform surgeries. They do not usually focus on manual diagnosis and treatment of the patient.

In Europe, osteopathy takes a different development. A student of Still, the Englishman John Martin Littlejohn, brings osteopathy to Europe. In 1917 he founded the British School of Osteopathy in London, which still exists today. After England, osteopathy also reached the continent in the 1950s. In Europe it is mainly the therapists who see osteopathy as a new effective form of manual therapy. Here osteopathy continues to develop as a purely manual form of medicine - just as it was founded by A. T. Still.

The profession of osteopathy has been legally recognised in England since 1993. In Belgium and France, osteopathy is one of the generally recognized forms of medicine. Osteopathy is practiced in almost all European countries.

While Still was mainly concerned with the musculoskeletal system, i.e. bones, joints, muscles and tendons (parietal area), other osteopaths developed the concept of osteopathy further.

A student of Still, William Garner Sutherland (1873 - 1954), introduced the phenomenon of primary respiratory movement in 1939. This is a very fine, independently pulsating movement. It can be felt on the skull, on the coccyx but also on other structures of the body and is not connected with heartbeat or breathing. From now on, the primary respiratory movement is an important tool for osteopaths in diagnosis and therapy. Sutherland thus expands osteopathy to include the so-called craniosacral area.

Osteopathy experienced an additional addition in the 1980s. The French osteopaths Jean-Pierre Barral and Jacques Weischenck deal extensively with the internal organs and how they can be examined and treated osteopathically. In doing so, they draw on the techniques and findings of the Swedish gymnast Thure Brandt (1819 - 1895) and his student Henri Stapfer, among others, and expand osteopathy to include the so-called visceral area.


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