What is the Origin of Osteopathy?

To put it into context, the first drug to be manufactured was aspirin in 1899 by Bayer. Prior to that medical doctors had a more diverse role than today, dispensing herbal remedies and other plant drugs such as foxglove (1785) and morphine (1803), mineral drugs including large doses of heavy metals, tending, cuts and abrasions, stitching wounds, setting broken bones and performing Osteopathy. In the Hollywood Westerns, doctors are often referred to as “sore bones”.

It is not surprising that in settling America lots of injuries occurred and new medical schools flourished. The first Osteopathic college was established by a medical doctor, Doctor Andrew Taylor Still, in 1892 in Kirksville Missouri. Unhappy with the way other doctors prescribed the medicines of the day to excess Still sought more holistic approaches. He rejected the idea that germs alone cause disease but that diseases where more common when bones moved out of place and disrupted the flow of blood or the flow of nervous impulses making the body more susceptible to disease. He therefore concluded that one could cure diseases by manipulating to restore the interrupted flow. Observing that the human body had much in common with the machines he worked on in earlier life, Still approached the study of the human body as one would approach the study of a machine. Over time and with his study of medicine he developed a series of specialized physical treatments for which he coined the name ‘Osteopathy’.

Today Osteopathy is taught in 19 different medical schools in the United States, three universities in Australia and ten in the UK.