Dr A.T. Still: The Founder of Osteopathy

A.T. Still is recognised as the founding father of osteopathy. Still was an American physician from a farming background who served on the front lines as a physician in the American Civil War.

Still used his knowledge of medicine and the mechanics of farm machinery which he applied to the human body to put injured soldiers back together.

At the end of the American Civll War in 1874, Still set up and was the founder of the American School of Osteopathy (now A.T. Still University), the world’s first osteopathic medical school, in Kirksville, Missouri.

AT Still

The Four Principles of Osteopathy are:

1) The Body Is A Unit

  • The body is considered as a whole. Each part affects each and every other part and the whole is greater than simply the sum of its parts.

2) Structure Governs Function

  • If the structure of the body is compromised (for example through injury, overuse, strain, etc.), then it is very likely to have an adverse affect on its function (for example manifesting as pain, stiffness, instability, etc.).

3) The Body Is Its Own ‘Medicine Chest’

  • Every person has their own built in healing mechanisms, which can be stimulated and supported by removing restrictive barriers. Once the barriers are removed, the body is usually able to resolve all but the most serious conditions.

4) The ‘Rule of the Artery’ Is Supreme

  • For healing to occur there needs to be a good enough blood supply to provide the troubled area with the necessary immune cells and nutrients.