The father of Osteopathy, Andrew Taylor Still, developed osteopathic medicine as an alternative to the harsh, and often damaging medical interventions of the 19th century.
Medicines at the time mostly consisted of opium, arsenic and castor oil, there was no anaesthetic for operations, and post-operative infections were rife.
A T Still suggested hands on body-manipulation, changes of diet and hydrotherapy as an alternative to these methods, and was one of the first physicians to promote preventative medicine and healthy lifestyles. The proof was in the pudding, as A T Still lived to be 89 years old at a time that the average life expectancy was only 37!
So what did A T Still encourage all osteopaths to do?
- The Rule of the Artery is Supreme
This means that circulation is an important mechanism for injuries in the body to recover. Osteopaths in the modern day pay attention to this rule, and use soft tissue massage techniques to promote good blood supply and drainage – bringing new oxygen and nutrients and removing carbon dioxide and waste metabolites.
- The Body has it’s own Medicine Chest
Although he didn’t know it, A T Still was talking about the immune system here. Remember that Osteopaths were medical doctors, and still are in the USA today. His ideas for treating all diseases worked on harnessing the body’s ability to heal itself, something osteopaths still use today when talking about musculoskeletal pain.
- A Physician should look for Health
Because A T Still was a promoter of preventative medicine, he felt that healthy people should visit an osteopath to prevent injuries and diseases occurring in the first place. Osteopaths don’t work to treat diseases any more, but preventative and maintenance treatments are still common place, and lots of patients find them useful for supporting a healthy lifestyle and a strong, pain-free body.