OSTEOPATHY HISTORY

ANDREW TAYLOR STILL

ANDREW TAYLOR STILL – THE FATHER OS OSTEOPATHY

Osteopathy was developed and founded by American physician and surgeon Andrew Taylor Still in 1974.

Still’s father was a doctor, as were many of his family members, which fueled his interest in health and medicine.

Already in his early life, Andrew Taylor Still was interested in anatomy and began dissecting the animals he hunted.

Andrew Taylor Still served in the army during the American Civil War, where he used his medical knowledge and skills to help the wounded, which elevated his knowledge of human anatomy.

After the war Andrew Taylor Still, faced a major personal crisis, when his first wife Mary Vaughan died of complications in childbirth, and a few years later, he lost two biological children and a foster child to meningitis. These tragic events and the impotence he felt, even being a doctor, to save his family, made him start to reject what he had learned about medicine and went searching for new and better methods of treatment.

OSTEOPATHY BASIS

Still’s studies were based primarily on the in-depth study of anatomy, and the structural and functional relationships, of bones, nerves, muscles, and organs. Concluding that the body, despite being complex, is a single unit, where all structures play their role, all functions and structures are interconnected, if one is dysfunctional, others will be affected by it, causing a cascade of functional problems.

And he understood that most diseases arose as a result of a disordered musculoskeletal system.

The musculoskeletal system is what sustains the body and when there are deviations, tensions and compressions, one of the consequences is that the blood flow does not circulate freely, making areas such as limbs, organs, muscles, etc., poorly irrigated. The blood is what carries nutrients and oxygen to all the cells of the body, so if there is a part of the body that is poorly irrigated for weeks, months and sometimes for years, there will certainly be consequences, pain and illness.

These musculoskeletal deviations also cause nerve compression. Nerves are the communication between the brain and the rest of the body, nerves indicate and regulate all the functions of every part of our body, whether organs, limbs, skin, etc., everything is commanded by the brain through the nerves, so when there is some nerve that, because it is compressed, cannot do its job effectively, there are also consequences such as dysfunction, pain and illness.

Andrew Taylor Still also developed the concept of the body’s natural immunity, which has nothing isoteric or magical, it is as simple as this: if structures and organs do their job correctly, if blood flows normally and nerves pass correctly the information between the brain and the rest of the body, then the body has the ability to heal itself through internal processes.

With these discoveries Still understood that several diseases could be avoided or alleviated without medication, through the correction of anatomical deviations that interfered with the free flow of blood and the nervous system.

Still was one of the first doctors to promote the concept of preventive medicine, and mentioned that doctors should focus more on preventing and treating disease by looking at the body as a whole, and not just to isolated symptoms.

As medicine based on prevention and treatment  largely without medication, Still found strong opposition to his theories and techniques, from medical, pharmaceutical, university and church communities.

After several closed doors and several unsuccessful attempts to implement Osteopathy, it was in Kirksville, Missouri, USA, that Andrew Still began to gain enough acceptance to open his first practice.

Gradually Still and Osteopathy became famous, until it reached the point where it could no longer serve more patients, which ended up founding the American School of Osteopathy, which became a huge success and  still exists today. https://www.atsu.edu/

And Kirksville started receiving about 400 people a day to be treated by osteopaths.

Andrew Still during his lifetime published four books:

  • Andrew Taylor’s Autobiography Still with a History of the Discovery and Development of the Science of Osteopathy
  • Philosophy of Osteopathy
  • The Philosophy and Mechanical Principles of Osteopathy
  • Osteopathy Research and Practice

THE FOUR BASIC PRINCIPLES OF OSTEOPATHY

In summary, the four basic principles developed by the American physician Andrew Taylor Still more than 120 years ago are still valid today in all areas of osteopathy.

1.The body is a unit

In osteopathy, it is not the disease/symptom that is treated, but the human being as a whole. Man is formed by a global unity, the body and mind. The osteopath, therefore, considers not only the body, but also the patient’s environment with all possible interactions. Incorporating psycho-emotional aspects into your therapy, as well as physical condition, nutrition, exercise and, sleepping routine and relaxation. Only the perfect interaction of all systems allows for a balanced function and body.

2. Self-healing

The body is able to heal itself when it restores its balance, because it has self-regulation and immunity mechanisms. The aim of an osteopathic treatment is to stimulate and support the body’s ability to self-heal so that the body regains its internal balance, overcomes pain and recovers or prevents illness.

As long as the body is well and balanced, its Self-healing ability works. However, when balance disorders occur, such as tissue imbalances, bone malposition, fluid congestion, malnutrition and insufficient cell detoxification, the body is unable to activate its Self Healing. The result is malfunction that leads to pain and illness.

3. Structure governs function

The body consists of tissue structures whose form and function are intrinsically connected. When the body’s structure is restricted or displaced, the body’s function also changes. The  osteopath de releases movement restrictions with the hands and thus helps the body to correct dysfunctions. Function may normalize, regain balance and symptoms disappear.

4. The law of the artery

Any type of tissue can only work well if it is well irrigated. Which means that a good flow of blood, free from blockages, which impedes its normal circulation, keeps the tissues in harmony, and their normal and healthy function. If the blood does not circulate fluidly and without obstructions, nutrients and oxygen do not reach the cells in sufficient quantity, and cells are the fundamental unit of the human being and of all living beings.

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Cláudio Miguel Pestana

My name is Cláudio Miguel Pestana. I am Certified Osteopath (C-0031181).

Osteopathy is for me much more than a profession, it is really what makes me happy and completed my life. Having the honor of being able to treat people, promoting a healthier and pain-free life, is an incredibly gratifying feeling. I can not imagine doing anything else, and I’m grateful every day for being able to practice Osteopathy.

My goal as an Osteopath is to be in constant adaptation, updating and evolution. Improving my knowledge to provide the best and most complete treatment to each client. Thus, I have taken several complementary courses, to specialize myself more and more in areas such as Sports Osteopathy, Pediatric Osteopathy and Obstetric Osteopathy.