Osteopathic medicine is a unique form of American medical care that was developed in 1874 by Andrew Taylor Still, M.D. Dissatisfied with the effectiveness of 19th-century medicine, Dr. Still believed that many of the medications of his day were ineffective or even harmful. In response, he was one of the first in his time to study the attributes of good health in order to achieve a better understanding of the process of disease.
Dr. Still founded a philosophy of medicine based on ideas that date back to Hippocrates, the Father of Medicine. Dr. Still recognized the body's ability to heal itself and stressed preventive medicine, eating properly, and keeping fit. Based on this idea, he created a new medical science, which he ultimately named osteopathy, from the Greek words osteo, meaning bone, and pathos, which means suffering or disease. In 1892, Still founded the American School of Osteopathy, now the Kirksville (Missouri) College of Osteopathic Medicine.
Andrew T. Still
1828 - 1917
(The Father of Osteopathic Medicine)
Photo property of the Still National Osteopathic Museum, Kirksville, MO.
Osteopathic medicine is founded on the philosophy that the body contains all the elements necessary for proper health. An Osteopathic physician sees the patient as a whole person, not just the part that is sick or injured. They know that all parts of the body must work together for health and what happens to one part affects all the parts. Emphasis is placed on proper structural balance, including environmental, emotional, physical and mechanical stresses.
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