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Andrew Taylor Still, c. 1903-1904.

Andrew Taylor Still, c. 1903-1904.

Credits:Wellcome Library, London.

Osteopathy is a form of physical treatment developed by the American physician Andrew Taylor Still (1828-1917). Still was a devout Methodist who thought that temperance - the practice of moderation - should apply not only to alcohol, but to other drugs as well, including medical drugs. He tried out various physical methods including hydrotherapy, and the medical use of diets, before developing the system he called ‘osteopathy’.

Still believed that misplaced bones, especially in the spine, obstructed the flow of body fluids. This led to an imbalance of fluids which was the cause of disease. Treatments, therefore, consisted of the manipulation of bones to restore them to their natural position in the body, and to remove the obstruction. To spread his method, Still founded the American School of Osteopathy in 1892. His students distributed the new treatment throughout the country and worldwide.

Osteopathy is considered as an alternative treatment in many countries. In the UK practitioners must be registered with the General Osteopathic Council (GOsC).


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