Articles On Manual Therapy


G. D. Hulett, D.O.
The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association
1904, Vol. 3, No.10, p. 341

In a recent communication from an author of a work on massage, some reference to osteopathic writing was made which calls attention to a subject of prime importance to the further presentation of osteopathic principles.  In the communication the charge was made that if osteopaths were at all familiar with the history and methods of manual treatment they would no longer make the claim that Dr. Still had "discovered osteopathy."  Unfortunately for our system, as well as for the information of the author in question, the article to which the latter called attention laid apparently greater emphasis upon mechanical stimulation and relaxing muscles than upon the essentially adjustive treatment.  And this is the fact and the subject that requires careful consideration, if we expect to be able to defend ourselves against the unjust charge that our practice is but a "crude form of massage." If osteopaths would take the trouble to read Grabam, Ecles, Kleen, Kellgren, Ziegenspech, any other authority on mechanotherapy they would forever refrain from attempting to differentiate between certain procedures employed by osteopaths and those used by masseurs throughout the centuries.  As soon as we get it pounded into our heads (we are unable to make use of a stronger expression, under the circumstances) that mechanical stimulation and inhibition " a good toning-up treatment," direct relaxation of muscles, and the like are not new, are not essential osteopathy, but are fundamental massage procedures, we will be a little more careful in our expressions and, let us hope, a little more correct in our treatment, and much more successful in therapeutic results.

For instance: I read in a clinic report in a case of eye trouble that "osteopathic treatment was given in the cervical region and also directly to the eye ball, pressing it back into the socket, and thus affecting the ciliary ganglion and stimulating the local blood flow."  In this report, which is not an uncommon type, the great preponderance of emphasis is placed upon the secondary part of the treatment.  And it certainly would be justifiable for one well acquainted with the long known and used methods of the masseurs to conclude that osteopathy is little else than "crude massage." Instead of using the expression quoted, how much better would it have been to place the emphasis upon the essential treatment, "corrective treatment being given to the cervical lesions, thereby removing interferences, etc., etc., with some massage and other palliative work upon the eyeball itself."  In this way we emphasize the distinctive osteopathic concept and treatment and give "honor to whom honor is due" by indicating that massage, like some other comparatively simple measures may be indulged in for good measure.  Personally, it is a rare case that calls for any massage and relaxation of muscles, or any "treatment to the terminals of the fifth," and the like.