Studies in the Osteopathic Sciences
Basic Principles: Volume 1
Louisa Burns, M.S., D.O., D.Sc.O.

Preface to the Series.

Preface to the Volume.

Dr. Andrew Taylor Still.

CHAPTER I.—Normal structure is essential to normal function.

CHAPTER II.—Normal function is essential to normal structure.

CHAPTER III.—Normal environment is essential to normal function.

CHAPTER IV.—The normal body has a habit of health.

CHAPTER V.—The blood preserves and defends life.

CHAPTER VI.—The rule of the artery prevails.

CHAPTER VII.—The nerves unify the organs of the body.

CHAPTER VIII.—All structures innervated from any segment of the spinal cord are affected by sensory impulses reaching that segment.

CHAPTER IX.—Nothing of benefit can be added to the normal environment of the normal cell.

CHAPTER X.—Nothing better than its normal environment can be given the injured cell.

CHAPTER XI.—After its reserves are exhausted, any increase in cell activity not accompanied by increased energy supply must be at the expense of cell structure.

CHAPTER XII.—Abnormal function is indicative of abnormal structure or environment.

CHAPTER XIII.—Disease symptoms are efforts at adjustment to external conditions.

CHAPTER XIV.—Abnormal body fluids may feed micro-organisms and parasites.

CHAPTER XV.—The habit of disease may perpetuate abnormal conditions for a time.

CHAPTER XVI.—External changes affect abnormal rather than normal tissues.

CHAPTER XVII.—“Life is short, opportunity fleeting, judgment difficult, treatment easy, though hard; but treatment after thought is proper and profitable.”

CHAPTER XVIII.—Irrational therapeutics perpetuate disease.

CHAPTER XIX.—Therapeutics modify racial development.

CHAPTER XX.—The true osteopath is the true physician.  He must be fitted to do the best thing possible under every conceivable circumstance of human suffering.

CHAPTER XXI.—There are certain points upon the surface of the body whose manipulations affect visceral activity.

CHAPTER XXII.—The experimental demonstration of the osteopathic centers:  Preliminary considerations.

CHAPTER XXIII.—The experimental demonstration of the osteopathic centers:  The cranial structures.

CHAPTER XXIV.—The experimental demonstration of the osteopathic centers:  The arms.

CHAPTER XXV.—The experimental demonstration of the osteopathic centers:  The lungs.

CHAPTER XXVI.—The experimental demonstration of the osteopathic centers; The heart.

CHAPTER XXVII.—The experimental demonstration of the osteopathic centers:  The abdominal viscera.

CHAPTER XXVIII.—The experimental demonstration of the osteopathic centers:  The abdominal viscera, continued.

CHAPTER XXIX.—The experimental demonstration of the osteopathic centers:  The pelvic viscera.




            In 1874, Dr. Still began the study of the science now known as Osteopathy.  The idea of viewing the human body as a machine, planned by a Master Mechanic, “thoroughly furnished to every good work,” is the foundation of Dr. Still’s early teachings.  The urgent need of careful and exact diagnosis, and the essential importance of the study of the structure and function of the normal body, are impressed again and again upon the reader of the books written by Dr. Still.  Many of the precepts found in his writings are used in daily practice by thousands of osteopaths all over the country.  We who live today can have no adequate conception of the magnitude of the changes in therapeutic ideas which are being brought about through the teachings of Dr. Still and his followers.  The future generations will know, perhaps, but people of his own day can never know the measure of the influence of that great man toward right and wholesome, free and temperate living.

Professor of Physiology
The Pacific College of Osteopathy
Los Angeles


            This series of text books is to be composed of eight volumes, dealing with the sciences which must underlie a rational system of therapeutics.

            The appearance of the series may be modified by the publication of books dealing with the same subjects by other authors.  For this reason, it is considered unwise to offer an exact list of the volumes in order.  They will, however, consider the etiology, nature, prevention and diagnosis of diseased conditions, and the best manner of dealing with sick people from several standpoints.

            It is intended that laboratory methods of investigating these subjects shall be magnified.  The time is past for endeavoring to settle matters of fact by an appeal to argument, even though the argument be logically based upon premises from the best of authorities.  Original work will hold first place in these books.  It is not intended that the researches of others shall be disregarded.  The only point is that it is actual observations which are to be considered, and not arguments based merely upon other people’s opinions.

            It is evident that such a work as this must require much time.  Therefore succeeding volumes are not to be expected at short intervals.


The Laboratory of Physiology,
The Pacific College of Osteopathy.


            This book is written for the use of students of osteopathy, either before or after their graduation.  It is hoped that the rather broad discussion of the biological principles upon which the methods of osteopathic therapeutics are based will be found somewhat suggestive and convincing.  The experiments demonstrating the osteopathic centers are described rather fully, in the hope that they may be repeated or continued by others.

            The collateral readings at the foot of the chapters will be found instructive.  It is expected that students who take up this book have already a fair knowledge of biology, anatomy and physiology, both comparative and human.  The collateral readings will include, however, references to those text books of physiology which contain especially valuable discussions of points referred to in the different chapters.  For those who wish to study the collateral subjects more thoroughly, the bibliography will be found helpful, though it is by no means exhaustive.

            The glossary has been generously planned.  The needs of those students of osteopathy whose diplomas are beginning to turn yellow were especially considered in the preparation of this feature.

            Wherever this book may go, I wish to send with it my earnest appreciation of the tireless and intelligent assistance which the students of The Pacific College have given me in its preparation.  During these long series of experiments, amid the difficulties which always attend new work, I have found continued inspiration and strength in the enthusiastic cooperation of my friends, my fellow-students in the Laboratory of Physiology.

            The kindly interest of my fellow teachers and of the osteopaths of the County Association has been very helpful.

            I should like this book to carry with it also my sincere gratitude for the generous encouragement and the thoughtful advice given me by Clement A. Whiting, D. Sc., D. O.


The Laboratory of Physiology,
The Pacific College of Osteopathy,
Los Angeles, California, July 3, 1907.