Philosophy of Osteopathy
Andrew Taylor Still, D.O.
SOME INTRODUCTY REMARKS
NOT A WORK OF COMPILATION.
To readers of my book on the Philosophy of Osteopathy,
I wish to say that I will not tire you with a book of compilations just
to sell to the anxious reader. As I have spent thirty years of my
life reading and following rules and remedies used for curing, and learned
in sorrow it was useless to listen to their claims, for instead of getting
good, I obtained much harm therefrom, I asked for, and obtained a mental
divorce from them, and I want it to be understood that drugs and I are
as far apart as the East is from the West; now, and forever. Henceforth
I will follow the dictates of nature in all I say or write.
I quote no authors but God and experience when I
write, or lecture to the classes or the masses, because no book written
by medical writers can be of much use to us, and it would be very foolish
to look to them for advice and instruction on a science they know nothing
of. They are illy able to advise for themselves, they have never
been asked to advise us, and I am free to say but few persons who have
been pupils of my school have tried to get wisdom from medical writers
and apply it as worthy to be taught as any part of Osteopathy, philosophy
or practice. Several books have been compiled, called "Principles
of 0steopathy." They may sell but will fail to give the knowledge
the student desires.
METHOD OF REASONING.
The student of any philosophy succeeds best by the
more simple methods of reasoning. We reason for needed knowledge
only, and should try and start out with as many known facts as possible.
If we would reason on diseases of the organs of the head, neck, abdomen
or pelvis, we must first know where these organs are, how and from what
arteries the eye, ear, or tongue is fed.
THE OSTEOPATH AN ARTIST.
I believe you are taught anatomy in our school more
thoroughly than any other school to date, because we want you to carry
a living picture of all or any part of the body in your mind as a ready
painter carries the picture of the face, scenery, beast or any thing he
wishes to represent by his brush. He would only be a waster of time
and paint and make a daub that would disgust any one who would employ him.
We teach you anatomy in all its branches, that you may be able to have
and keep a living picture before your mind all the time, so you can see
all joints, ligaments, muscles, glands, arteries, veins, lymphatics, fascia
superficial and deep, all organs, how they are fed, what they must do,
and why they are expected to do a part, and what would .follow in case
that part was not done well and on time. I feel free to say to my
students, keep your minds full of pictures of the normal body all the time,
while treating the afflicted.
WHEN I BECAME AN OSTEOPATH.
In answer to the questions of how long have you been
teaching this discovery, and what books are essential to the study?
I will say I began to give reasons for my faith in the laws of life as
given to men, worlds and beings by the God of nature, June, 1874, when
I began to talk and propound questions to men of learning. I thought
the sword, and cannons of nature were pointed and trainee upon our systems
of drug doctoring.
DR. NEAL'S OPINION.
I asked Dr. J. M. Neal, of Edinburg, Scotland, for
some information that I needed badly. He was a medical doctor of
five years training, a man of much mental ability, who would give his opinions
freely and to the point. I have been told by one or more Scotch M.D.'s
that a Dr. John M. Neal, of Edinburg, was hung for murder. He was
not hung while with me. The only thing made me doubt him being a
Scotchman was he loved whiskey, and I had been told that the Scotch were
a sensible people. John M. Neal said that "drugs was the bait of
fools"; it was no science, and the system of drugs was only a trade, followed
by the doctor for the money that could be obtained by it from the ignorant
sick. He believed that nature was a law capable of vindicating its
power all over the world.
THE OPINIONS OF OTHERS.
As this writing is for the information of the student
I will continue the history by saying, that in the early days of Osteopathy
I sought the opinions of the most learned, such as Dr. Schnebly, Professor
of Language and History in the Baker University, Baldwin, Kanms; Dr. Dallas,
a very learned M. D. of the Allopathic faith; Dr. F. A. Grove,
well-known in Kirksville; J. B. Abbott, Indian agent, and many others of
renown. Then back to the tombs of the dead, to better acquaint myself
with the systems of medicine and the foundations of truth upon which they
stood, if any. I will not worry your patience with a list of this
names of authors that have written upon the subject of medicine, as remedial
agents. I will use the word that the theologian often uses when asked
whom Christ died for, the answer universally is, ALL. All intelligent medical
writers say by word or inference that drugs or drugging is a system of
blind guess work, and if we should let our opinions be governed by the
marble lambs and other emblems of dead babies found in the cemeteries of
the world, we would say that John M. Neal was possibly hung for murder,
not through design, but through traditional ignorance of the power of nature
to cure both old and young, by skillfully adjusting the engines of life
so as to bring forth pure and healthy blood, the greatest known germicide,
to one capable to reason who has the skill to conduct the vitalizing and
protecting fluids to throat, lungs and all parts of the system, and ward
off diseases as nature's God has indicated. With this faith and method
of reasoning, I began to treat diseases by Osteopathy as an experimenter,
and notwithstanding I obtained good results in all cases in diseases of
climate and contagions, I hesitated for years to proclaim to the world
that there was but little excuse or a master engineer to lose a child in
cases of diphtheria, croup, measles, mumps, whooping cough, flux and other
forms of summer diseases, peculiar to children. Neither was it necessary
for the adult to die with diseases of summer, fall and winter. But
at last I took my stand on this rock and my confidence in nature, where
I have stood and fought the battles, and taken the enemy's flag in every
engagement for the last twenty-five years.
WHAT STUDIES NECESSARY.
As you contemplate studying this science have asked
to know the necessary studies, I wish to impress it upon your minds that
you begin with anatomy, and you end with anatomy, a knowledge of anatomy
is all you want or need, as it is all you ever will use in your practice,
although you may live one hundred years. You asked for my opinion
as the founder of the science. Yours is an honest question, and God
being my judge will give you just as honest an answer. As I have
said, a knowledge of anatomy with its application covers every inch of
ground that is necessary to qualify you to become a skillful and successful
Osteopath, when you go forth into the world to combat diseases.
WHAT I MEAN BY ANATOMY.
I will now define what I mean by anatomy. I
speak by comparison and tell you what belongs to the study of anatomy.
I will take a chicken whose parts and habits all persons are familiar with
to illustrate. The chicken has a head, a neck, a breast, a tail,
two legs, two wings, two eyes, two ears, two feet, one gizzard, one crop,
one set of bowels, one liver, and one heart. This chicken has a nervous
system, a glandular system, a muscular system, a system of lungs and other
parts and principles not necessary to speak of in detail. But I want
to emphasize, they belong to the chicken, and it would not be a chicken
without every part or principle. These must all be present and answer
roll call or we do not have a complete chicken. Now I will try and
give you the parts of anatomy and the books that pertain to the same.
You want some standard author on descriptive anatomy in which you learn
the form and places of all bones, the place and uses of ligaments, muscles
and all that belong to the soft parts. Then from the descriptive
anatomy you are conducted into the dissecting room, in which you receive
demonstrations, and are shown all parts through which blood and other fluids
are conducted. So far you see you are in anatomy. From the
demonstrator you are conducted to another room or branch of anatomy called
physiology, a knowledge of which no Osteopath can do without and be a success.
In that room you are taught how the blood and other fluids of life are
produced, and the channels through which this fluid is conducted to the
heart and lungs for purity and other qualifying processes, previous to
entering the heart for general circulation to nourish and sustain the whole
human body. I want to insist and impress it upon your minds that
this is as much a part of anatomy as a wing is a part of a chicken.
From this room of anatomy you are conducted to the room of histology, in
which the eye is aided by powerful microscopes and made acquainted with
the smallest arteries of the human body, which in life are of the greatest
known importance, remembering that in the room of histology you are still
studying anatomy, and what that machinery can and does execute every day,
hour, and minute of life. From the histological room you are conducted
to the room of elementary chemistry, in which you learn something of the
laws of association of substances, that you can the better understand what
has been told you in the physiological room, which is only a branch of
anatomy, and intended to show you nature can and does successfully compound
and combine elements for muscles, blood, teeth and bone. From there
you are taken to the room of the clinics, where you are first made acquainted
with both the normal and abnormal human body, which is only continuation
of the study of anatomy. From there you are taken to the engineer's room
(or operator's room) in which you are taught how to observe and detect
abnormalities and the effect or effects they may and do produce, and how
they effect health and cause that condition known as disease.
Principles to an Osteopath means a perfect plan and
specification to build in form a house, an engine, a man, a world, or anything
for an object or purpose. To comprehend this engine of life or man
which is so constructed with all conveniences for which it was made, it
is necessary to constantly keep the plan and specification before the mind,
and in the mind, to such a degree that there is no lack of knowledge of
the bearings and uses of all parts. After a complete knowledge of
all parts with their forms, sizes and places of attachment which should
be so thoroughly grounded in the memory that there would be no doubt of
the intent of the builder for the use or purpose of the great and small
parts, and why they have a part to perform in the workings of the engine.
When this part of the specification is thoroughly learned from anatomy
or the engineer's guide book, he will then take up the chapter on the division
of forces, by which this engine moves and performs the duties for which
it was created. In this chapter the mind will be referred to
the brain to obtain a knowledge of that organ, where the force starts,
how it is conducted to any belt, pully, journal, or division of the whole
building. After learning where the force is obtained, and how conveyed
from throughout the whole body, he becomes interested and wisely instructed.
He sees the various parts of this great system of life when preparing fluids
commonly known as blood, passing through a set of tubes both great and
small -- some so vastly small, as to require the aid of powerful microscopes
to see their infinitely small forms, through which the blood and other
fluids are conducted by the heart and force of the brain, to construct
organs, muscles, membranes and all the things necessary to life and motion,
to the parts separately and combined. By this minute Acquaintance
with the normal body which has been learned in the specification as written
in standard authors of anatomy and the dissecting rooms, he is well prepared
to be invited into the inspection room to receive comparisons between the
normal and abnormal engines, built according to nature's plan and specification,
and absolutely perfect. He is called into this room for the purpose
of comparing engines that have been strained from being thrown off the
track, or run against other bodies with such force as to bend journals,
pipes, break or loosen bolts; or otherwise deranged, so as to render it
useless until repaired. To repair signifies to readjust from the
abnormal condition in which the machinist finds it, to the condition of
the normal engines which stand in the shop of repairs. His inspection
would commence by first lining up the wheels with straight journals; then
be would naturally be conducted to the boiler, steam chest, shafts, and
every part that belongs to a completed engine. To know that they
are straight and in place as shown upon the plan and described by the specification,
he has done all that is required of a master mechanic. Then it goes
into the hands of the engineer, who waters, fires and conducts this artificial
being on its journey. You as Osteopathic machinists can go no farther
than to adjust the abnormal condition, in which you find the afflicted.
Nature will do the rest.
THE PRACTICING OSTEOPATH'S
The Osteopath reasons if he reasons at all, that
order and health are inseparable, and that when order in all parts is found,
disease cannot prevail, and if order is complete and disease should be
found, there is no use for order. And if order and health are universally
one in union, then the doctor cannot usefully, physiologically, or philosophically
be guided by any scale of reason, otherwise. Does a chemist get results
desired by accident? Are your accidents more likely to get good results
than his? Does order and success demand thought and cool headed reason?
If we wish to be governed by reason, we must take a position that is founded
on truth and capable of presenting facts, to prove the validity of all
truths we present. A truth is only a hopeful supposition if it is
not supported by results. Thus all nature is kind enough to
willingly exhibit specimens of its work as vindicating witnesses of its
ability to prove its assertions by its work. Without that tangible
proof, nature ' would belong to the gods of chance. The laws of mother,
conception, growth and birth, from atoms to worlds would be a failure,
a universe without a head to direct. But as the beautiful works of
nature stand today, and in all time past, fully able by the evidence it
holds before the eye and mind of reason, that all beings great and small
came by the law of cause and effect, are we not bound to work by the laws
of cause, if we wish an effect? If the heavens do move by cause when
was its beings divorced from that great law? Are we not bound to
trust and work by the old and reliable self-evident laws, by the old and
reliable self-evident laws until something later has proven its superior
ability to ward off disease and cure the sick.
I know of no part of the body that equals fascia
as a hunting ground. I believe that more rich golden throught will
appear to the mind's eye as the study of the fascia is pursued than any
division of the body. Still one part is just as great and useful as any
other in its place. No part can be dispensed with. But the
fascia is the ground in which all causes of death do the destruction of
life. Every view we take, a wonder appears. Here we find a
place for the white corpuscles building anew and giving strength to throw
impurities from the body by tubes that run from the skin to tanks of useful
fluids, that would heap up and are no longer of use in the body.
No doubt nerves exist in the fascia that change the fluid to gas, and force
it through the spongy and porous system as a delivery by the vital chain
of wonders, that go on all the time to keep nerves wholly pure.
NOT A PLEASANT TASK.
I dislike to write, and only do so, when I think
my productions will go into the hands of kind-hearted geniuses who read,
not to find a book of quotations, but to go with the soul of the subject
that is being explored for its merits, weigh all truths and help bring
its uses front for the good of man.
Osteopathy has not asked a place in written literature
prior to this date, and does not hope to appear on written pages even to
suit the author of this imperfectly written book.
WITHOUT ACCEPTED THEORIES.
Columbus had to launch and navigate much and long,
and meet many storms, because he had not the written experience of other
travelers to guide him. He had only a few bits of driftwood not common
to his home growth, to cause him to move as he did. But there was
a fact, a bit of wood that did not grow on his home soil.
He reasoned that it must be from some land amid the
sea whose shores had not before been known to his race. With these
facts and his powerful mind of reason, he met all opposition, and moved
alone; just as all men do who have no use for theories as their compass
to guide them through the storms. This opposition a mental explorer
I felt that I must anchor my boat to living truths
and follow them wheresoever they might drift. Thus I launched my
boat many years ago on the open seas, fearlessly, and have never found
a wave of scorn nor abuse that truth could not eat, and do well on.
TRUTHS OF NATIURE.
We often speak of truth. We say great truths,
and use many other qualifying expressions. But no one truth is greater
than any other truth. Each has a sphere of usefulness peculiar to
itself. Thus we should treat with respect and reverence all truths,
great and small. A truth is the complete work of nature, which can
only be demonstrated by the vital principle belonging to that class of
truths. Each truth or division as we see it, can only be made known
to us by the self evident fact, which this truth is able to demonstrate
by its action.
If we take man as our object to base the beginning
of our reason, we find the association of many elements, which differ iii
kind to suit the purpose for which they were designed. To us they
act, to us they are wisely formed and located for the purpose for which
they were designed. Through our five senses we deal with the material
body. It has action. That we observe by vision which connects
the mind to reason. High above the five senses on the subject of
cause or causes of this, is motion. By the testimony of the witness
the mind is connected in a manner by which it can reason on solidity and
size. By smell, taste and sound, we make other connections between
the chambers of reason and the object we desire to reason upon; and thus
our foundation on which all five witnesses are arrayed to the superior
principle which is mind.
After seeing a human being complete in form, self
moving, with power to stop or go on at will, to us he seems to obey some
commander. He seems to go so far and stop; he lies down and gets
up; he turns round and faces the objects that are traveling in the same
direction he does. Possibly he faces the object by his own action.
Then by about facing, he sees one coming with greater velocity, sees he
can not escape by his own speed, so he steps aside and lets that body pass
on, as though he moved in obedience to some order. The bystander
would ask the question, "How did he know such a dangerous body was approaching?"
He finds on the most crucial examination, that the sense of hearing is
wholly without reason. The same is true with all the five senses
pertaining to man, beast, or bird. This being the condition of the
five physical senses, we are forced by reason to conclude there is a superior
being who conducts the material man, sustains, supports and guards against
danger; and after all our explorations, we have to decide that man is triune
BODY, MOTION AND MIND.
First the material body, second the spiritual being,
third a being of mind which is far superior to all vital motions and material
forms, whose duty is to wisely manage this great engine of life.
This great principle known as mind, must depend for all evidences on the
five senses, and on this testimony, all mental conclusions are bad, and
all orders from this mental court are issued to move to any point or stop
at any place. Thus to obtain good results, we must blend ourselves
with, and travel in harmony with nature's truths. When this great
machine man, ceases to move in all its parts, which we call death, the
explorers knife discovers no mind, no motion. He simply finds formulated
matter with no motor to move it, with no mind to direct it. He can
trace the channels through which the fluids have circulated, he can find
the relation of parts to other parts; in fact by the knife, he can expose
to view the whole machinery that once was wisely active. Suppose
the explorer is able to add the one principle motion, at once we would
see an action but it would be a confused action. Still he is not
the man desired to be produced. There is one addition that is indispensable
to control this active body, or machine, and that is mind. With that
added the whole machinery then works as man. The three when united in full
action are able to exhibit the thing desired -- complete.
OSTEOPATHY TO CURE DISEASE.
The Osteopath seeks first physiological perfection
of form, by normally adjusting the osseous frame work, so that all arteries
may deliver blood to nourish and construct all parts. Also that the
veins may carry away all impurities dependent upon them for renovation.
Also that the nerves of all classes may be free and unobstructed while
applying the powers of life and motion to all divisions, and the whole
system of nature's laboratory.
A full and complete supply of arterial blood must
be generated and delivered to all parts, organs and glands, by the channels
called the arteries. And when it has done its work, then without
delay the veins must return all to heart and lungs for renewal. We
must know some delay of fluids has been established on which nature begins
the work of renewal by increased action of electricity, even to the solvent
action of fever heat, by which watery substances evaporate and relieve
the lymphatic system of stagnant, watery secretions. Thus fever is
a natural and powerful remedy.
THE OSTEOPATH SHOULD
To find health should be the object of the doctor.
Anyone can find disease. He should make the grand round among the sentinels
and ascertain if they are asleep, dead or have deserted their posts, and have
allowed the enemy to get into camps. He should visit all posts.
Before he goes out to make the rounds, he should know where all posts are, and
the value of the supply he has charge of, whether it be shot, shell, grub, clothing,
arms or anything of value to the Company or Division.