Philosophy of Osteopathy
Andrew Taylor Still, D.O.
A CHAPTER OF WONDERS AND SOME VALUABLE QUESTIONS
WONDERS ON THE INCREASE.
Wonders are daily callers, and seem greatly on the
increase during the Eighteenth century. As we read history we learn
that no one hundred years of the past has produced wonders in such number
and variety. Stupid systems of government have given place to better
and wiser. Voyages of the ocean have had months by sail reduced to
days by steam. Journeys over land that would require six months by
horse and ox, are now accomplished in six days by raft. Our law,
medical and other schools of five and seven years, are now but two or three;
and the graduates of such schools are far superior in useful knowledge
to those of the five and seven. And no wonder at that, for the facilities
for giving the pupil an education are so far superior that the knowledge
sought, can be obtained in less time. Our schools are not intended
to use the greatest number of days that are allotted to man. But
at this day schooling and learning mean, to obtain useful knowledge in
the quickest way that a thoroughness can be obtained. If there is
any method by which arithmetic can be taught so as to master it in thirty
days instead of thirty months let us have it. We want knowledge,
we are willing to pay for it, we want all we pay for, and we want our heads
kept out of the sausage-mill of time wasting.
A great question now stands before us: What are the
possibilities of mind to improve our methods of gaining knowledge, shorten
time, and getting greater and better results? I am free to say the
question is too momentous to form an answer, as each day brings a new wonder,
to the man or woman who reasons on cause, and gives demonstrations by effects.
WHAT IS LIFE?
The philosopher who first asked that question no
one knows. But all intelligent persons are interested in the solution
of this problem, at least to know some tangible reason why it is called
life; whether life is personal or so arranged that it might be called an
individualized principle of nature.
I wish to think for a time on this line, because
we should make a wise handling of the machinery of the body.
If life in man has been formed to suit the size and
duties of the being; if life has a living and separate personage, then
we should be governed by such reasons as would give it the greatest chance
to go on with its labors in the bodies of man and beast.
We know by experience that a spark of fire will start
the principles of powder into motion, which, were it not stimulated by
the positive principle of father nature, which finds this germ lying quietly
in the womb of space, would be silently inactive for all ages, without
being able to move or help itself, save for the motor principle of life
given by the father of all motion.
HOW IS ACTION PRODUCED.
Right here we could and should ask the question:
Is this action produced by electricity put in motion, or is it the active
principle that comes as a spiritual man? If so, it is useless, to
try, or hope to know what life is in its minutia. But we do know
that life can only display its natural forces by the visible action of
the forms it produces.
If we inspect man as a machine, we find a complete
building, a machine that courts inspection and criticism. It demands
a full exploration of all its parts with their uses. Then the mind
is asked to see or find the connection
between the physical, and the spiritual. By nature you can reason
on the roads that the powers of life are arranged to suit its system of
If life is an individualized personage, as we might
express that mysterious something, and it must have definite arrangements
by which it can be united and act with matter; then we are admonished to
acquaint ourselves with the arrangements of those natural connections,
the one or many, as they are connected to all parts of the completed being.
As motion is the first and only evidence of life,
by this thought we are conducted to the machinery through which life works
to accomplish these results.
WITH THE MACHINERY.
If the brain be that division in which force is generated
or stored, you must at all hazards acquaint yourself with that structure
of this machine; trace the connection from brain to heart, from heart to
lungs, and other organs that can be acted upon by the brain, whose duty
may be to construct the fleshy and bony parts of the body. Trace
from the brain to the chemical laboratories, and note their action as they
unite and prepare blood and other fluids, that are used in the economy
of this vital, self-constructing and self-moving wonder, commonly known
as man; wherein life and matter do unite, and express their friendly relation
one with the other; and while this relation exists we have the living man
only, expressing and proving the relation that can exist between life and
matter, from the lowest living atom, to the greatest worlds. They
can only express form and action by this law. Harmony only dwells
where obstructions do not exist.
DUTY OF THE OSTEOPATH.
The Osteopath finds here the field in which he can
dwell forever. His duties as a philosopher admonish him, that life
and matter can be united, and that union cannot continue with any hindrance
to the free and absolute motion. Therefore his duty is to keep away
from the track all that will hinder the complete passage of the forces
of the nervous system, that by that power the blood may be delivered and
adjusted, to keep the system in normal condition. Here is your duty;
do it well, if you wish to succeed.
FORMATION OF SACRUM.
We believe only when we do not know. Belief
and doubt are equal terms. If we believe the sacrum is formed by
a local system, then we can or will have cause to believe that the rectum
and colon appear after the outer skin is in process of forming. For
want of the truths we are left in speculative doubt. I believe the
lower bowels are formed by local machinery that receives and appropriates
to the purpose of construction of such parts o r organs as nature designs
to be used there. If we dissect a chicken as soon as hatched we will
find the colon beginning at rectum and complete in form, but not connected
to the small intestines.
To get more directly at the point I want to make
I will say I have some reasons to believe that the lower bowels are builded
from rectum to the vermi-form appendix, by acts of pelvis. It may
be well to state that I have seen formation of rectum and colon in the
chicken, before the small intestines were visible at all. Then in
same chicken I saw, liver, lung, crop and gizzard, and only one artery
in the region of the small intestines. From this I was led to believe
that the pelvis did much of the forming of the viscera. If so, then
we could look for much relief through the system of the pelvis.
APPEARANCE OF OEDEMA.
Oedema is the one word that appears to be at the
first showing of life and death in animal forms. Previous to death
by general swelling of system, a watery swelling of fascia and lymphatics,
even to those of nerve fibers. If a disease should destroy life by
withholding all fluids, we can trace such cause in the beginning to a time
when there was watery swelling of the centers of nerves of nutrition, to
such amount as to cut off nerve supply until sensation ceased to renovate
and keep off accumulating fluids so long that fermentation did the work
of heating till all fluids had dried up, and the channels of supply closed
by adhesive inflammation, and death follows by the law of general atrophy.
DO ALL DISEASES
HAVE BEGINNING IN OEDEMA?
To assert that all diseases have their beginning
in oedema may be wide in range, but we often find one principle to rule
over much territory. "Instance:" Mind is the supreme ruler of all
beings, from the mites of life to the monsters of the land and sea.
Thus we see a ruling principle is without limit. The same of numbers.
By heat all metals melt to fluidity; acids must have oxygen to begin as
solvents in most metals. We only speak imperfectly of some common
laws to prepare the student to think on the line of probabilities as I
hold them out for consideration. Suppose we begin at the atoms of
fluids such as enter to construct animal or vegetable forms, and pen up
till decomposition begins. By such delay does not nature call a halt
and refuse to obey the laws of construction and let all other supplies
pile up even to death? Is not all this the result of oedema?
Oedema surely begins with the first tardy atom of matter.
Pneumonia begins by its oedematous accumulations
of dead atoms, even to the death of the whole body, all having found a
start in atoms only.
QUESTIONS FOR THE OSTEOPATH.
We will close this chapter by propounding a few questions
which the Osteopath should keep in mind.
Are the human and animal forms complete as working
Has nature furnished man with powers to make his
bones; give them the needed shapes of durable material, strong in kind?
Does a section in nature's law provide fastenings
to hold these to one another?
Then another question arises: How will this body
move, and where and how is the force applied?
Where and how is this force obtained?
How is it generated and supplied to these parts of
What makes these muscles, ligaments, nerves, veins,
Are they self-forming, or has nature prepared machinery
to make them?
Does animal life contain knowledge and force to construct
all of the 13arts of man?
Can it run the machine after it has finished it?
By what power does it move?
Is there a blood vessel running to all parts of this
body to supply all these demands?
If it has a battery of force, where is it?
What does it use for force?
Is it electricity? If so how does it collect
and use this substance?
How does it convey its powers to any or all places?
How does the man keep warm without fire?
How does he build and lose flesh all the time?
Where and how is the supply made and deliv-ered to
How is it applied and what holds it to its place
What makes it build the house of life?
Do demand and supply govern the work? If not,
Are the laws of animal life sufficient to do all
this work of building and repairing wastes and keep it in running condition?
If it does, what can man do or suggest to help
Is this machine capable of being run fast or slow
if need be?
Does man have in him some kind of chemical laboratory
that can turn out such products, as he needs to fill all his physical demands?
If by heat, exercise, or any other cause he gets
warm, can that chemistry cool him to normal?
If too cold can it warm him? Can it adjust
him to heat and cold?
If so, how is it done? Is the law of life and longevity
fully vindicated in man's make up?