Philosophy of Osteopathy
Andrew Taylor Still, D.O.
The five points of observation will cover easily
the whole body, and we cannot omit any one of them, and successfully examine
any disease of the system. Local injuries are, however, an exception
to this rule, and even a local hurt often causes general effect.
Suppose a fall should jar the lumbar vertebra, and push it at some articulation,
front, back, or laterally; say the lumbar, with one or two short ribs turned
down against the lumbar nerves with a prolapsed and loosened diaphragm,
pressing heavily on the abdominal aorta, vena cava, and thoracic duct;
have you not found cause to stop or derange the circulation of blood in
arteries, veins, lymphatics and all other organs below diaphragm?
Then heart trouble would be the natural result. Fibroid tumors, painful
monthlies, constipation, diabetes, dyspepsia or any trouble of the system
that could come from bad blood would be natural results, because lymph
is too old to be pure when it enters the lungs for purifying. If blood
or chyle is kept too long below the diaphragm, it becomes diseased before
it reaches the lungs, and after renovation, but little good blood is left.
Then the dead matter is separated from blood and blown out at the lungs
while in vapor. Thus nutriment is not great enough to keep up normal
supply. In this stage the patient is low in flesh and feeble generally,
because of trouble with blood and chyle to pass normally through the diaphragm.
The failure of free action of blood produces general
debility, congestion, low types of fever, dropsy, constipation, tumefaction
and on to the whole list of visceral of diseases.
From this we are called to the pelvis. If the
innominate bones are twisted on sacrum or are driven too high or too low,
an injury to the sacral system of blood and nerves would be cause equal
to congestion, inflammation of womb or bladder-diseases, with a crippled
condition of all the spinal nerves. This would be cause enough to
produce hysteria, and on to the whole list of diseases to spinal injuries.
The Osteopath has great demands for his powers of reason when he considers
the relation of diseases generally to the pelvis; and this knowledge he
must have before his work can be attended with success.
As I said, five points comprise the fields in which
the Osteopath must search. I have given you quite pointedly and at
length, hints on spine and sacrum which cover the territory below the diaphragm.
In conclusion I will simply refer you to the chest, neck and brain, and
say, "let your search light ever shine bright on the brain." On it we must
depend for power. About all nerves do run through the neck and branch
off to supply both above and below, to do their parts in animal life, to
the heart, brain and sum total of man and beast. Search faithfully
for cause of diseases in head, neck, chest, spine and pelvis; for all organs,
limbs and parts are directly related to and depend on these five localities
to which I have just called your attention.
With your knowledge of anatomy, I am sure you can
practice and be successful, and should be in all cases over which Osteopathy
is supposed to preside.
CARE IN TREATING THE
I want to offer you the facts, not advice, but pure
and well sustained facts, the only witnesses that ever enter the courts
of truth. A spinal cord is a fact; you see it -- thus a fact.
That which you can see, feel, hear, smell or taste is a fact, and the knowledge
of the ability of any one fact to accomplish any one thing, how it accomplishes
it and for what purpose, is a truth sought for in philosophy. The
spinal cord is the present fact for consideration. You see it, you
feel it, thus you have two facts with which you can start to obtain a knowledge
of the use of this spinal cord. In it you have one common straight
cylinder which is filled with an unknown substance, and by an unknown power
wisely directed. It is wisely formed, located, and protected.
It throws off branches which are wisely located. They have bundles,
many and few; they are connected to their support, which is the brain,
by a continuous cord in length and form to suit. After it has concluded
throwing off branches at local places for special purposes, then like a
flash-light, it throws off a bundle of branches called horse-tail plexus,
caudae equinae, which simply signifies the many branches that convey fluids
and influences to the extremities, to execute the vital work for which
they are formed and located. While the laws of life and their procedure
to execute and accomplish the work designed by nature for them to do, is
mysterious and to the finite mind incomprehensible, you can only see what
they do or perform, after the work is done and ready for your inspection.
HOW TO TREAT THE SPINAL
Now as we are dealing with the omnipresent nerve
principle of animal life, I will tell you this one serious truth, and support
it by the fact of observation. To treat the spine, and thereby irritate
the spinal cord oftener than once or twice a week will cause the vital
assimilation to be perverted, and become the death-producing excretor,
by producing the abortion of the living molecules of life, before fully
matured, while in the cellular system, which lies immediately under the
Your patients will linger long from the change of
the nutrient ducts to throw off their dead matter into the excretories,
which death was caused by the undue, or two many treatments of the spinal
cord. If you will allow yourself to think for a moment, or think
at all of the spinal cord being irritated, and what effect it will have
on the uterus y o u will realize that I have told you a truth, and produced
an array of facts to stand by that truth. Many of your patients are
well six months before they are discharged. They are kept on hands
because they are weak, and they are weak, because you keep them so from
irritating the spinal cord. Throw off your goggles and receive the
rays of the sunlight which forever stand in the bosom of reason.
MOST IMPORTANT CHAPTER
This is the most important chapter of this book,
because at this point the engine of life is turned over to you as an engineer
and by you it is expected to be wisely conducted on its journey.
Your responsibility here is doubled. Your first
position is that of a master mechanic, who is capable of drawing plans
and writing minutely a specification whereby the engineer may know what
a well constructed machine is in every particular. He knows the parts
and relations of both as constructor and operator, and you are supposed
to be the foreman in the shop of repairs. The living person is the
engine, nature the engineer, and you the master mechanic.
This being your position it is expected that you
will carefully inspect all parts of the engines run into your repair shop,
not all variations from the truly normal, and adjust from those variations
as nearly as possible to the conditions of the true specimen that stands
in the shop.
At this point it will be proper to suppose a case
by way of illustration. Suppose by some accident the bones of the
neck should be thrown at variance from the normal to a bend or twist.
We may then expect inharmony in the circulation of the blood to the head
and face with all the organs and glands above the neck. We will find
imperfect supply of blood and other fluids to the head. We may expect
swelling of head and face with local or general misery. Thus you
have a cause for headache, dizziness, blindness, enlarged tonsils, sore
tongue, loss of sight, hearing, memory, and on through the list of head
diseases, all because of perverted circulation of the fluids of the brain
proper of any local division. It is important to have perfect drainage,
for without it, the good results from a treatment cannot be expected to
follow your efforts to relieve diseases above the neck.
WHAT TREATING MEANS.
Here I want to emphasize that the word treat has
but one meaning, that is to know you are, right, and do your work accordingly.
I will only hint, and would feel embarrassed to go any farther than to
hint to you, the importance of an undisturbed condition of the five known
kinds of nerves, namely: sensation, motion, nutrition, voluntary and involuntary,
all of which you must labor to keep in perpetual harmony while treating
any disease of the head, neck, chest, abdomen, pelvis, spine and limbs.
If you would allow yourself to reason at all, you
must know that sensation must be normal and always on guard to give notice
by local or general misery, of unnatural accumulation of the circulating
fluids. Each set of nerves must be free to act and do their part.
Your duty as a master mechanic is to know that the engine is kept in so
perfect a condition that there will be no functional disturbance to any
nerve, vein, or artery that supplies and governs the skin, the fascia,
the muscle, the blood or any fluid that should freely circulate to sustain
life and renovate the system from deposits that would cause what we call
A NATURAL CURE.
Your Osteopathic knowledge has surely taught you, that with
an intimate acquaintance with the nerve and blood supply, you can arrive at
a knowledge of the hidden cause of disease, and conduct your treatment to a
successful termination. This is not by your knowledge of chemistry, but
by the absolute knowledge of what is in man. What is normal, and what
abnormal, what is effect and how to find the cause. Do you ever suspect
renal or bladder trouble without first receiving knowledge from your patient,
that there is soreness and tenderness in the region of the kidneys at some point
along the spine. By this knowledge you are invited to explore the spine
for the purpose of ascertaining whether it is. normal or not. If by your
intimate acquaintance and observance of a normal spine you should detect an
abnormal form although it be small, you are then admonished to look out for
disease of kidneys, bladder or both, from the discovered cause for disturbance
of the renal nerves by such displacement, or some slight variation from the
normal in the articulation of the spine. If this is not worthy of your
attention, your mind is surely too crude to observe those fine beginnings that
lead to death. Your skill would be of little use in incipient cases of
Bright's disease of the kidneys. Has not your acquaintance with the human
body opened your mind's eye to observe that in the laboratory of the human body,
the most wonderful chemical results are being accomplished every day, minute
and hour of your life? Can that laboratory be running in good order and
tolerate the forming of a gall or bladder stone? Does not the body generate
acids, alkalies, substances and fluids necessary to wash out all impurities?
If you think an unerring God has made all those necessary preparations, why
not so assert, and stand upon that stone? You cannot do otherwise, and
not betray your ignorance to the thinking world. If in the human body
you can find the most wonderful chemical laboratory mind can conceive of, why
not give more of your tiuie to that subject, that you may obtain a better understanding
of its workings? Can you afford to treat your patients without such qualification?
Is it not ignorance of the workings of this Divine law that has given birth
to the foundationless nightmare that now prevails to such an alarming extent
all over civilization, that a deadly drug will prove its efficacy in warding
off disease in a better way than has been prescribed by the intelligent God,
who has formulated and combined life, mind and matter in such a manner that
it becomes the connecting link between a world of mind, and that element known
as matter? Can a deep philosopher do otherwise than conclude that nature
has placed in man all the, qualities for his comfort and longevity? Or
will he drink that which is deadly, and cast his vote for the crucifixion of