Philosophy of Osteopathy
Andrew Taylor Still, D.O.
THOUGHTS FOR CONSIDERATION.
"Let us not forget the assembling of ourselves together."
Whether this quotation applies to us or not, as an Osteopath I will venture
to say that the honored dead, and the honest living intelligent healers
of all schools, and all systems of trying to relieve our race from disease
and suffering, so far as I have been able to ascertain, have been forced
to guess how to proceed when they enter the "sick room" for want of a philosophical
system of procedure. We have collected together many or few symptoms,
named the disease, opened the battle, and on our side have met the enemy
and fought bravely all battles very much the same way. I have spent
one-half of a century in the field trying the many methods of attacks;
and used the best arms and ammunition to date, and designed to do the greatest
good. For twenty years or more I was content to be governed by the
opinions and customs of older and more experienced physicians. I
gave the disease its proper name. I gave the medicine as taught and
practiced, but was not satisfied that the line of procedure was philosophically
OFFERING A NEW PHILOSOPHY.
I believe at the present time I am fully prepared
to say I can offer you a more rational philosophy of what should be the
physician's first object, when called to repair a vessel that has become
unseaworthy by accumulated barnacles, and is placed upon the dry dock for
restoration to that condition called seaworthy, again. I believe
this philosophy will sustain the strongest minds in the conclusion that
our first and wisest step to successfully combat all diseases would be
to inhibit first the nerves of the lymphatics, then produce muscular constricture
and cause them to unload their diseased contents, and keep them unloading
until renovation is absolutely complete; leaving the lymphatics in a purely
healthy state, and keep them in this condition at any period of the disease.
I have long since been of the opinion that if we could keep all impurities
from accumulating in the lymphatics, and never allow them to become over-loaded,
we would have no such diseases as bilious fever, typhoid, mountain fever,
malaria, pneumonia, flux, heart disease, brain disease, fits, insanity
and on to the whole list of climatic troubles, and the troubles with the
of changes of winter and summer.
LYMPHATICS AND FASCIA.
I have thought for many years that the lymphatics
and cellular system of the fascia, of the brain, the lungs, and the heart
throughout the whole system of blood supply, do get filled up with impure
and unhealthy fluids, long before any disease makes its appearance, and
that the procedure of changes known as fermentation, with its electro-magnetic
disturbances, were the cause of at least ninety per cent of the diseases
that we labor to relieve by some chemical preparation called drugs.
When I was fully satisfied that we were liable to do more harm than good
with such remedies, I began to hunt for more reasonable methods to relieve
the system of its poisonous gases and fluids, through the excretory system
of the lymphatics and other channels, through which we had hoped to renovate
and purify the system.
A SATISFACTORY EXPERIMENT.
For twenty-five years I have tried to balance myself,
divert my mind from all previous methods and see if I could not get more
directly to the lymphatic system of nerves, and cause the millions of vessels
known to exist in the body to begin to unload their contents and continue
that action until all impurities were discharged by way of the bowels,
lungs, kidneys and porous system.
NATURAL WASHING OUT.
At the conclusion of this philosophy I will endeavor
to explain just how nature has provided to ward off diseases, by washing
out before fermentation should set up in the lymphatics, from being received
and retained the length of time, that destructive chemical changes would
begin its work of converting elements into gas and discharging them from
the system as unsuitable for nutriment. In order to avoid this calamity
we are met with two important thoughts, one of the power of the nerves
of the lymphatics to dilate and contract, also that of fascia and muscle,
to dilate or constrict with great force when necessary to eject substances
from gland, cell, muscle and fascia. Thus we see a cell loaded to
fullness by secretion which it cannot do without; open-mouthed vessels
through which it receives this fluid. Then again the system of cellular
sphincters must dilate and contract in order to retain the fluids in those
cell-like parts of the body. Now we are at the point when ready for
use in other parts of the system, those sphincters must temporarily give
away, that the gland may relax and dilate. Then the universal principle
of constriction throughout the whole body can discharge the contents of
the lymphatics of all divisions of the body, which is surely the normal
condition. Let the lymphatics always receive and discharge naturally.
If so we have no substance detained long enough to produce fermentation,
fever, sickness and death.
I think this thought has been presented plainly enough to
be fully understood and practiced by the reader, if an Osteopath.