Philosophy of Osteopathy
Andrew Taylor Still, D.O.




    Before we treat of the head, we must follow blood from the heart to all organs of the head.  Not only look at the pictures in Gray, Morris, Gerrish, or some finely illustrated work on anatomy, but we must apply a searching hand and know to a certainty that the constrictors of neck, or other muscles or ligaments do not pull cervical and hyoid bones so close as to bruise pneumogastric or any other nerves or fibres that would cause spasmodic contraction of digastric, stylo-hyoid or the whole remaining group of neck muscles and ligaments, with which you are or should be very familiar.  Ever remember that the venous drainage must be kept normally active or congestion, and tumefaction, with inflammation of the glands of the head, face and neck will appear, and mark for you this oversight; because the perpetual health, ease and comfort of the head beginning with
the scalp and hair, with their nerves, glands and purity of blood supply, a healthy eye, good hearing, healthy action of brain with its magnetic and electric forces to the vital parts which sustain life, memory and reason, depend directly and wholly upon unlimited freedom of the circulatory system of nerves, blood and cerebral fluid.  They must be normal in action and quantity unembarrassed, otherwise bad hearing, ulcers of the ears, cross eyes, pterygium, cataract, granulated lids, staphyloma, lachrymosis and up to full list of diseases of the eye, with tonsilitis, injured voice, tumors and cancers of face, head, tongue, mouth and throat, along with erysipelas, blotches and pimples, and all diseases of the glandular system of the head. and neck.  Undoubtedly all these afflictions have their origin in obstructed normal action between the heart and the termination of all above it, for want of nerve and blood harmony.


    Remember that death blows are dealt out freely above the sternum by irritation and constriction of the parts above described.  We should often refresh our minds, beginning with the muscles that connect the head and neck, and know to a certainty as we explore that junction that the capitas minor, major and lateralis, long and short of both anticus and posticus regions are indisputably normal to your hand and judgment.  It is almost useless to say to the anatomist who has had the drilling in all branches of that science, previous to obtaining his diploma, to commence and detail the venous and excretory system, through which all those glands are drained, and kept in a healthy condition, but we say this much; let your morning, noon and evening prayer be this, Oh Lord! Give me more anatomy each day I live, because experience has taught me the unavoidable
demands when in the "sick room."


    Before you leave that wisely constructed neck, I want to press and imprint on your minds in the strong6st terms that the wisest anatomist, and physiologist, the oldest and most successful Osteopath knows only enough of the neck, and its wondrous system of nerves, blood and muscles and its relation to all above and below it, to say, "From everlasting to everlasting thou art great, O Lord God Almighty!" Thy wisdom is surely boundless, for I see that man must be wise to know all about the neck, for we find by a twist of neck, we may become blind, deaf, spasmodic, lose speech and memory, and all that is known as the joys of man.  On that division of the body all action of arms, legs, chest and, all mucles get their life-power and motion.  Think for a moment of the thousands and tons of thousands of large and small fluid vessels that pass to and from heart and brain, to every organ, bone, fibre, muscle and gland, both large and small, receiving and appropriating the substances as prepared in the chemical laboratory; so wisely situated, and so exact in all its works in the production and application of all substances in the body.


    The reader will begin with the brain or head because I want to start with the head; first give such diseases as belong to that division of the body.  Then the neck, chest, abdomen and pelvis.  Thus we have five divisions in regular order, beginning with the head and finishing with the sacrum.  The reader will find diseases of eye, ear, tongue, nose, face, scalp and hair under the chapter treating of the head.  Next in regular order will be the division of the neck, with diseases of tonsils and glands of neck, swallow, trachae, nerves, blood vessels and muscles, fascia and lymphatics, superior cervical ganglion and other nerves of the neck, as they affect vitality in diseases.  Then we pass on to third division, with diseases of lung, heart, pericardium, and pleura, with all parts of chest.  Then abdomen, liver, stomach and bowels, and all organs with resisting power of diaphragm.  Fifth, pelvis, with its great supply of nerves, blood and other fluids.  These give us cause to halt and seat the mind for a long season of observation.  A great field opens at this point for the observing thinker.


    In the pelvis we find a system of nerves and arteries with blood for local supply, besides blood to construct womb, bladder, rectum, colon, cellular system and all the muscles of that cavity (the pelvis) all of which comes from arteries and branches above.  We think it is not necessary to name them only in bulk, to a student versed in anatomy.  Perhaps less is known of the pelvic system and its functions than any division of the body, and for that reason I have felt that we should know all that is possible to be learned.  I believe more ignorance prevails today of internal causes of diseases than would if we reasoned that the pelvic nerves and vessels had much to do in forming the abdominal


    Of all parts of the body of man to be well studied, the brain should be the most attractive.  It is the place where all force centers, where all nerves connect to one common battery.  By its orders the laboratory of life begins to move on crude material and labors until blood is formed and becomes food for all nerves first; then arteries and veins by nerve action and forces, to suit each class of work to be done by that set of nerves which is to construct forms; keep blood constantly in motion by the arteries and from all parts back to the heart, through the veins, that the blood may be purified, renewed and reenter the arteries to be taken to all places of need.


    Arterial motion is normal during all ages, from the quick pulse of the babe's arm, to the ages of each year to one hundred or more.  At this great age the pulse is so slow that the heat is not generated by the nerves, whose motor velocity is not great enough to bring electricity to the stage of heat.  All heat, high and low, surely is the effect of active electricity -- plus to fever; minus to coldness.  When an irritant enters the body by lung, skin or any other way, a change appears in the heart's action from its effects on the brain, to the high electric action and that burning heat called fever.  If plus violent type (yellow fever), if minus, low grades (typhus, typhoid, plagues), and so on through the list.


    To think implies action of the brain.  We can grade thought although we cannot measure its speed.  Suppose a person of one kind of business thinks just fast enough to suit that profession.  A man is engaged in raising hogs and that alone.  He must reason on and of the nature of hogs.  He begins about so: a hog eats, drinks, bathes, roots and sleeps.  He knows the hog eats grain, so he feeds it corn, or some other suitable cereal, with plenty of water and good bedding.  The swine is on his mind night and day.


    Now the question is, how fast does he think?  How many revolutions do the wheels of his head make per minute to do all the necessary thinking connected with the hog business?  Say his mental wheels revolve 100 times each minute.  Then he adds sheep to his business, and if that should require 100 more revolutions and he takes char e of raising draft horses with 175 revolutions added, you see the wheels of his head whizzing off 375 vibrations per minute.  And at this time he adds the duties of the carpenter with 300 more revolutions, add them together and you see 675.  To this number he adds the duties and thoughts of a sheriff, which are numerous enough to buzz his wheels at 1500 more, you find 2175 to be his mental revolutions so far.  Now you have the great physical demands added to the mental motion which his brain has to support, yet he can do all so far, fairly well.


    He now adds to his labors the manufacturing of leather, from all kinds of hides, with the chemistry of fine tanning, which is equal to all previous mental motions.  Add and you find 4250 revolutions all drawing on his brain each minute of the day.  Add to this mental strain the increased action of his body which has to perform these duties and you see the beginning of a worry of both mind and body, to which you add manufacturing of engines, iron puddling, rolling, etc.; a delegate to a national convention, thoughts of the death of a near relative; add to this a security debt to meet during a money panic.  By this time the mind begins to fag below the power of resistance.


    Duration of such great mental vibrations for so long stops nutrition of all or one-half of the brain, and we have a case of "Hemiplegia," or the wheels of one-half of the brain run so fast as to overcome some fountain of nerve force and explode some cerebral artery in the brain and deposit a clot of blood at some motor supply or plexus.

    Thus we see men from over mental action fall in our National councils, courts, manufactories, churches, and almost all places of great mental activity.  Slaves and savages seldom fall victims to paralysis of any kind, but escape all such, for they know nothing of the strains of mind and hurried nutrition.  They eat and rest, live long and happy.  The idea of riches never bothers their slumbers.  Physical injuries may and often do wound motor, sensory and nutrient centers of brain; but the effect is just the same, partial or complete suspension of the motor and sensory systems.

    If you burst a boiler by high pressure or otherwise, your engine ceases to move.  And just the same of an over-worked brain or body.

    Hemiplegia.  "The half" and "I strike." Paralysis of one half of the body.  [* Chambers.]

    Hemiplegia is usually the result of a cerebral hemorrhage or embolism.  It sometimes occurs suddenly without other marked symptoms; but commonly it is ushered in by an apoplectic attack and on return of consciousness it is observed that one side of the body is paralyzed, the paralysis being often profound in the beginning, and disappearing to a greater or less extent at a later period.

    Hemiplegia is much more rarely produced by a tumor.  It then generally comes on slowly, the paralysis gradually increasing as the neoplasm encroaches more and more upon the motor tracks, though the tumor may be complicated by the occurrence of a hemorrhage and a sudden hemiplegia.

    A gradual hemiplegia may also be produced by an abcess or chronic softening of the brain substance.  Other conditions or symptoms presented, will in such case, assist us to diagnose the nature of the lesion.