Philosophy of Osteopathy
Andrew Taylor Still, D.O.




    Let us abruptly assume that the liver is the abiding placenta of all animated beings.  If this position be true we are warranted and justified in the conclusion that the germs necessary to form blood vessels and other parts of the body must look to the liver for the fluids in which they would expect to construct inform and size.  It seems to be nature's chemical laboratory, in which are prepared by receiving chemical qualities and quantities to suit the formation of hard and soft substances, which are to become the parts and the whole of any organ, gland, muscle, nerve, cell, veins and arteries.  In evidence of the probability of the truth of this position, we will draw your attention, first to its central location between the sacral and cerebral nerve centers.  There it lies between the "stomach" the vessel which receives all material previous to being manipulated for all nutrient purposes, and the heart, the great receiving and distributing quarter-master of all animal life.  It supplies squads, sections, companies, regiments, battalions. brigades and divisions to the whole army, and all parts that are dependent upon the nutrient system.


    The liver seems to be able to qualify by calling to itself all substances necessary to produce gall.  Its communications with all parts of the body is direct, circuitous, universal and absolute.  If pure it produces healthy gall and other substances, and in fact when healthy itself all other fluids are considered to be pure, at which time we are supposed to enjoy good health and universal bodily comfort.  With a diseased liver we have perverted action which possibly accounts for impure and unhealthy deposits in the nasal passage and other parts of the body in their own peculiar form.  Polypus of the nose, tumefaction of lungs, lympatics, liver, kidneys, uterus, and even the brain itself.  Suppose such deposits, composed of albumen and fibrin, prepared in the liver should be deposited in the lining membranes of veins leading to the heart, and by some other chemical action this accumulated mass should come loose from the veins, would we not expect what is commonly called clots enter the heart, and shut off the arteries, supplying the lungs, stop the farther circulation of blood and cause instantaneous death called heart failure, apoplexy and so on?  Is it not reasonable to suppose that under those deposits that softening of arteries has its beginning, which results in aneurisms and death by rupture of such abnormally formed arteries?  Are the lungs not liable to receive such deposits and form tubercles to such proportions as to become living zoophytes capable of covering all of the mucous membrane of the lungs, air passages and cells, and establish a perpetual dwelling of zoophytes and absorb to themselves for their own maintenance and existence, blood and nourishment of the whole body unto death?  This being the result of one chemical action of the body and all by and from nature, is it not reasonable to suppose that the provision by nature is ready to produce of itself the chemicals of kind, quality and quantity equal to the destruction of this enemy of life?


    I think before all diseases pass the zenith, after which the decline is beyond the vital rally, they are curable by the genius of nature's own remedies, and believe the truths of this conclusion have been supported abundantly by daily demonstrations.  I believe there is hope for the consumptive equal to one-half if not greater when taken in proper time, which is at any period of the disease, previous to breaking down by ulceration or otherwise, lung tissue, and even after this period, hope is not altogether lost.


    Nature and good sense are terms that mean much to persons who are used to set aside all else for facts.  A fact may and often does stay before our eyes for all time powerful in truth, but we heed not its lessons.  Instances, at least a few, would not be amiss at this time.  Electricity, the most powerful force known, was never able with all its works to get the attention of man's thoughts, more than to call it thunder and lightning, and let it pass from his mind from time to time, till brighter ages woke up a Franklin, Edison, Morse and others who heeded its useful lessons enough to make application of its powers for its force and speed.  By the results obtained, they and others have used its powers and gotten truths as rewards, that they did not know even existed in or out of electricity or in any of the store-houses of all nature.  But as the winds of time have blown open a few leaves of nature's book, and their brilliant pages and useful lessons have found a lodging place in such persons as were endowed with wisdom to see, and patience to persevere, by their energy and wisdom today we have many pages to add to our books of useful knowledge.  We can now talk around and all over the earth by the power of the dreaded thunder and lightning.  By it we travel, by it we see at night, by it we search on land and sea for friend or foe; in fact, it is dreaded no more but sought, used and loved by all who know of its uses in civil life.  Thus our enemy has become our footstool.  By the speed of man's ability we know and use the comforts that nature holds in store for us until we call for and use them.  Other and just as useful questions as electricity await our attention.  Parts and uses of the human body, today are to us as little understood as electricity was at anytime.  The lung today is an unknown mystery, as to what its power and uses are; we only know that air goes in and out of the lungs; farther than that we are at sea.  We have just as little knowledge of the heart as the lungs, we find a hollow fibrinous tank receiving and discharging blood; we are not prepared to say whether the corpuscle is formed in the heart or not; all else is conjectural and speculative on the subject the corpuscle.  We see channels leading to and from it, to and from all parts of the body, muscles and glands.  We know it moves when we are alive, we know it is silent in death.


    We pass from there to the liver loaded down with ignorance, from what we know, cannot tell whether it is male or female, we simply know its size, location and something of its form and action, but nothing beyond conjecture.  It stands today one of the wonders to him that tries to reason.


    We will leave this organ of many pounds with an open confession of our ignorance and take up the kidney.  At what time was the man and woman born that knew and left on record a true and reliable knowledge of the renal capsule.  We do not know whether that is the organ that makes our teeth, our hair or generates a powerful acid by which lime is kept in solution, so as not to form stones and such deposits.


    Nature's method is simple and easily comprehended in delivering purgative medicines, with their softening powers to dry constipated fecal matter.  For instance: We would give a purgative in the shape of salts, rhubarb, calomel and other substances of choice.  The first question of the physician is how is this to pass through so densely packed substance or fecal matter which is in the bowels?  At this time we will be short in the statement.  The purgative poisons are taken up by the secretions conveyed to the lymphatics.  To soften and wash out is the object of nature.  The lymphatics begin the work of washing out by starting action of the excretories and furnishes the water to soften, which is injected into the bowels from the mouth to the extremities by a system of salivation.


    Flux is common in all temperate climates.  It generally shows its true nature as dysentery after a few hours of tiresome feeling, aching in head, back and bowels.  At first nothing is felt or thought of more than a few movements of the bowels than is common for each day.  Some pain and griping are felt with increase at each stool, until a chilly feeling is felt all over the body, with violent pains in lower bowels, with pressing desire to go to stool, and during and after passage of stool a feeling that there is still something in the bowels that must pass.  Soon that down pressure partially subsides, and on examination of passage a quantity of blood is seen which shows the case is bloody flux, as the disease is called and known in the southern states of North America, or bloody dysentery in the more northern states.  It generally subsides by the use of family remedies, such as sedatives, astringents, and palliative diets.  But the severity in other cases increases and the discharges have more blood, greater pain, mixed with gelatinous substance even to mucous membrane of bowels, high fever all over except abdomen, which is quite cold to the hand.  Back, head and limbs suffer much with heat and pain, and much nausea is felt at all motions of bowels.  Bowels change from cold to hot, even to 104, at which time all symptoms point to inflammation of the bowels.  The colon in particular, at which time discharge grows black, frothy and very offensive from decomposition of blood.  Soon collapse and death close out the case, notwithstanding the very best skill has been employed to save the life of the patient.  The doctor has tried to stop pain by opiates and other sedatives, tried to check bowels with astringents, used tonics and stimulants, but all have failed, the patient is dead.


    But the question for the Osteopath is: At what point would you work to suppress the sensation of the colon and permit veins to open and allow blood to return to heart?  Does irritation of a sensory nerve cause vein to contract and refuse blood to complete circuit from and to the heart?  Does flux begin with the sensory nerves of bowels?  If so, reduce sensation at all points connecting with bowels, stop all overplus, keep veins free and open from cutaneous to deep sensory ganglion of whole spine and abdomen.  Remember the fascia is what suffers and dies in all cases of death by bowels and lungs.  Thus the nerves of all the fascia of bowels and abdomen must work or you may lose all cases of flux, for in the fascia exists much of the soothing and vital qualities of nature.  Guard it well, so it can work to repair all losses or death will begin in fascia and through pass it to the whole system.


    "Bloody flux" is a flow of blood with other fluids from the mucous membrane of the bowels.  A disease generally of the summer and fall seasons, and is more abundant south than north of latitude 40 0 of North America.  It is so well known in this country by its ravages that to describe it is almost useless, as bloody fluids pass from bowels in all cases.

    We reason that the veins have contracted by nerve irritation and fail to convey blood to heart on normal time.  By which delay decomposition does its work.  Thus a cause is seen for excreting fluids by motor action of bowels, when supplied by the excretory system.


    An Osteopath to successfully treat flux or bloody dysentery must reason and address his attention first to the soreness and irritation of bowels, which he finds suffering with oedema of mucous membrane of all the glands and blood vessels belonging to the lower bowels.  As quiet is the first thing desired, he will direct his attention to the sensory nerves of the colon and small intestines, in order to reduce the resistance of the veins and diminish the arterial action.  When he has diminished sensation of the veins of the bowels, the arterial force completes its circuit through the veins back to the heart, with much less arterial action, because venous resistance has ceased and the circuit is normal, and healthy action is the result.


        The medicine man addresses his remedies first to the misery, with the desire to relax the nerves and overcome pain, and obtains this result through some class of opiates.  After a short rest he addresses his attention to the motor action of the heart, with the view of giving arteries greater power to force arterial blood through all obstructions, and tries to stop all excretory wastings by the use of astringents combined with sedatives and soothing fluids.


    The Osteopath will govern sensory and motor nerves by digital suspension of the abnormal irritability of the sensory nerves on the various parts of the spine as indicated by the disease.

    He uses no injections for the bowels for the reason that the necessary fluids naturally flow into the bowels to lubricate and quiet, and proceed at once to repair all irritated surfaces, which is abundantly supplied by nature from the mouth of the sphincter ani, without which forethought and preparation, nature's God will prove his incompetency for the great battle of life.

    You administer medicines from the chemistry of the arts by mouth, injection and otherwise.  We adjust the machinery and depend upon nature's chemical laboratory for all elements necessary to repair, give ease and comfort, while nature's corpuscles do all the work necessary.