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An osteopath is only a human engineer, who should understand all the laws governing his engine and thereby master disease.
-Andrew Taylor Still
He took his conclusions, and sought a new method of healthcare. He began structurally diagnosing his patients based on their potential for movement. He recognized that any person could be in any position at any time, however illness was only discovered when that person could not transition out of that position. Life exists within time, and time is a measure of motion through space. This fundamental principle is the same in the human body, cells cannot live without motion. He used his immense knowledge of anatomy to non-invasively manipulate the restricted areas back into motion, and his patients began to heal.
This is now called Classical Osteopathy: using a strong understanding of anatomy to find motion restrictions that are impeding health, and gently coercing them back into motion to regain health.
Osteopathy, as founded, is based on an intense study of real human anatomy by a man with a mind geared for mechanics. He would see bones as support beams, muscles as activating forces, ligaments as cables, nerves as power supply, arteries as fuel and lubrication, veins and lymphatic vessels as effective waste management. He saw the body for what it is - a biological machine, but even more than that, he saw a self-sustaining biological machine. He reasoned that if life could be conceived, grow, sustain itself and heal for a large majority of the time, than there had to be something that got in the way of these processes which resulted in illness. He then spent his time examining bodies, watching for disturbances in the natural processes. Quite quickly, he realized that illness very often followed injury, be it traumatic injury or chronic injury. From this he concluded that physical structure and physiological function must be interrelated.
Principles of Osteopathy:
1. The body is a complete unit.
Every piece of the body is a part of one whole. Each system functions together with every other system, and they can not be separated. The body needs no more or nor less than it was originally given.
2. The body is self-healing and self-regulating.
In the same way that your skin heals a cut, the body has the ability to combat and heal illness. When it can not heal, it is a result of an obstruction blocking the body's natural healing abilities.
3. Structure and function are reciprocally interrelated.
Just as water struggles to pass through a hose with a kink, vessels struggle to deliver and remove blood and nerves struggle to relay electrochemical signals. Everything is subject to its environment.
4. Rational treatment is based on the aforementioned principles.
When we consider the body to be the collection of atoms that it is, we understand that it is subject to the laws of physics just as all other machines are. Knowing that, we can look for disturbances in function, make the correction, and allow the machine to continue with its purpose.
Any variation from the health has a cause, and the cause has a location. It is the business of the osteopath to locate and remove it (the cause), doing away with disease and getting health instead. – Andrew Taylor Still
To find health should be the objective of the doctor. Anyone can find disease.
- Andrew Taylor Still