Did you know that osteopathy is an older profession than chiropractic? This year will mark its 147th birthday! Andrew Taylor Still, MD, DO founded Osteopathy and Osteopathic Medicine in 1874.
Dr. Still was a physician and surgeon, an author and an inventor. He was a territorial and state legislator in the state of Kansas. He was one of the founders of Baker University, the oldest four-year college in the state of Kansas.
During the Civil War, he served as a hospital steward. Tragically, after the war ended he suffered great personal losses: the death of his three sons to spinal meningitis, his daughter to pneumonia, and his wife to childbirth. Distraught that the medicine of his day was unable to save his family, coupled with his experiences during the Civil war, Dr. Still began to search for a new method of healthcare - to improve the medicine of his day, as medications, surgeries and other traditional therapies often caused more harm than good (arsenic, castor oil, whiskey and opium were common therapies).
In seeking to reform the existing 19th-century medical practices, Dr. still established an approach to medicine based on ideas that date back to Hippocrates and the healing power of nature. Dr. Still recognized the body’s innate ability to heal and that the key to health resides in a properly functioning nervous system, flow of blood and circulation of other fluids in the body.
Led by founder Andrew Taylor Still, MD, DO, the American School of Osteopathy (now the A.T. Still University) was founded in 1892. It was the first osteopathic medical school. The school’s inaugural DO class of 21 students matriculated five women—a rarity in the late 19th century!