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Osteopathy is a system of medicine where diagnosis and treatment center on the ability and drive of the patient to heal themselves. Every living person has within them a degree of this healing power, and it is the osteopath’s role to help support it in its work. By recognizing where and to what extent the innate mechanism is active, the osteopath and therefore the patient have the resources and an unerring guide towards health, whether in the form of improved motion, function, circulation, strength, or ease of pain. The integrity of the whole body as a unit of function is the most important factor in health.

Osteopathy was founded by Andrew Taylor Still, M.D. in the late 1800s. He was an army surgeon and an abolitionist during the Civil War. Dr. Still became discouraged by the traditional medicine of the time when three of his children suffered with, and later died from meningitis. The treatments and medicines available were helpless in their battle, and as a doctor trained in their use, so was he. Dr. Still realized there was more to the study of life and health, and he began the task of rediscovering the basic principles of Anatomy and Physiology. After many years of meticulous dissections, and intricate examination of every detail comprising the human body, he set to work using the information he had gathered in his exhaustive study to help to heal his patients.

Dr. Still named his new approach to medicine and health “osteopathy” because he found that its study must begin with the bones (osteo), but is not limited to them. Osteopathy places its emphasis on the relationship of the neuromusculoskeletal system, and its influence on all the organ systems of the body. The greatest interest of practitioners of Osteopathy is the study of human anatomy and physiology. Following in Dr. Still’s footsteps, they know how important it is to have a thorough understanding of the relationship and function of each bone and other structures in the body. This is essential to the normal and healthy working of the human body.

Those working in Osteopathy look at the causes of disease and suffering, originating in the abnormal working relationship that can exist within and between structures.

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