Philosophy of OsteopathyPhilosophy of OsteopathyPreface.CHAPTER I. Some Introductory Remarks.CHAPTER II. Osteopathic Explorations.CHAPTER III. The Head.CHAPTER IV. Ear Wax and Its Uses.CHAPTER V. Diseases of the Chest.CHAPTER VI. The Lymphatics.CHAPTER VII. The Diaphragm.CHAPTER VIII. Liver, Bowels and Kidneys.CHAPTER IX. The Blood.CHAPTER X. The Fascia.CHAPTER XI. Fevers.CHAPTER XII. Scarlet Fever and Smallpox.CHAPTER XIII. A Chapter of Wonders and Some Valuable Questions.CHAPTER XIV. Has Man Degenerated?CHAPTER XV. Osteopathic Treatment.CHAPTER XVI. Reasoning Tests.CHAPTER XVII. Obstetrics.CHAPTER XVIII. Convulsions.CHAPTER XIX. Concluding Remarks.CHAPTER XX. The Superior Cervical Ganglion.FOOTNOTESCopyright
Philosophy of Osteopathy
A. T. Still
Many of my friends have been anxious ever since Osteopathy
became an established fact, that I should write a treatise on the
science. But I was never convinced that the time was ripe for such
a production, nor am I even now convinced that this is not a little
premature. Osteopathy is only in its infancy, it is a great unknown
sea just discovered, and as yet we are only acquainted with its
When I saw others who had not more than skimmed the surface of the
science, taking up the pen to write books on Osteopathy, and after
having carefully examined their productions, found they were
drinking from the fountains of old schools of drugs, dragging back
the science to the very systems from which I divorced myself so
many years ago, and realized that hungry students were ready to
swallow such mental poison, dangerous as it was, I became fully
awakened to the necessity of some sort of Osteopathic literature
for those wishing to be informed.
This book is free from quotations from medical authors, and differs
from them in opinion on almost every important question. I do not
expect it to meet their approval; such a thing would be unnatural
It is my object in this work to teach principles as I understand
them, and not rules. I do not instruct the student to punch or pull
a certain bone, nerve or muscle for a certain disease, but by a
knowledge of the normal and abnormal, I hope to give a specific
knowledge for all diseases.
This work has been written a little at a time for several years,
just as I could snatch a moment from other cares to devote to it. I
have carefully compiled these thoughts into a treatise. Every
principle herein laid down has been fairly well tested by myself,
and proven true.
The book has been written by myself in my own way, without any
ambition to fine writing, but to give to the world a start in a
philosophy that may be a guide in the future.
Owing to the great haste with which the book has been rushed
through the press to meet the urgent demand, we will ask the
indulgence of the public for any imperfection that may appear.
Hoping the world may profit by these thoughts, I
CHAPTER I. Some Introductory Remarks.
NOT A WORK OF COMPILATION.
To readers of my book on the Philosophy of Osteopathy, I wish
to say that I will not tire you with a book of compilations just to
sell to the anxious reader. As I have spent thirty years of my life
reading and following rules and remedies used for curing, and
learned in sorrow it was useless to listen to their claims, for
instead of getting good, I obtained much harm therefrom, I asked
for, and obtained a mental divorce from them, and I want it to be
understood that drugs and I are as far apart as the East is from
the West; now, and forever. Henceforth I will follow the dictates
of nature in all I say or write.
I quote no authors but God and experience when I write, or
lecture to the classes or the masses, because no book written by
medical writers can be of much use to us, and it would be very
foolish to look to them for advice and instruction on a science
they know nothing of. They are illy able to advise for themselves,
they have never been asked to advise us, and I am free to say but
few persons who have been pupils of my school have tried to get
wisdom from medical writers and apply it as worthy to be taught as
any part of Osteopathy, philosophy or practice. Several books have
been compiled, called "Principles of Osteopathy." They may sell but
will fail to give the knowledge the student desires.
METHOD OF REASONING.
The student of any philosophy succeeds best by the more simple
methods of reasoning. We reason for needed knowledge only, and
should try and start out with as many known facts as possible. If
we would reason on diseases of the organs of the head, neck,
abdomen or pelvis, we must first know where these organs are, how
and from what arteries the eye, ear, or tongue is fed.
THE OSTEOPATH AN ARTIST.
I believe you are taught anatomy in our school more
thoroughly than any other school to date, because we want you to
carry a living picture of all or any part of the body in your mind
as a ready painter carries the picture of the face, scenery, beast
or any thing he wishes to represent by his brush. He would only be
a waster of time and paint and make a daub that would disgust any
one who would employ him. We teach you anatomy in all its branches,
that you may be able to have and keep a living picture before your
mind all the time, so you can see all joints, ligaments, muscles,
glands, arteries, veins, lymphatics, fascia superficial and deep,
all organs, how they are fed, what they must do, and why they are
expected to do a part, and what would follow in case that part was
not done well and on time. I feel free to say to my students, keep
your minds full of pictures of the normal body all the time, while
treating the afflicted.
WHEN I BECAME AN OSTEOPATH.
In answer to the questions of how long have you been teaching
this discovery, and what books are essential to the study? I will
say I began to give reasons for my faith in the laws of life as
given to men, worlds and beings by the God of nature, June, 1874,
when I began to talk and propound questions to men of learning. I
thought the sword and cannons of nature were pointed and trained
upon our systems of drug doctoring.
DR. NEAL'S OPINION.
I asked Dr. J. M. Neal, of Edinburg, Scotland, for some
information that I needed badly. He was a medical doctor of five
years training, a man of much mental ability, who would give his
opinions freely and to the point. I have been told by one or more
Scotch M. D.'s that a Dr. John M. Neal, of Edinburg, was hung for
murder. He was not hung while with me. The only thing made me doubt
him being a Scotchman was he loved whiskey, and I had been told
that the Scotch were a sensible people. John M. Neal said that
"drugs was the bait of fools"; it was no science, and the system of
drugs was only a trade, followed by the doctor for the money that
could be obtained by it from the ignorant sick. He believed that
nature was a law capable of vindicating its power all over the
THE OPINIONS OF OTHERS.
As this writing is for the information of the student I will
continue the history by saying, that in the early days of
Osteopathy I sought the opinions of the most learned, such as Dr.
Schnebly, Professor of Language and History in the Baker
University, Baldwin, Kansas; Dr. Dallas, a very learned M. D. of
the Alopathic faith; Dr. F. A. Grove, well-known in Kirksville; J.
B. Abbott, Indian agent, and many others of renown. Then back
to the tombs of the dead, to better acquaint myself with the
systems of medicine and the foundations of truth upon which they
stood, if any. I will not worry your patience with a list of the
names of authors that have written upon the subject of medicine, as
remedial agents. I will use the word that the theologian often uses
when asked whom Christ died for, the answer universally is, ALL.
All intelligent medical writers say by word or inference that drugs
or drugging is a system of blind guess work, and if we should let
our opinions be governed by the marble lambs and other emblems of
dead babies found in the cemeteries of the world, we would say that
John M. Neal was possibly hung for murder, not through design, but
through traditional ignorance of the power of nature to cure both
old and young, by skillfully adjusting the engines of life so as to
bring forth pure and healthy blood, the greatest known germicide,
to one capable to reason who has the skill to conduct the
vitalizing and protecting fluids to throat, lungs and all parts of
the system, and ward off diseases as nature's God has indicated.
With this faith and method of reasoning, I began to treat diseases
by Osteopathy as an experimenter, and notwithstanding I obtained
good results in all cases in diseases of climate and contagions, I
hesitated for years to proclaim to the world that there was but
little excuse for a master engineer to lose a child in cases
of diphtheria, croup, measles, mumps, whooping cough, flux and
other forms of summer diseases, peculiar to children. Neither was
it necessary for the adult to die with diseases of summer, fall and
winter. But at last I took my stand on this rock and my confidence
in nature, where I have stood and fought the battles, and taken the
enemy's flag in every engagement for the last twenty-five
WHAT STUDIES NECESSARY.
As you contemplate studying this science and have asked to
know the necessary studies, I wish to impress it upon your minds
that you begin with anatomy, and you end with anatomy, a knowledge
of anatomy is all you want or need, as it is all you can use or
ever will use in your practice, although you may live one hundred
years. You have asked for my opinion as the founder of the science.
Yours is an honest question, and God being my judge I will give you
just as honest an answer. As I have said, a knowledge of anatomy
with its application covers every inch of ground that is necessary
to qualify you to become a skillful and successful Osteopath, when
you go forth into the world to combat diseases.
WHAT I MEAN BY ANATOMY.
I will now define what I mean by anatomy. I speak by
comparison and tell you what belongs to the study of anatomy. I
will take a chicken whose parts and habits all persons are familiar
with to illustrate. The chicken has a head, a neck, a breast, a
tail, two legs, two wings, two eyes, two ears, two feet, one
gizzard, one crop, one set of bowels, one liver, and one heart.
This chicken has a nervous system, a glandular system, a muscular
system, a system of lungs and other parts and principles not
necessary to speak of in detail. But I want to emphasize, they
belong to the chicken, and it would not be a chicken without every
part or principle. These must all be present and answer roll call
or we do not have a complete chicken. Now I will try and give you
the parts of anatomy and the books that pertain to the same. You
want some standard author on descriptive anatomy in which you learn
the form and places of all bones, the place and uses of ligaments,
muscles and all that belong to the soft parts. Then from the
descriptive anatomy you are conducted into the dissecting room, in
which you receive demonstrations, and are shown all parts through
which blood and other fluids are conducted. So far you see you are
in anatomy. From the demonstrator you are conducted to another room
or branch of anatomy called physiology, a knowledge of which no
Osteopath can do without and be a success. In that room you are
taught how the blood and other fluids of life are produced,
and the channels through which this fluid is conducted to the heart
and lungs for purity and other qualifying processes, previous to
entering the heart for general circulation to nourish and sustain
the whole human body. I want to insist and impress it upon your
minds that this is as much a part of anatomy as a wing is a part of
a chicken. From this room of anatomy you are conducted to the room
of histology, in which the eye is aided by powerful microscopes and
made acquainted with the smallest arteries of the human body, which
in life are of the greatest known importance, remembering that in
the room of histology you are still studying anatomy, and what that
machinery can and does execute every day, hour, and minute of life.
From the histological room you are conducted to the room of
elementary chemistry, in which you learn something of the laws of
association of substances, that you can the better understand what
has been told you in the physiological room, which is only a branch
of anatomy, and intended to show you that nature can and does
successfully compound and combine elements for muscles, blood,
teeth and bone. From there you are taken to the room of the
clinics, where you are first made acquainted with both the normal
and abnormal human body, which is only a continuation of the study
of anatomy. From there you are taken to the engineer's room (or
operator's room) in which you are taught how to observe and detect
abnormalities and the effect or effects they may and do produce,
and how they effect health and cause that condition known as
Principles to an Osteopath means a perfect plan and
specification to build in form a house, an engine, a man, a world,
or anything for an object or purpose. To comprehend this engine of
life or man which is so constructed with all conveniences for which
it was made, it is necessary to constantly keep the plan and
specification before the mind, and in the mind, to such a degree
that there is no lack of knowledge of the bearings and uses of all
parts. After a complete knowledge of all parts with their forms,
sizes and places of attachment which should be so thoroughly
grounded in the memory that there would be no doubt of the intent
of the builder for the use or purpose of the great and small parts,
and why they have a part to perform in the workings of the engine.
When this part of the specification is thoroughly learned from
anatomy or the engineer's guide book, he will then take up the
chapter on the division of forces, by which this engine moves and
performs the duties for which it was created. In this chapter
the mind will be referred to the brain to obtain a knowledge of
that organ, where the force starts, how it is conducted to any
belt, pully, journal, or division of the whole building. After
learning where the force is obtained, and how conveyed from place
to place throughout the whole body, he becomes interested and
wisely instructed. He sees the various parts of this great system
of life when preparing fluids commonly known as blood, passing
through a set of tubes both great and small—some so vastly small,
as to require the aid of powerful microscopes to see their
infinitely small forms, through which the blood and other fluids
are conducted by the heart and force of the brain, to construct
organs, muscles, membranes and all the things necessary to life and
motion, to the parts separately and combined. By this minute
acquaintance with the normal body which has been learned in the
specification as written in standard authors of anatomy and the
dissecting rooms, he is well prepared to be invited into the
inspection room to receive comparisons between the normal and
abnormal engines, built according to nature's plan and
specification, and absolutely perfect. He is called into this room
for the purpose of comparing engines that have been strained from
being thrown off the track, or run against other bodies with such
force as to bend journals, pipes, break or loosen bolts; or
otherwise deranged, so as to render it useless until repaired. To
repair signifies to readjust from the abnormal condition in which
the machinist finds it, to the condition of the normal engines
which stand in the shop of repairs. His inspection would commence
by first lining up the wheels with straight journals; then he would
naturally be conducted to the boiler, steam chest, shafts, and
every part that belongs to a completed engine. To know that they
are straight and in place as shown upon the plan and described by
the specification, he has done all that is required of a master
mechanic. Then it goes into the hands of the engineer, who waters,
fires and conducts this artificial being on its journey. You as
Osteopathic machinists can go no farther than to adjust the
abnormal condition, in which you find the afflicted. Nature will do
THE PRACTICING OSTEOPATH'S GUIDE.
The Osteopath reasons if he reasons at all, that order and
health are inseparable, and that when order in all parts is found,
disease cannot prevail, and if order is complete and disease should
be found, there is no use for order. And if order and health are
universally one in union, then the doctor cannot usefully,
physiologically, or philosophically be guided by any scale of
reason, otherwise. Does a chemist get results desired by
accident? Are your accidents more likely to get good results than
his? Does order and success demand thought and cool headed reason?
If we wish to be governed by reason, we must take a position that
is founded on truth and capable of presenting facts, to prove the
validity of all truths we present. A truth is only a hopeful
supposition if it is not supported by results. Thus all nature is
kind enough to willingly exhibit specimens of its work as
vindicating witnesses of its ability to prove its assertions by its
work. Without that tangible proof, nature would belong to the gods
of chance. The laws of mother, conception, growth and birth, from
atoms to worlds would be a failure, a universe without a head to
direct. But as the beautiful works of nature stand to-day, and in
all time past, fully able by the evidence it holds before the eye
and mind of reason, that all beings great and small came by the law
of cause and effect, are we not bound to work by the laws of cause,
if we wish an effect? If the heavens do move by cause when was its
beings divorced from that great common law? Are we not bound to
trust and work by the old and reliable self-evident laws, until
something later has proven its superior ability to ward off disease
and cure the sick.
I know of no part of the body that equals the fascia as a
hunting ground. I believe that more rich golden thought will appear
to the mind's eye as the study of the fascia is pursued than any
division of the body. Still one part is just as great and useful as
any other in its place. No part can be dispensed with. But the
fascia is the ground in which all causes of death do the
destruction of life. Every view we take, a wonder appears. Here we
find a place for the white corpuscles building anew and giving
strength to throw impurities from the body by tubes that run from
the skin to tanks of useful fluids, that would heap up and are no
longer of use in the body. No doubt nerves exist in the fascia,
that change the fluid to gas, and force it through the spongy and
porous system as a delivery by the vital chain of wonders, that go
on all the time to keep nerves wholly pure.
NOT A PLEASANT TASK.
I dislike to write, and only do so, when I think my
productions will go into the hands of kind-hearted geniuses who
read, not to find a book of quotations, but to go with the soul of
the subject that is being explored for its merits,—weigh all truths
and help bring its uses front for the good of man.
Osteopathy has not asked a place in written literature prior to
this date, and does not hope to appear on written pages even
to suit the author of this imperfectly written book.
WITHOUT ACCEPTED THEORIES.
Columbus had to launch and navigate much and long, and meet
many storms, because he had not the written experience of other
travelers to guide him. He had only a few bits of drift-wood not
common to his home growth, to cause him to move as he did. But
there was a fact, a bit of wood that did not grow on his home
He reasoned that it must be from some land amid the sea whose
shores had not before been known to his race. With these facts and
his powerful mind of reason, he met all opposition, and moved
alone; just as all men do who have no use for theories as their
compass to guide them through the storms. This opposition a mental
explorer must meet.
I felt that I must anchor my boat to living truths and follow them
wheresoever they might drift. Thus I launched my boat many years
ago on the open seas, fearlessly, and have never found a wave of
scorn nor abuse that truth could not eat, and do well on.
TRUTHS OF NATURE.
We often speak of truth. We say great truths, and use many
other qualifying expressions. But no one truth is greater than
any other truth. Each has a sphere of usefulness peculiar to
itself. Thus we should treat with respect and reverence all truths,
great and small. A truth is the complete work of nature, which can
only be demonstrated by the vital principle belonging to that class
of truths. Each truth or division as we see it, can only be made
known to us by the self evident fact, which this truth is able to
demonstrate by its action.
If we take man as our object to base the beginning of our reason,
we find the association of many elements, which differ in kind to
suit the purpose for which they were designed. To us they act, to
us they are wisely formed and located for the purpose for which
they were designed. Through our five senses we deal with the
material body. It has action. That we observe by vision which
connects the mind to reason. High above the five senses on the
subject of cause or causes of this, is motion. By the testimony of
the witness the mind is connected in a manner by which it can
reason on solidity and size. By smell, taste and sound, we make
other connections between the chambers of reason and the object we
desire to reason upon; and thus our foundation on which all five
witnesses are arrayed to the superior principle which is
After seeing a human being complete in form, self moving, with
power to stop or go on at will, to us he seems to obey some
commander. He seems to go so far and stop; he lies down and gets
up; he turns round and faces the objects that are traveling in the
same direction he does. Possibly he faces the object by his own
action. Then by about facing, he sees one coming with greater
velocity, sees he can not escape by his own speed, so he steps
aside and lets that body pass on, as though he moved in obedience
to some order. The bystander would ask the question, "How did he
know such a dangerous body was approaching?" He finds on the most
crucial examination, that the sense of hearing is wholly without
reason. The same is true with all the five senses pertaining to
man, beast, or bird. This being the condition of the five physical
senses, we are forced by reason to conclude there is a superior
being who conducts the material man, sustains, supports and guards
against danger; and after all our explorations, we have to decide
that man is triune when complete.
BODY, MOTION AND MIND.
First the material body, second the spiritual being, third a
being of mind which is far superior to all vital motions and
material forms, whose duty is to wisely manage this great engine of
life. This great principle known as mind, must depend for all
evidences on the five senses, and on this testimony, all mental
conclusions are bad, and all orders from this mental court are
issued to move to any point or stop at any place. Thus to obtain
good results, we must blend ourselves with, and travel in harmony
with nature's truths. When this great machine man, ceases to move
in all its parts, which we call death, the explorers knife
discovers no mind, no motion. He simply finds formulated matter
with no motor to move it, with no mind to direct it. He can trace
the channels through which the fluids have circulated, he can find
the relation of parts to other parts; in fact by the knife, he can
expose to view the whole machinery that once was wisely active.
Suppose the explorer is able to add the one principle motion, at
once we would see an action, but it would be a confused action.
Still he is not the man desired to be produced. There is one
addition that is indispensable to control this active body, or
machine, and that is mind. With that added the whole machinery then
works as man. The three when united in full action are able to
exhibit the thing desired—complete.
OSTEOPATHY TO CURE DISEASE.
The Osteopath seeks first physiological perfection of form, by
normally adjusting the osseous frame work, so that all arteries may
deliver blood to nourish and construct all parts. Also that
the veins may carry away all impurities dependent upon them
for renovation. Also that the nerves of all classes may be free and
unobstructed while applying the powers of life and motion to all
divisions, and the whole system of nature's laboratory.
A full and complete supply of arterial blood must be generated and
delivered to all parts, organs and glands, by the channels called
the arteries. And when it has done its work, then without delay the
veins must return all to heart and lungs for renewal. We must know
some delay of fluids has been established on which nature begins
the work of renewal by increased action of electricity, even to the
solvent action of fever heat, by which watery substances evaporate
and relieve the lymphatic system of stagnant, watery secretions.
Thus fever is a natural and powerful remedy.
THE OSTEOPATH SHOULD FIND HEALTH.
To find health should be the object of the doctor. Anyone can
find disease. He should make the grand round among the sentinels
and ascertain if they are asleep, dead or have deserted their
posts, and have allowed the enemy to get into camps. He should
visit all posts. Before he goes out to make the rounds, he should
know where all posts are, and the value of the supply he has charge
of, whether it be shot, shell, grub, clothing, arms or anything of
value to the Company or Division.
CHAPTER II. Osteopathic Explorations.
DIVISIONS OF THE BODY.