Osteopathic medicine was founded in Kirksville, Missouri by a man named Andrew Taylor Still, MD.  Still spent the first half of his life training as a medical doctor under his father.  He then served in the Union Army during the civil war from 1861 to 1864.  Upon returning from active duty, Dr. Still loses four of his children to spinal meningitis and pneumonia within four weeks of each other.  He is stricken with grief.  A few years later he loses his father, whom he was very close with, to pneumonia.  These emotional defeats along with his experiences in the war propelled Still away from the traditional medicine of his training toward alternative methods.  He delved into spiritual studies as well as studying “magnetic healing” and “bone setting” from unknown sources.

1874 – Dr. Still later remarks, “I flung to the breeze the banner of Osteopathy.”

Thus a new lineage was born in the healing traditions. Dr. Still found his new way of treating people with drugless manipulation of the bodies tissues to be popular and was soon training his children and others to assist him in his practice.  A philosophy based on finding and correcting anatomical deviations interfering with the flow of the bodies fluids and forces was at the core of his practice.

Soon, Dr. Still would found the first school of Osteopathic medicine and train the next generation.  At the core of the training were the tenants of osteopathy:

  1. The body is a unit; the person is a unit of body, mind, and spirit.

  2. The body is capable of self-regulation, self-healing, and health maintenance.

  3. Structure and function are reciprocally interrelated.

  4. Rational treatment is based upon an understanding of the basic principles of body unity, self-regulation, and the interrelationship of structure and function.


More Information and History can be found on the pages below.

A.T.Still University Museum Page.

Dr. Still’s Wikipedia Page.