OSTEOPATHY is a science of body mechanics concerned with the prevention and treatment of human ailments by relying on the healing abilities of the body itself. Osteopathy recognizes the important link between structures, organs and systems of the body and the way the body functions; it is concerned with the body as a whole. The World Health Organization (WHO) defines Osteopathy as a drug-free, holistic medicine and has set up standards for Osteopathic education around the world. WHO acknowledges the Osteopathic proposition that “the entire body if adequately nourished is capable of maintaining, repairing and healing itself.”
Osteopathic PhilosophyIn the late 1800s an American frontier doctor, Andrew Taylor Still, observed helplessly while conventional medicine failed to cure his three children of spinal meningitis. Recognizing the limitations of the medical care of his day, Dr. Still approached the treatment of his patients from an aspect of complete unity of the body, mind and its structures. He began to investigate a form of healing that did not include drugs. His experience with many patients demonstrated that most of them were receiving considerable benefits from his manual manipulations. Still would argue that presence of disease is due to obstructions or imbalances of bodily fluids, principally, the blood. He believed that these physiological disturbances were caused by a mis-alignment of the musculoskeletal system. In 1874 Dr. Still announced his medical philosophy of “OSTEOPATHY”. He articulated a set of principles that have continued to guide the Osteopathic profession into the present. Dr. Andrew Still was the first “osteopath” and outlined the fundamental tenets of osteopathic approach to health and disease.
Principles of Osteopathic Medicine
- Human being is one dynamic unit of function.
- Structure (anatomy) and function (physiology) are interrelated at all levels.
- Unimpeded flow of bodily fluids (blood, lymph) is essential in disease prevention and health recovery.
- Given the right support, human body is capable of self-healing.