THE FOUR BASICS OF OSTEOPATHY ACCORDING TO ANDREW TAYLOR STILL
US physician Andrew Taylor Still is deemed the founder of classical osteopathy. He initially used the term when he founded his school, the “School of Osteopathy”, in 1891. The term osteopathy comes from Ancient Greek and translates to “bone disorder”. Still’s understanding of osteopathy refers to four basic assumptions that have been essential for osteopathic procedures since then:
FIRST: THE BODY IS A FUNCTIONAL UNIT.
Andrew Taylor Still generally sees the body as a functional unit – therefore, osteopathic procedures not only treat the disease or the symptom, but the person as a whole. Pain and symptoms in certain areas of the body may be caused in an entirely different part of the body, since all structures and functions are inseparably linked.
SECOND: THE ARTERY PLAYS AN ESSENTIAL ROLE.
The body’s health is extremely dependent on circulation of the bodily fluids. In order to sufficiently supply the tissue with important nutrients, the blood must be able to flow freely. Circulation disorders will quickly lead to structural disorders. For osteopathic therapy, this means that treatment of the nerves and vessels can improve their function and thus stimulate the body’s self-healing powers.
THIRD: FUNCTION DETERMINES THE BODY STRUCTURE AND THE BODY STRUCTURE DETERMINES FUNCTION.
An organ’s function affects the structure and vice versa. This means that a defect of a body structure may cause the corresponding function to not work optimally either. Increased function of the organ also positively affects growth of the associated structure. Harmonious interaction between all structures and functions of the body is very important for the body to work optimally.
FOURTH: THE BODY IS ABLE TO REGULATE ITSELF.
Still’s last principle says that the body generally is able to heal itself holistically. Osteopathy and its procedures only support it by activating and supporting the self-healing powers with manual techniques. For the body to be able to heal itself, however, all prerequisites must be optimal – such as vascular health (see principle 2).
Osteopathy following Still’s basic assumptions is never only targeted at fighting the symptoms, but in particular at strengthening the defensive system. This requires the removal of damage to the anatomy, healing of injuries and disorders that directly or indirectly influence the entire body’s physiology by impairment of the blood or nervous system.
This continues to be the basis for the therapeutic procedures of osteopathy, such as cranio-sacral therapy, fascia therapy or visceral techniques that reduce tension and pain and can remove them entirely in the long term.