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About Osteopathy History of Osteopathy

History of Osteopathy

The profession of Osteopathy was founded in 1874 single-handedly by an American doctor, with a mechanical background, named Andrew Taylor Still (1828-1917). Still was the third son of a pioneer doctor, under whom he apprenticed at the culmination of the Jacksonian era (1829-1837). It was a time that encouraged independent thought and the development of new disciplines to improve the lot of mankind. Following Still's participation in the American Civil War, he began an empirical study of the human body, under the premise that by studying “God's work,” he would have a greater understanding of his “Creator.”

Andrew Taylor Still

Still disdained the common practices of physicians in the 1800s, such as venesection, emesis, and sedation with narcotics. He believed instead, that everything that was necessary to sustain human life was already present within the human body. Still sought to find non-medicinal and non-surgical avenues to enhance the body's innate ability to heal itself.

Still focused on the mechanical removal of the impediments to the free circulation of fluids, and the elements carried within those fluids. He felt that once these “mechanical blockages” to the free flow of fluids were removed, that free circulation of all the fluids of the body would naturally return. This free flow of fluids was Still's key to the self-regulation and self-healing processes of the body. The application of this philosophy and methodology was successful in treating musculoskeletal problems as well as the major diseases of his era such as tuberculosis, pneumonia, dysentery, and typhoid fever.
Although his work was transmitted through writing that was primarily philosophical in nature, he seemed to adapt two main types of techniques. One focused on restoring the “position” of the bones in relationship to each other. The other restored the “place” of the organs in relationship to the major vessels and neural centres of the body's cavities. These two systems are now known as osteo-articular adjustments and visceral normalization.
The first school of osteopathy was opened by Still in Missouri in 1892. Since then several of his original students have enhanced the profession through the introduction of other manual systems of techniques such as cranial-sacral therapy and fascial release.
By 1910 it was recommended, through sponsored reports, that osteopathic colleges within the United States adopt a system of higher education, licensing and regulation. By 1930, through a staggered transition, the American osteopathic profession adopted a medical model of osteopathic education that incorporated all conventional diagnostic and therapeutic practices of medicine including pharmacology, surgery and obstetrics. For this reason, all graduates from osteopathic colleges or osteopathic universities in the United States  are fully licensed medical practitioners and are recognized internationally as Osteopathic Physicians.
The rest of the world, including Europe, Asia, Canada, and the countries of the southern hemisphere, has not adopted this medical model of Osteopathy. Instead their curriculum focuses primarily on the manual application of traditional osteopathic philosophy and principles. Israel may be an exception.
In 1917, Osteopathy took root in Europe thanks to Dr. Martin Littlejohn, DO, a student of Dr. Still and a professor at his osteopathic school. Littlejohn founded the British School of Osteopathy, which is still active today. In France, the origin of Osteopathy has been traced back to Major Stirling in 1913.
The osteopathic college in Ontario, founded in 1991, is The Canadian College of Osteopathy. This college was modelled after the Collège d'Études Ostéopathiques (1981), both of which were founded by Philippe Druelle. The lineage of Traditional Osteopaths can be traced directly to the faculty of the Canadian College of Osteopathy. In particular, renowned Osteopaths such as Thomas Schooley, DO (deceased), Anne Wales, DO, (who was still actively treating in her 97th year), Viola Frymann, DO, and Denis Brooks, DO (deceased), have all either been instructors of the college's experienced faculty, or were guest lecturers at symposiums offered by the Association of Traditional Osteopathic Colleges of Canada (ATOCC) over the last twenty years. These Osteopaths were all students of Dr. William Garner Sutherland who was a student of A.T. Still's 1900 graduating class.

Thomas Schooley D.O. and Anne Wales D.O.

Fred Mitchell Jr. the son of Fred Mitchell Sr. is the current instructor of the CCO's course entitled Muscle Energy which was a concept developed by his father. Jean Guy Sicotte, MD, DO, is the CCO's current instructor of Strain Counterstrain which was developed by Lawrence H. Jones, DO. Mr. Sicotte studied Strain Counterstrain under Lawrence Jones. Harold Magoun Sr. wrote one of the CCO's most relied upon textbooks Osteopathy in the Cranial Field. Magoun's son, Harold Magoun Jr., an Osteopath with more than 50 years of experience is a regular guest lecturer of the ATOCC. Jean-Pierre Barral, DO, developer of the Visceral Concept, has also taught at ATOCC symposiums.

This direct lineage from these founding predecessors of Traditional Osteopathy distinguishes the education program offered by CCO from all other osteopathic colleges in Canada.