THE PHILOSOPHY OF OSTEOPATHY
Osteopathy is not a set of techniques; rather it is a philosophy based upon sound principles proposed by Hippocrates over 2500 years ago. Restructured by Dr Andrew Taylor Still (1828 – 1917) osteopathy can make profound changes to a person’s health.
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HIPPOCRATES – The Father of Greek Medicine
In his books on joints, Hippocrates (460–385 BCE), who is often referred to as the father of medicine, was the first physician to describe spinal manipulative techniques using gravity, for the treatment of scoliosis. In this case, the patient was tied to a ladder and inverted.
The second technique he described involved the use of a table with various straps, wheels, and axles enabling traction to be applied. The hand, foot, seated body weight, or a wooden lever could then be used to impart spinal pressure or thrust to treat a “gibbus” or prominent vertebra.
The third technique he described was for the treatment of dislocations and ligament laxity. He would thrust a red-hot iron into the injuried ligament creating an inflammatory response which started the healing process. Nowadays we are less severe using only injections of glucose and procaine – Prolotherapy
Hippocrates noted that this treatment should be followed by exercises.
Avicenna (also known as the doctor of doctors) from Baghdad (980–1037 CE) included descriptions of Hippocrates’ techniques in his medical text The Book of Healing. A Latin translation of this book was published in Europe influencing future scholars such as Leonardo Da Vinci and contributing greatly to the emergence of Western medicine at the end of the Middle Ages.
Hippocrates, Galen, Avicenna and Hildegard von Bingen – the most famous of the ancient physicians realised that the physical body and the planets (as above, so below) were interconnected and both correction to structural imbalance and knowledge of astrology were equally important in understanding the cause and maintenance of “osteopathic lesions” – a term coined by Dr Andrew Taylor Still, the Father of Osteopathy
Dr Andrew Taylor Still (1828 – 1917) – Osteopath & Astrologer
“In man we find a complete universe. We find the solar system, we find a world, we find a Venus, a Jupiter, a Mars, a Herschel, a Saturn, a Uranus. We find all of the parts of the whole solar system and the universe represented in man. In the heart we have the solar center; the little toe will be Uranus. What is the road that is traveled to Uranus? It is from the heart through the great thoracic aorta, abdominal aorta, which divides into the iliacs, and from there on down to the popliteal, etc., until you get to the plantar arteries.”
Still, A.T.. Autobiography of Andrew T. Still: With a History of the Discovery and Development of the Science of Osteopathy (Kindle Locations 3054-3057). . Kindle Edition.
Unfortunately many of the ancient diagnostic skills used in osteopathy have been replaced by modern imaging devices such as radiology, CTIs and MRIs. These wonderful machines have the ability (through invasive radiation) to “see” the inside anatomy of the body. However, they are purely an image of anatomy and pathology. The final image would be the same whether you were alive or dead.
During the times of the ancient physicians and even up to the time of Dr Still astro-medicine was used to determine predisposition to disease (natal chart) and the current cosmological influences (horary chart). Dr Still. using his knowledge of anatomy combined with his understanding and application of astro-medicine was very successful in treatment not only structural imbalances but also organ, physiological and psychological imbalances.
Unfortunately osteopaths are no longer trained in astro-medicine which limits their diagnostic skills thereby confining them to addressing muscular-skeletal dysfunction and not the body as a whole.
1. The Body is a Unit
The body is made up of many different systems that all work together in order to achieve an optimal function of the entire organism. Osteopaths believe that a problem in one area of the body affects other musculoskeletal regions and/or other body systems.
2. Structure and Function are Inter-related
Osteopaths strongly believe in the relationship between body structure and its ability to function. If a body’s structure is sound and balanced, then it can function at an optimal level.
3. The Somatic Component of Disease
Osteopaths believe that the musculoskeletal system is an integral part of total body health. For the body to recover completely from injury or disease, problems within the musculoskeletal system must be addressed.
4. The Healing Power of Nature
The body has within itself methods for protection, repair and regulation which are necessary for health maintenance and recovery from disease. The role of the Osteopath is to enhance this inherent capacity for health.
Osteopathic Medicine is the only branch of mainstream medicine that follows the Hippocratic philosophy of medical care centering on the patient, not the disease.