How Did Osteopathy Start?

Dr A T Still

In 1885, from a small office in Kirksville, Missouri, a medical physician and frontier military doctor called Dr. A. T. Still, developed a treatment that he named ‘Osteopathy’. He employed techniques of medically-based manipulative medicine that he’d developed over his years in medical practice. He’d qualified as a medical physician 30 years earlier and was himself the son of a physician.


After losing his first wife to child-birth complications, three children to an epidemic of spinal meningitis and then later a fourth child to pneumonia, he felt helpless and disillusioned with the medical practices  at the time. Practices that included bloodletting, blistering, purging and other approaches that many considered harmful. His own personal losses and desire to better treat patients served to encourage him to develop the practice of Osteopathy.


As his medical reputation and effectiveness grew, it wasn’t long before he was swarmed by patients from all parts of the US. To accommodate the high demand a new training school was opened (along with temporary accommodation to house the influx of people seeking his expertize.) Created in 1892, the American School of Osteopathy was thus founded in Kirksville. The first class of 5 women and 16 men graduated in 1894. From that point on the school became a truly recognized and respected establishment. It was estimated that on any given day 400 people would ride the train into Kirksville for treatment.

Dr. Still, greatly weakened by a stroke in 1914, died three years later. At his time of passing he’d started a profession that had 3000 graduates. In 1917, the year of his death, the first school of Osteopathy in Europe opened; the highly acclaimed British School of Osteopathy in London.


If you’d like to know more about the origins of Osteopathy, please clink on the link here