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The Philosophy of Osteopathy


Osteopathy is only in its infancy, it is a great
unknown sea and as yet we are only
acquainted with its shore-tide.1

By VIOLA M. FRYMANN, D.O.

A.T. Still wrote these words 80 years ago, yet they are almost as true today as they were then. The mechanical principles on which osteopathy is based are as old as the universe,2 but they tend to be displaced by more spectacular modern concepts based on man-made machines of diagnosis and treatment.
Osteopathy embraces all that is encompassed by the word "life the tangible and the intangible, the visible, the microscopic, the ultramicroscopic, and the invisible, the here and the hereafter, man and his Creator. But unlike so much that has been written on philosophy, the philosophy of osteopathy is eminently practical. It provides a plan of action for the solution of human problems; it provides a purpose for life here and an objective for the life that lies ahead. It recognizes that "principles govern the universe.3 The law of cause and effect provides the explanation for disease and health. Disease is the effect of a change in the parts of the physical body. Disease in an abnormal body is just as natural as is health when all parts are in place. Life and matter can be united, and that union cannot continue with any hindrance to free and absolute motion.4 Motion is the first and only evidence of life. We know life only by the motion of material bodies.5 All motion is matter in action.6
Osteopathy is the law of mind, matter, and motion.7 A philosophic discussion of this definition was developed and presented at the Kirksville College of Osteopathic Medicine with some trepidation in 1972,8 but the enthusiastic interest it evoked, particularly among the students and younger members of the profession, has encouraged further research into its practical application. As long ago as 1892, Still expressed the hope that "the osteopath will take up the subject and travel a few miles farther toward the fountain of this great source of knowledge and apply the results to the relief and comfort of the afflicted.9
The basic principles of osteopathy will therefore be cited as they were originally expressed and interpreted as the expanding concepts of today.

THE INTERDEPENDENCE OF STRUCTURE AND FUNCTION
Disease is the result of anatomical abnormalities followed by physiological discord.10

THE UNITY FUNCTION
The human body does not function in separate units but only as a harmonious whole.13

THE BODY PRODUCES ALL SUBSTANCES FOR FUNCTIONING IN HEALTH
The body constitutes the shop in which all substances pertaining
to the physical makeup are manufactured.17

THE BODY HAS THE POWER TO OVERCOME DISEASE
To make the sick well is no duty of the operator, but to adjust a part or whole of the system that the rivers of life may flow in and irrigate the famishing fields.20

CIRCULATION OF HEALTHY BLOOD IS FUNDAMENTAL TO WELL-BEING
The artery and its nerves must deliver constantly on time and in quantity sufficient: the venous system and its nerves must perform their function and allow no accumulations. These two demands are absolute.21

THE POTENCY OF THE CEREBROSPINAL FLUID
The cerebrospinal fluid is the highest known element that is contained in the
human body and unless the brain furnishes this fluid in abundance, a disabled condition of the body will remain.22

THE LAW OF CAUSE AND EFFECT
As the beautiful works of nature stand today, and in all times past, fully able by the evidence it holds before the eye and mind of reason, that all beings great and small come by the law of cause and effect, are we not bound to work by the laws of cause, if we wish an effect?30

We must conclude that, man is a builder, guided by wisdom to the fullest and most satisfactory proof that life is the essence of wisdom in action in all nature, and man is life and mind without beginning of days or end of time.33


BIBLIOGRAPHY

1. Still, A. T. Philosophy of Osteopathy. Reprinted by Academy of Applied
Osteopathy. 1946.
2. Still, A. T. Philosophy of Osteopathy. Reprinted by Academy of Applied Osteopathy. 1946.
3. Ibid., p. 17.
4. Still, A. T. The Philosophy and Mechanical Principles of Osteopathy. Kansas City, Mo.: Hudson-Kimberly, 1902, p. 250.
5. Ibid., p. 255.
6. Ibid., p. 256.
7. Still, A. T. Autobiography, Kirksville, Mo., 1987.
8. Frymann, V. M. Scott Memorial Lecture, 1972. The law of mind, matter and motion. Yearbook of the American Academy of Osteopathy, 1973, pp. 13-22.
9. Still, A. T. The Philosophy and Mechanical Principles of Osteopathy, p. 258.
10. Still, A. T. Osteopathy Research and Practice, p. 10.
13. Truhler, R. E. Doctor A. T. Still in the Living. 1950, p. 140.
17. Still, A. T. Osteopathy Research and Practice. P. 49.
20. Truhler, R. E. Doctor A. T. Still in the Living. P. 69.
21. Still, A. T. Osteopathy Research and Practice, p. 175.
22. Still, A. T. Philosophy of Osteopathy, p. 39.
30. Still, A. T. Philosophy of Osteopathy, p. 22.
33. Still, A. T. The Philosophy and Mechanical Principles of Osteopathy, p. 258

 
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