Andrew Taylor Still, D.O. (August 6, 1828 – December 12, 1917) is considered the father of osteopathy and osteopathic medicine. Over his lifetime, he was also a physician & surgeon, author, inventor and Kansas territorial & state legislator. He was one of the founders of Baker University, the oldest 4-year college in the state of Kansas, and was the founder of the American School of Osteopathy (now A.T. Still University), the world's first osteopathic medical school in Kirksville, Missouri.
Still believed that osteopathy was a necessary discovery, because the current medical practices of his day often caused significant harm and conventional medicine had failed to shed light on the etiology and effective treatment of disease.
At the time A.T. Still practiced as a physician, medications, surgery, and other traditional therapeutic regimens often caused more harm than good. Some of the medicines commonly given to patients during this time often resulted in more deaths than cures. Still imagined that someday rational medical therapy would consist of manipulation of the musculoskeletal system, without the use of drugs.
He invented the name "osteopathy" by blending two Greek roots: osteon for bone, and pathos for suffering, in order to communicate his theory that disease and physiologic dysfunction were etiologically grounded in a disordered musculoskeletal system. Thus, by diagnosing and treating the musculoskeletal system, he believed that physicians could treat a variety of diseases and spare patients the negative side-effects of drugs. Still was also one of the first physicians to promote the idea of preventative medicine and the philosophy that physicians should focus on treating the patient rather than the disease.
“...an irrepressible organic force must animate every tissue and pass through every region of the body. To see that this is the condition of the body is the function of Osteopathy.”
JM Littlejohn, DO