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Osteopathy was founded in 1876 by Civil War surgeon Dr. A.T. Still. The conventional medicine of the time included the use of mercury, laudanum and leeches. Where pus was produced by the wound during surgery, it was thought that healing was taking place, whereas it is now known that pus is a sign of infection.
After the Civil War, Still became a farmer, building and maintaining his own equipment. He noticed that a cart wheel which was fitted well and greased allowed the cart to travel faster, made less noise and broke down less. This inspired the notion that the body is “an intricate machine which, if kept in proper adjustment, nourished and cared for, will run smoothly into an old useful age.” This formed the basis of Still’s philosophy.
Still had three children who died from Meningitis. He was unable to help them and watched each child die. As a response to his loss Still sought and learned new ideas about health. It is suggested that he drew inspiration from Native Americans and Chinese immigrants. Man's dominance over nature is questioned by Still's original philosophy. Medicine was viewed as secondary to the healing power of nature, where a person with healthy mind, body and spirit would enjoy abundant health!
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