About Osteopathic Manipulation

Osteopathy is an understanding of the self-healing capacities of the human body. It was brought forth in 1874 by AT Still MD/DO after he witnessed the failure of conventional medicine at the time to palliate or cure diseases of his day. He realized through his studies of anatomy, physiology and forces in the natural world that the self-healing capacity of the body could be supported and enhanced by observing and augmenting the healing forces in his patients' bodies. He developed a hands-on treatment that is used to help the cells and tissues of the human body to function together in harmonious motion to prevent and treat illness or injury. AT Still founded the first school of osteopathic medicine in 1892 in Kirksville, Missouri.

In the early 1900s William Garner Sutherland, DO taught osteopaths about the subtle motion he observed in the bones of the cranium as well as a rhythmic fluid movement expressed in all tissues of the body. Dr. Sutherland observed and concluded that just as a heart beats and the lungs breathe, the central nervous system has its own involuntary rhythmic motion. He called this inherent activity the primary respiratory mechanism because it seemed to have a breathing motion, with inhalation and exhalation phases. The hands of a skilled osteopathic physician connect directly with this primary respiratory mechanism to initiate or support a therapeutic response.

The biodynamic model of osteopathy in the cranial field was described in the 1990s by James Jealous DO who at one time practiced in Maine. Through his study of an embryologist, Eric Blechschmidt MD, he recognized that the forces of embryonic development did not cease functioning at birth, but were maintained throughout our lives as the forces of growth and development, and also those involved in the healing processes. Dr. Jealous taught that it is the task of the osteopath to appreciate and optimize the healing forces in the human body in order to prevent illness and pain, and also to treat all conditions.