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What are the origins of osteopathy?

The practice of osteopathy was developed by Andrew Taylor Still, who was born in 1828 in Virginia, USA.

He originally trained as a doctor, but became dissatisfied with the contemporary standards of medical practice. His fellow doctors freely administered alcohol and crude drugs to patients, but Still felt this did more harm than good.

He began to seek new methods of treating sickness and became interested in ways the musculoskeletal system could impact people’s health. The outcome of his research was a new kind of physical treatment, for which he coined the name ‘osteopathy’.

In 1892 Andrew Taylor Still organised a school in Kirksville, Missouri, for the teaching of osteopathy. It was from these small beginnings that osteopathy was brought to England in the early 1900s. The British School of Osteopathy opened in 1917 and remains Europe’s largest osteopathic establishment.

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