History of Osteopathy

​​The word Osteopathy is a combination of the Greek word 'osteo' meaning bone and 'pathy' meaning suffering.​​

Andrew Taylor Still is the founder of Osteopathy. He was born in 1828, Lee County, Virginia. His father, the reverend Abraham Still, was a Methodist circuit rider, doctor and millwright. After the Civil War broke out in 1861, Andrew Still enlisted, serving as a hospital steward in the 9th Kansas cavalry, a Captain in the 18th Kansas Militia, and as a Major in the 21st Kansas Militia. His surgical kit is on display at the Smithsonian Institution.

In October 1864, Still's outfit saw action near Kansas City, helping to repel the confederate forces advancing on the city and pursuing the army of General Sterling Price for more than 90 miles. Soon thereafter, Still received orders to disband the regiment and go home.


Back at home, he faced a grave personal crisis. Earlier that year, an epidemic of spinal meningitis had swept through the area and killed three of his children. This was devastating, as he had already lost his first wife in childbirth. A month after the epidemic, his daughter born to his second wife died of pneumonia. His inability to save his family, coupled with his grim experiences as a Civil War doctor, led Still to reject most of what he had learned about medicine and search for new and better treatment methods.

Dr. Still's new medical philosophy evolved. He named it 'Osteopathy'. Still chose this name because his experiments started with the study of bones.

More than a 135 years ago, Andrew Taylor Still announced Osteopathy to the world. He was almost 46 years of age.

"On June 22nd 1874, I flung to the breeze the banner of Osteopathy".

​Information gathered from the museum of osteopathic medicine