Dr. Andrew Taylor Still is credited with starting the Osteopathic medical profession when he founded the American School of Osteopathy (now A.T. Still University) in Kirksville, Missouri in 1892.
Dr. Still was born in Virginia in 1828, the son of a Methodist minister and physician. At an early age he decided to follow in his father's footsteps and become a physician. After studying medicine and serving an apprenticeship under his father, he became a licensed MD in the state of Missouri. In the early 1860s, he completed additional coursework at the College of Physicians and Surgeons in Kansas City, MO and went on to serve as a surgeon in the Union Army during the Civil War.
After the Civil War and following the death of three of his children from spinal meningitis in 1864, Dr. Still concluded that the orthodox medical practices of his day were frequently ineffective, and sometimes harmful. He devoted the next ten years of his life to studying the human body and finding better ways to treat disease.
His research and clinical observations led him to believe that the musculoskeletal system played a vital role in health and disease. He concluded that the body contained all of the elements needed to maintain health, if properly stimulated. Dr. Still believed that by correcting problems in the body's structure, through the use of manual techniques now known as osteopathic manipulative medicine (OMM), the body's ability to function and to heal itself could be greatly improved. He also promoted the idea of preventive medicine and endorsed the philosophy that physicians should focus on treating the whole patient, rather than just the disease.
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