Still’s osteopathy – its roots and reasoning (2)

Chapter 2

God and experience as the only source

In a very short section Still claims the only authors of his text are God and himself (his experience). This is because it would be “very foolish” to look for instruction or advice from any medical writers of a science as they know nothing of – the science of Osteopathy.

This statement is of course inadequate – no one wakes up one morning and starts providing a complex new form of philosophy and medicine that involves cracking people’s necks without precedents and influences. And there are many – in fact the practice of bone setting is even depicted in Egyptian hieroglyphs.  The English written tradition of bone setting reaches back into the 1600s and is well documented. Perhaps more interestingly the American indians, notably the Sioux, also practiced bone setting and Still does admit to having discussed health matters with JB Abbott and Indian agent.

I digress, what is important is to recollect that this is a philosophical text – so the philosophical precedents for Osteopathy also require investigation. Linking medicine and philosophical method was fundamental to ancient Greek medicine, so in this Still in the inheritor of a very long rational tradition.

Who exactly influenced Still isn’t clear in this text and as that is the focus of these blogs I will not dig further but to say the second chapter creates more questions than answers.


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