The History of Osteopathy


AT Still, founder of Osteopathy

Osteopathy was conceived in the late 1800’s by a man called Andrew Taylor Still, in the United States. Still was a medical doctor, a mechanic and a man of faith. I think it is true to say that there is still a little of each of these in Osteopathy today. One of Still’s early students, John Martin Littlejohn, was responsible for introducing Osteopathy to the UK, and it has developed in parallel here and across the Atlantic ever since.


William Garner Sutherland, developed the Cranial Approach to Osteopathic Treatment

William Garner Sutherland was another early student of AT Still. He developed Still’s principles and practice to conceptualise the Cranial Approach to Osteopathic Treatment. This is commonly known as Cranial Osteopathy; cranial meaning head, and it is known as this only because the evolution of the approach was initially brought about by the study of the soft tissues and bones of the head. Sutherland applied this concept to treating the whole body.

Sutherland Cranial College of Osteopathy

GOsCLogoIn 1993 Osteopathy was registered by parliament as a recognised profession, and the regulating body The General Osteopathic Council (GOsC) was formed. This body is responsible for maintaining very high standards in the profession, and all practising Osteopaths have to be registered with this council by law.

The General Osteopathic Council