The History of Osteopathy

AT Still, founder of Osteopathy

Osteopathy was conceived in the late 1800’s by a man called Andrew Taylor Still (1828-1917), 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 (1873-1954) 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 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. Rollin Becker DO (1910-1996) was a student of Sutherland, and it is really Rollin who brought Cranial Osteopathy to the UK in the 1970’s.

WG Sutherland- developed Cranial Osteopathy.

The Biodynamic Approach to Osteopathy in the Cranial Field (Biodynamic Osteopathy and more recently known as Traditional Osteopathy) is also at the very core of what Still and Sutherland did. The term Biodynamic Osteopathy was coined by the late James Jealous DO (aslo know as Dr. Jim Jealous, 1943-2021) and came from his study of the German embryologist and anatomist Erich Blechschmidt (and not from the Austrian-born philosopher Rudolf Steiner, although there are some similarities). For further information please see the links below.

What is Osteopathy?

Cranial Osteopathy

Biodynamic Cranial Osteopathy

Cranial Osteopathy for Babies, Children & During Pregnancy

GOSC- General Osteopathic Council

In 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 National Council for Osteopathic Research (NCOR) found that 96% of patients attending this clinic were either Very Satisfied or Satisfied with the osteopathic care they received; 93.8% of them experienced an improvement in their symptoms, of which 73% were either Completely Recovered or Much Improved.