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Andrew Taylor Still


Osteopathic medicine was discovered in the late 1800’s by a country doctor named Andrew Taylor Still.  Dr. Still became disillusioned with the conventional approach to disease after three of his children contracted meningitis and died despite receiving the usual medicines of the day.  The helplessness Dr. Still experienced served to motivate him in his search for a new approach to disease and health.  He bemoaned the toxicity of drugs having himself suffered permanent damage to his teeth from calomel, a mercury containing medicinal. Over time Dr. Still became convinced that most diseases could be cured by correcting anatomical abnormalities of the body, thereby permitting the full expression of health in the affected parts.  He had studied anatomy extensively prior to the loss of his children and soon redoubled his efforts.  

Over the course of the next thirty years Dr. Still perfected his science and called it “Osteopathy." 


In 1892 he opened the first Osteopathic school in Kirksville, Missouri which is

now known as A.T. Still University.  As word of Osteopathic treatment results

spread, railroad routes were added and boarding houses were erected in

Kirksville to accommodate the influx of patients.  People with afflictions

deemed hopeless traveled from all over the  country and even from overseas

to receive this new treatment.  In 1914 the Still-Hildreth sanatorium was opened

for the express purpose of treating psychiatric illness with Osteopathic

principles and technique.  


Dr. Still was a medical pioneer who perceived the presence of axonal nerve

flow and the life force decades before these normal physiologic activities were

confirmed by medical scientists and embryologists. 


Dr. Still implored Osteopaths to study anatomy and physiology to develop a

keen appreciation for the normal.  Once an intimate relationship with normal

was developed, observing the abnormal would come naturally.  


“To find health should be the object of the doctor.   Anyone can find disease.”  

                        -   A.T. Still -Philosophy of Osteopathy





William Garner Sutherland D.O.


Dr. Sutherland graduated from the American School of Osteopathy (now known

as A.T. Still University) in 1900.  One day in 1899, as he considered a disarticulated

skull that belonged to Dr Still, he noticed that the articulations of the temporal

bone (the bone that contains the ear canal) were beveled.  The thought struck

him “beveled like the gills of a fish and indicating a primary respiratory mechanism.”  


Over the course of the next four decades Dr. Sutherland studied the subtle

movements of the cranial bones, finally producing a text called The Cranial

Bowl in 1939.  Sutherland spent years experimenting on himself to ascertain

the impact of abnormal cranial bone movement on mood, pain and physiologic

function of the body.  He eventually came to the realization that this subtle

movement was not limited to the cranium but permeated all healthy tissues. 

His persistent efforts spawned three more books:  Osteopathy in the Cranial

Field, Teachings in the Science of Osteopathy and Contributions of Thought. 

Cranial bone movement has since been confirmed with caliper studies and MRI scans.  


“Dr. Still envisioned the cerebral spinal fluid as an intermediary in the movement of Divine intelligence, a channeling of creation into embryological segments and irrigating them

with life, giving form and function and order and intelligence to our existence.“                                     – W. G. Sutherland DO

James Jealous DO


Dr. Jealous counts George Laughlin D.O. (A.T. Still’s grandson), Ruby Day D.O..,

Anne Wales D.O.,  Rollin Becker D.O., and Alan Becker D.O. amongst his teachers. 

All attended classes with Dr. Sutherland as the cranial model was emerging. 

All had a great love and respect for Osteopathy.  Dr. Jealous has taken a great

step in furthering the science of Osteopathy by describing the “Biodynamic

Model” and improving the precision of our Osteopathic language.  This model

offers another piece of the puzzle to the Osteopathic story and attributes the

source of movement in the cranial model developed by Sutherland to

“embryonic forces.”  The embryonic forces themselves shape the anatomy

during growth and are the driver of  differentiation during development. 

These same forces are responsible for healing in the adult. 


Erich Blechschmidt (1904-1992), a German embryologist, made a similar discovery

with his meticulous research on human embryos. His findings are consistent with

recent data that shows gene expression to be more dependent on forces external

to the cell than initially thought. Strain patterns in the tissues can limit the expression and flow of the embryonic forces and lead to disease via “the withering fields” described so long ago by our prescient founder A.T. Still.  


“As an electrician controls electric currents, so an Osteopath controls life currents and revives suspended forces.  To turn on the blaze of an incandescent light…”

        -A.T. Still

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