What Is Osteopathy? A Brief History


The what of osteopathy is sometimes best explained by telling how it began. Osteopathy was invented by a turn-of-the-century physician in rural mid-west U.S.A. He noticed that the bodies of his diseased patients changed shape. Muscles contracted, joints contorted, straight parts bent and curves straightened. Achieving a dismal success rate using other medical techniques available to him, he attempted to restore the shape of his patients’ bodies physically. He gently put their bones, joints and muscles back in place, and the result is, his patients got better. His success rate skyrocketed and he stopped using all other medical techniques. The doctor had confirmed that the relationship between the muscular system and disease works both ways: disease contorts the body and re-aligning the body helps fight disease.

Wide public acceptance of osteopathy began during the 1918 Spanish flu epidemic. The 1918 flu is generally regarded as the most serious flu epidemic in human history. An estimated 10% to 20% of those who were infected died. With about a third of the world population infected, this means 3% to 6% of the entire global population died. Osteopaths treated over 100,000 flu patients and those patients recovered forty-times more often than people who sought only conventional care. The world took notice.

During the 2004 tsunami disaster the world took notice again. Teams of osteopaths traveled to Asia to provide aid. Their care was so effective and impressive that it stimulated a worldwide resurgence in Osteopathy. Droves of people traveled to schools in Europe to learn what they had seen.

Currently, osteopathy is widely regarded as a highly effective treatment for bones, joints and muscles. The treatment of systemic conditions is relegated to mostly antibiotics and surgery, but this is not the case everywhere. There are osteopathic hospitals in Europe where patients with serious chronic conditions are treated using osteopathy. We don’t have any osteopathic hospitals in Canada, but we do have clinics, such as Body In Tune, where I, along with several other accomplished therapists, apply these same techniques that proved so successful worldwide.

Check out our blog to learn more about Osteopathy in Toronto.