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From the Dry Bone to the Living Man

Andrew Taylor Still

Andrew Taylor Still was a nonconformist, a scientist in the true sense of the word, and a deep thinker. A pioneer in thought and action, a philosopher and a philanthropist.

Born in 1828 in Jonesville, Virginia, he spent his formative years in northeast Missouri, where his preacher-physician father was sent as a missionary. Andrew learned medicine by apprenticeship and his first patients were Shawnee Indians on a reservation in Kansas. He learned their language and lived his life by a similar nature-centred belief system.

A terrible personal tragedy – the deaths of three of his four children from meningitis – led to his disillusionment with drugs as curative agencies and consequent search for a more effective way of practising medicine. A. T. Still: From the Dry Bone to the Living Man chronicles that search, along with the discoveries and insights that culminated in the philosophy, principles and practice of the system he perhaps too narrowly called osteopathy.

'Image courtesy of

Museum of Osteopathic Medicine 2000.34.05'

A. T. Still: From the Dry Bone to the Living Man is a biography of osteopathy’s founder. It explains how his science grew from a biological explanation for the origin of disease, based on the cutting edge medical science of the day, and how from it grew a system of treatment. The book is perfused by Still’s philosophy and written is a style that aims to inspire a revival of his teachings. Those teachings are timeless and they should form the basis of every osteopathic curriculum.

"I have no desire to be a cat, which walks so lightly that it never creates a disturbance"

A. T. Still


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