The birth of Osteopathy was more than innovative. It was nothing short of revolutionary. Dr. A.T. Still developed the principles of Osteopathy in the 19th Century. It was an entirely new direction for health care. Paths to Vitality was established to continue the growth of this unique and effective concept. A.T. Still pioneered the practice of Osteopathy and Paths to Vitality is the evolution of our founder’s principles. At Paths to Vitality, we pride ourselves on providing each patient with a full structural evaluation that leads to logical answers for the root of their ailments.
We offer a comprehensive treatment plan for all systems in your body (Respiratory, Digestive, Circulatory, Immunological etc) by utilizing many distinct Osteopathic manual approaches including but not limited to the following: osteoarticular adjustment, visceral manipulation, cranial-sacral therapy, strain-counterstrain, muscle energy, and myofascial release.
History of Osteopathy
The original of Osteopathy arises from the passion of one man: Dr. Andrew Taylor Still. At age ten, and without any knowledge of anatomy, Still began to treat his own headaches and stomach disorders. His father was a doctor and a farmer. This meant that Andrew gained his schooling wherever the doctoring or farming chose to be. There is no record of Andrew training in medicine and it must be assumed that he served an apprenticeship with his father. In 1864, Still lost members of his family to spinal meningitis. At that moment, he began a lifelong search for a new method of healing the afflicted. In his 1897 autobiography, Dr. Still published two of his key findings:
- “Nature is never without necessary remedies”
- “Nature is the only Doctor man should respect.”
The Birth of Osteopathy
Dr. Still wrote: “On June 22d, 1874, I flung to the breeze the banner of Osteopathy. For twenty-three years it has withstood the storms, cyclones, and blizzards of opposition. Her threads are stronger today than when the banner was first woven. Her colors have grown so bright that millions now begin to see and admire and seek shelter under her protecting folds from disease and death. Mothers and fathers come by legions, and ask why this flag was not thrown to the breeze before.” Osteopathy was to be a drug-less manual form of medicine that only relied on surgery only in extreme cases.
The Growth and Development of Osteopathy
After years of research and practice Dr Still coined the term Osteopathy and began teaching this new art and science at the American School of Osteopathy in Kirksville, Missouri, USA during the year 1892. The fundamental principles that he used to found Osteopathy may be summarized as follows:
- A Person is a dynamic unit of function
- A person has self-healing, repairing, and defense mechanisms
- Structure (anatomy) and function (physiology) are interrelated at all levels
- Rational treatment considers and uses these basic principles
In the late 1800’s, Osteopathy was introduced to John Martin Littlejohn PhD, who went on make key contributions to the field. Littlejohn had been forced to leave his native England in search for a better climate due to his ailing health. In 1897, he received a treatment from Dr. Still and improved after only one treatment. He was so intrigued by Dr Still’s work that he registered as a student at the American School of Osteopathy. It was there that he not only learned all the principles of Osteopathy from Dr. Still, but taught physiology to his fellow students. Following graduation, he established the Littlejohn College of Osteopathy and Hospital in Chicago in 1900. He taught and practised until 1913, when he returned to London and founded the British School of Osteopathy (BSO) and the Journal of Osteopathy in 1917, finally laying the foundations for osteopathy in Europe.
John Martin Littlejohn eventually decided to pass on the torch of Osteopathy to a young man named John Wernham. Wernham was passionate about film and photography but under the influence of Littlejohn studied to become an Osteopathy in 1928 at the BSO. With the death of Littlejohn in 1947 and the restructuring at the BSO, Wernham established the Maidstone Osteopathic Clinic in 1949. Mr. Wernham’s clinic was the home for the Institute of Applied Technique which he cofounded with T. E .Hall and Jocelyn Proby in 1956. The name was then changed to the Institute of Classical Osteopathy in the 1990’s. The aim of the Institute was “to bring together in one body those members of our profession who are prepared to interpret and apply osteopathy as it was laid down by A. T. Still.”
Under its Constitution the Institute is designed:
- to promote research into the skeletal structure and mechanics of the physiological movements of the spine, and the techniques based thereon;
- to preserve the fundamentals of the osteopathic concept and to create a nomenclature by which the mechanics of the osteopathic techniques may best be described;
- to publish books and pamphlets of a technical nature, to build up a library, and by these means to gradually establish a centre to which the profession may look for assistance in technical problems
John Wernham had a tremendous passion for teaching others about Classical Osteopathy. In 1974, he played a key role in the formation of the European School of Osteopathy, which found its home in the Maidstone Osteopathic Clinic. It eventually relocated to its current address in 1983. This sparked John Wernham to found the Maidstone College of Osteopathy in 1984, which was devoted to the teaching of Dr. J. M. Littlejohn. The College was renamed The John Wernham College of Classical Osteopathy (JWCCO) in 1996 in honour of its founder. The College continues the legacy left by John Wernham through the Clinic, Postgraduate Courses on Classical Osteopathy, and publishing.
John Wernham was practising, teaching, writing and publishing up to the time of his demise. He was in his 100th year.
The New Age of Osteopathy
Since 1874, Osteopaths around the world have been providing their patients with an original understanding of health that pinpoints the true cause behind symptomatology. Paths to Vitality was established for promoting and utilizing the classical Osteopathic approach as an efficient and effective means of palliative, preventative and curative form of health care.
Which is why we say:
Your health is in our hands.