Bonesetting, Chiropractic, and Cultism: Chapter 8

Chapter 8: Osteopathy:
Bonesetting Turned Scientific

©1963, Samuel Homola, D.C.

God is the Father of osteopathy and I am not ashamed of the child of His mind. . . . He who so forgets God’s teaching as to use drugs forfeits the respect of this school and its teaching.

In our discussion of chiropractic, it will be necessary from time to time to mention the old and the new practice of osteopathy. The old methods of osteopathy seem to be, essentially, the same as the practice of chiropractic today, while its new methods are very much the same as regular medical practice — with the exception, of course, that the osteopath uses manipulation in his practice more extensively than do regular medical practitioners. In considering the evolution of osteopathy, we are simply seeking some clue as to what the future might hold for chiropractic. Although osteopathy might be an example of cultism turned scientific, its change began long ago; today, it stands recognized to a great degree in scientific circles.

In 1953, Dr. John W. Cline, former president of the American Medical Association, headed an investigation of the practice of osteopathy and presented his findings to the American Medical Association. His report, which we shall hereafter call the Cline Report, stated: “Osteopathy has undergone a process of evolution that-no marked fundamental differences exist between Medicine and Osteopathy.”

On June 23, 1954, however, Dr. Charles L. Farrell, M.D., presented a paper before the American Medical Association opposing the cooperation of medicine and osteopathy. In reply to the above statement in the Cline Report, Dr. Farrell said:

If, by the above statement, the Cline Report means that the average Osteopath disregards his osteopathic training and practice, doesn’t use manipulation, and tries very hard to practice allopathic Medicine blended with whatever he has gained in his osteopathic school, then the statement may be correct. But it is extremely difficult to ignore the marked fundamental differences that exist between Medicine and Osteopathy when one considers that their latest 1952 textbook states that Andrew Taylor Still’s discoveries have been “progressively confirmed” and “never invalidated.” . . . They have the temerity to claim that they are doctors plus being osteopaths [1].

The Cline Report concluded:

The official viewpoint of the representatives of the American Osteopathic Association is that Osteopathy includes the entire field of Medicine but integrates manipulation.

Commented Dr. Farrell:

This then is an admission of substandard Medicine! It is hard to believe that college catalogues and textbooks which stress the manipulative theory of disease are successfully subordinated to the overall practice of Medicine in actual teaching and practice. If this is true there is no reason for the existence of Osteopathy: . . . What about the problem of the regular medical practitioner who has been to a Grade A medical school — trained in a Grade A hospital — and who goes out to establish a good general practice? When he opens an office in some communities he can’t do a tonsillectomy unless he is a throat specialist, nor set a Colles fracture unless he is an orthopedic surgeon, nor deliver a baby unless he is an obstetrician — but the osteopath, whose theory is based on a false premise, is free to practice as he pleases. Now in addition it is proposed to offer the help of the medical profession to make him better [2].

In his presentation, The Relationship of Osteopathy to Medicine, Dr. Farrell continued to say (excerpts taken from scattered paragraphs):

We cannot aid the Osteopath in improving his education or his value to the public until his training is medical instead of cultist. We urge third-rate and second-rate medical schools to come up to basic standards. The osteopathic schools are still below them . . . there has been no compromise on the part of Medicine regarding the poor quality of medical training given in second-rate and third-rate medical schools. There should be none regarding Osteopathy. . . . Why should we be then asked to change the Principles of Medical Ethics to support widely divergent opinions? . . . The only way to eliminate the stigma of cultism is for Osteopath itself to disavow the osteopathic concept and embrace modern medical practice, just as they attempt to follow modern medical practice in the community [2].

The American Medical Association voted 101 to 82 against recognition and cooperation with the osteopath (and removal of the stigma placed upon the practice) on grounds that osteopathy was “substandard medicine” that had not yet completely abandoned the cultlike theories of original osteopathy, and that anyone who wished to practice Class A medicine should qualify to attend a Class A medical school. The opposition to the approval of osteopathy, as presented in the paper by Dr. Farrell, contended, in part, that many obsolete theories and methods were still being taught in osteopathic schools.

Over the years, however, osteopathy has continued a slow but steady growth. From approximately 4,000 practitioners in 1907, the number of osteopaths increased to 5,000 in 1917, to 7,644 in 1930, to 11,461 in 1953, and to approximately 13,144 in 1961. The limited facilities for medical training and the resulting shortage of medical physicians probably contributed greatly to the growth of osteopathy, for many students who were unable to attend or gain entrance to a medical school enrolled in osteopathic colleges. The osteopathic profession presently has some 402 osteopathic hospitals with about 95 of them interning osteopathic trainees. The American Osteopathic Association approves six osteopathic colleges.

Although the standards of the typical osteopathic school might be somewhat below the standards of the best Class A medical school, they are far above the standards of the best chiropractic school. The College of Osteopathic Physicians and Surgeons of Los Angeles, for example, was reported to have a faculty of 69 full-time instructors with a total number, including part-time instructors, of 341. The degrees of the faculty were reported as being 314 Doctors of Osteopathy, 2 M.D.’s, 4 optometrists, 13 Ph.D.’s, 33 masters, and 160 Bachelors [3].

When we consider the difficulties found in approval of the osteopathic colleges by the American Medical Association, it is easy to see why the A.M.A. would not yet consider recognition of chiropractic colleges. The fact that many of the arguments leveled against the osteopath also apply in principle to the chiropractor, though more so, was evidenced by the fact that Dr. Farrell’s report on The Relationship of Osteopathy to Medicine was published verbatim in a chiropractic publication under the title “Why Chiropractors Are Not Admitted to Practice in Medical Hospitals.” [4]

There are some who say that the transition of the osteopath from “drugless practitioner” to medical practitioner is now complete; and we will quote references later that seem to indicate that this might be true. But there is one thing, quite alarming, that stands out in this consideration — that is, it is indisputable that the osteopath’s recent climb to modern medical practice was not accomplished without paralleling Class C osteopathic medical practice with that of Class A medical practice until that time the profession of osteopathy was able to reach standards already existing in the field of medicine. Considering the fact, however, that many of the advances of modern medicine were made in the past 50 years, and the fact that the change in osteopathy began long ago (in 1929, the Federal government gave the osteopathic practitioner the same privileges exercised by the medical practitioner), there may have been some justification for the osteopathic approach, even though it lagged far behind (hindered by its original doctrine) in its development. It is quite inconceivable, however, that any other profession in healing, cult or not, could exist far below the standards of present-day medical practice and continue to offer services in competition with that practice until it changed or elevated its standards sufficiently to become a part of modern medical science. Yet, in the practice of chiropractic, some see the development of Class C medical practitioners in what they believe will be that profession’s inevitable transition to modern medical practice-or extinction-in its attempts to treat disease in a general practice. Another alternative for the chiropractic profession, however, would be found in a specialization in physical treatment in cooperation with medical practice.

In 1963, osteopathic physicians could practice without limitations in 39 states and the District of Columbia. in the other 12 states, limitations of various kinds are imposed on the osteopathic use of drugs and the performance of surgery. Although it still remains unethical for the medical practitioner to cooperate with the osteopathic physician, we continue to see evidence that the practice of osteopathy might soon be recognized by the practice of medicine. This trend is broadened by the fact that osteopathy is now more devoted to medical education than to the tenets of Andrew Taylor Still. The use of manipulative technics by the osteopath, however, may very well contribute a service to the field of medical science, especially since the osteopath is now in a position to combine scientific manipulative procedures (now found in medical textbooks) with various medical procedures. We should remember that, while we speak of the osteopath’s general lack of recognition by medical associations, the osteopath has been given equal privileges as a physician and surgeon by the Federal government and by most licensing bodies. Osteopathic colleges are also recognized by the United States Office of Education, and the armed forces now offer commissions to osteopaths as medical officers. In addition, osteopaths, “licensed by state boards to administer all drugs and practice medicine,” are included under Medicare, a program of health benefits for dependents of the armed forces. For all practical purposes, the osteopath has already gained national recognition as a physician, but it is understandable why the medical profession must refuse complete recognition of the osteopathic schools until the standards of these schools-though they might be sufficient-are completely equal, in basis and facilities, to those in the field of medicine.

The osteopaths are apparently attempting to reach this goal, for in the July 28, 1958 issue of Time magazine, we find this news item covering the annual osteopathic convention:

Last week, at its annual convention in Washington, the American Osteopathic Association (representing 13,000 osteopaths) booted Still’s bones [founder of osteopathy] out of its constitution, went medically more orthodox. Its constitution had formerly included this paean:

“The evolution of osteopathic principles shall be an evergrowing tribute to Andrew Taylor Still.” The delegates voted (105 to 16) to drop this and to declare simply: “The objects of this association shall be to promote the public health, to encourage scientific research, and to maintain and improve high standards of medical education in osteopathic colleges.”

Thus, osteopathy has changed with elevation of educational standards. The six approved osteopathic colleges now require three years of undergraduate college work as an entrance requirement (about 69.5% of students admitted to osteopathic colleges have academic degrees; the ratio of applicants to students accepted is approximately two to one), followed by a four-year course in osteopathic medicine and a designated period of internship in an osteopathic hospital. While the ratio of applicants to students accepted in osteopathic schools is approximately the same as that of medical schools, this does not, of course, mean that an equal number of students apply for training in both osteopathy and medicine, since there are 86 medical schools and only six osteopathic colleges.

In a 1957 governmental Medical School Inquiry, the statement is made that 75% of the 1955-56 first-year osteopathic students had baccalaureate degrees, with 4% more who had completed four years of college but who did not have degrees-making a total of 79% of osteopathic first-year students who had completed four years of college.

The six osteopathic colleges have maintained a total student capacity of 1,900 since 1951. The minimum time to complete an osteopathic education in the United States includes three years of undergraduate work, four years in an osteopathic college, and one year of internship. From three to five years additional training are required for certification in the various specialty fields [5].

Osteopathy, in disavowing the dogma of Andrew Taylor Still, has come a long way, since such steps essentially amount to a parting of the way with a religious creed. Commented Time magazine:

U. S. Osteopathy last week underwent the most dramatic spinal manipulation in its history, designed to give it a straight-backed stance, let it hold its head higher among the nation’s healing professions. In the process, the long-revered founding father of osteopathy was gently but firmly shouldered out of the picture.

With goals of “promoting the public health, encouraging scientific research, and improving standards of medical education in osteopathic colleges,” rather than devotion to the dogma of Still, the American Osteopathic Association again appealed to the American Medical Association for recognition on a separate but equal status. In view of the new position taken by the osteopathic association, the judicial Council of the A,M.A. presented recommendations to the House of Delegates, assembled in June, 1959, for its annual convention, that it:

not be considered contrary to the Principles of Medical Ethics for members of the AMA to voluntarily associate professionally with physicians, other than doctors of medicine, who are licensed to practice the healing art without limitation and who base their practice on the same scientific principles as those adhered to by members of the AMA. . . . It shall not be considered contrary to the Principles of Medical Ethics for members of the AMA to teach students of osteopathic medicine who seek to develop and improve their knowledge of the science of medicine and thereby to improve their ability to provide a better quality of medical care.

The House of Delegates, however, voted to extend their support to osteopathic schools only if such schools came under the supervision of the American Medical Association — a stand that seems quite logical in view of the fact that physicians and instructors qualified to teach in American medical schools would naturally be hesitant to teach in schools whose standards are not governed by the same organization maintaining the high standards of their own, schools. Following this decision of the American Medical Association, the House of Delegates of the American Osteopathic Association voted to keep their schools and doctors apart from the jurisdiction of the A.M.A.

Although the American Osteopathic Association refused to accept professional reciprocity with the American Medical Association under the standards and jurisdiction of the latter, the California Osteopathic Association agreed to a proposed merger with the California Medical Association under the dictates of the medical body…. A merger that will result in a conversion of osteopathic schools to medical schools (graduating M.D.’s rather than D.O.’s). The American Osteopathic Association, not approving this action, canceled its charter with the California osteopaths. Following the conversion of forty-five osteopathic hospitals and one osteopathic college to medical institutions, California voters repealed the osteopathic law in that State (1962), thus preventing issuance of new osteopathic licenses.

Referring to the proposed merger of the California osteopaths and M.D.’s, the March 31, 1961, issue of the Los Angeles Times published news of possible cooperation of M.D.’s and D.O.’s (in California) in a research program designed to determine once and for all “whether there is any scientific basis for the manipulative procedures used by osteopaths.”

The research program to determine the scientific validity of osteopathic techniques would be conducted at the Los Angeles College of Osteopathic Physicians and Surgeons, which, under the merger terms, would become a medical institution,” the Times article went on to say.

“Dr. Dorothy Marsh, president of COA, said that if the research revealed a scientific basis for manipulation, the technique would be made available to all medics. If not, it would be abandoned.”

Needless to say, the scientific data recorded from such a program would result in a death-dealing blow to worthless manipulative procedures in the treatment of disease, many of which have already been abandoned by osteopaths but which still form the core of chiropractic.

Although osteopathy without the medical degree is essentially medical practice with a manipulative slant, the march of osteopathy to the practice of medicine becomes complete with the merger of osteopathic and medical schools.

In observing the progressive tendency of chiropractic to include medical treatment methods in its practice, as osteopathy began to do many years ago, it is interesting to note that the action of the American Osteopathic Association, in severing relations with medically-merged osteopathic schools, has already been duplicated to some degree in the action of the National Chiropractic Association in its termination of affiliation with California chiroractors who wanted broader opportunity in the field of healing — namely in the field of medicine.

The growing tendency of chiropractic to include medical diagnostic and treatment methods in its armamentarium actually started a good many years ago in some factions of the practice, and the tendency has accelerated in more recent years. In 1942, for example, a writer for Medical Economics predicted:

The direction of the present trend is further indicated by the growing body of chiropractors who title themselves “drugless physicians.” As time goes on, it appears, chiropractors will adopt more and more of medicine’s outward forms without the scientific core that gives them value. The eventual result cannot fail to harm both physicians and patients. Some observers even see the approach of a day when “a host of poorly-qualified men will become fused into the general body of medical practitioners.” [6]

Andrew Taylor Still

For an example of Still’s literary style and osteopathic teachings, consider the following extract taken from his autobiography:

Twenty-four years ago, the 22nd day of June, at 10 o’clock, I saw a small light on the horizon of truth. It was put into my hand, as I understand, by the God of Nature. That light bore on its face the inscription: “This is My medical library, My surgery and My obstetrics. This is My book with all the directions instructions, doses, sizes, and quantities to be used in every case of sickness, and birth, the beginning of man; in childhood, youth and declining days.”

Still, whose apocalyptic style of writing may have been stimulated by his father who was a Methodist minister (also physician and farmer), further wrote:

He who so forgets God’s teaching as to use drugs forfeits the respect of this school and its teachings. . . . I could twist a man one way and cure flux, fever, colds and the diseases of the climate; shake a child and stop scarlet fever, croup, diphtheria; and cure whooping cough in three days by a wring of the child’s neck.

Still’s hostility toward orthodox medicine and the use of drugs probably dated from the loss of two sons when drug therapy failed to cure them of cerebrospinal meningitis. Thereafter, he claimed that all drug therapy was useless. “Not until I had been tried by fire,” wrote Still, “did I loose from the stupidities of drugs.” The story is also told that Still, unhealthy and sickly as a boy, fell one day while playing and popped his back, the pop being accompanied with a great amount of pain. After getting up, however, he found that his back was not injured and that his health began to improve markedly by the hour.

In the day of Andrew Taylor Still there was no cure for such severe infections as spinal meningitis, since there were no specific antibiotics at that time. Although the death of Still’s children turned him against the use of drugs in any form — setting in motion his development of “drugless” osteopathy — it is significantly ironic to note that the only cure existing for spinal meningitis today is a drug cure. Had such drugs been available in Still’s day, the lives of his children could probably have been saved. Thanks to the use of such modern-day drugs as sulfadiazine, streptomycin, and penicillin, death from meningitis can be prevented.

Part of what Still proposed — “Man should study and use the drugs compounded in his own body” — forms the basis of much medical research today. A search for the secret of the body’s own methods of fighting off disease has yielded much life-saving information. “Drugless healing,” kept in its proper perspective, according to proper indications, does indeed have considerable merit.

Although the osteopathic school still stresses manipulative procedures and the care of the human frame, all of which are of much value when used scientifically and in conjunction with modern medical procedures, it is easy to see why much of Still’s writings finally had to be ignored by the osteopathic school. At one time, osteopaths referred to the orthodox medical practitioner as a “drug doctor.” In elevating their standards, however, in seeking respectability as legitimate physicians, the osteopaths eventually recognized the value of various medical therapies, which resulted in efforts to limit their manipulations in a more scientific manner.

Andrew Taylor Still, who is often referred to as a medical physician, “never received a degree in Medicine but records indicate that he attended, for a time, the Kansas City School of Physicians and Surgeons. He referred to this in an article in the Ladies Home Journal in 1908 but did not claim a degree.” [2]

According to Martin Gardner, in his book, Fads & Fallacies in the Name of Science, there is no evidence at all to indicate that Still had any medical education other than the experience he obtained in aiding his missionary father in the care of ailing Shawnee Indians:

Very little is known about Still’s life in spite of the fact that he published in his old age, at his own expense, a lengthy autobiography. It is a rambling, contradictory, egomaniacal work — one of the unintentionally most amusing autobiographies ever penned by a self-declared genius. . . . Almost all the biographical data has since been found false, although most osteopaths continue to accept the book as a valid account of the author’s career. [7]

Support of Osteopathic Colleges
The adoption of scientific medical practice by the osteopath seems to have been very beneficial to the osteopathic profession; for, contrary to the status of the chiropractor, osteopathy has received — and still receives — various aids and grants for teaching and medical research programs.

“Public support of osteopathic colleges is limited. The State of Pennsylvania has a program of assisting schools of medicine and osteopathy, and under this program the Philadelphia College of Osteopathy has received $200,000. Research grants have been made by the Public Health Service to one of the osteopathic colleges. All of the osteopathic colleges receive teaching grants to support instruction in the fields of cancer, heart, and mental health. Private support comes primarily from the osteopathic profession, alumni, and friends.” [5]

Osteopathic colleges and hospitals are, for the most part, owned by the profession and are self-sustaining. The colleges are not connected with state universities or sources of state support. Under a federal hospital construction plan (the Hill-Burton Act), however, the new teaching hospital of the Kirksville College of Osteopathy and Surgery, and the new clinical building of the Kansas City College of Osteopathy and Surgery were constructed. A construction grant for a rehabilitation facility at the College of Osteopathic Physicians and Surgeons, at Los Angeles, has been approved.

Osteopathic colleges are hopeful that legislation providing for Federal matching grants in the construction of teaching facilities will soon be enacted.

Probably the largest single grant ever made “to promote the teaching and public understanding of osteopathy” was given in July of 1960 by the Rockefellers in order “To increase still further the substantial contribution the profession now makes to public health.” “Spokesmen for both osteopathy and orthodox medicine hoped that by raising osteopathic teaching standards the grants might eventually promote the much-discussed, long-stalled rapprochement between the two healing arts,” it said in a July 11, 1960, issue of Time magazine. Thus, there seems possible that higher standards for osteopathic schools might eventually result in a merger of osteopathic and medical schools. Although it seems likely that much of the old osteopathic theory will be completely abandoned under such circumstances, it would appear that use and development of scientific manipulative procedures in accredited osteopathic colleges could offer a much-needed service that is scarcely found in medical services.

The Rockefeller grant gave a total of $1,000,000 to osteopathic colleges ($500,000 to the Kirksville [Missouri] College of Osteopathy and $500,000 for use among all six American osteopathic colleges).

Although philanthropic grants to the osteopathic profession are small compared with those made to the medical profession from a great many sources, Life Magazine (Sept 26, 1960) has noted:

The osteopathic colleges in Kirksville and Kansas City, Mo., Philadelphia, Los Angeles, Des Moines and Chicago are planning multimillion dollar new campuses, and a $5 million osteopathic medical center with a teaching hospital is in the offering for New York City. Los Angeles County recently opened a $9 million osteopathic hospital constructed with public funds, General Motors has donated $625,000 for an osteopathic hospital in Flint, Mich., and the nation’s First Lady has just given permission for a new hospital in Colorado Springs to be named the Mamie Dowd Eisenhower Osteopathic Hospital.

The progressive growth of osteopathic hospitals and colleges, promoting the combined use of manipulation and medical practice, when compared to the declining, unsupported, and small chiropractic schools that are limited to the use of spinal manipulation, does indeed depict a gloomy future for the growth of chiropractic — unless, of course, chiropractic manipulation is somehow properly limited and specialized in cooperation with medical practice. Opportunities in this alternative would be necessarily heightened if osteopathy should ever completely abandon the use of manipulation. Although it does not seem practical that osteopathy might decline the use of manipulation, there are some observers who feel that it might be expedient to do so for more rapid medical recognition. However, such radical concession could not take place unless both osteopathy and medicine intentionally ignored known and proven values found in the use of manipulation.

Group Medical Practice and Manipulation

When one compares the standards and scope of practice of chiropractic with medical practice, it is easy to see why the American Medical Association refuses to consider recognizing the chiropractor as a competitor of the medical physician, while reciprocity with the osteopath remains debatable.

To the chiropractor, the “medical influence” over osteopathy is “tragic,” since some feel that osteopathy has “lowered” itself to a “second best” method of treating disease simply to get along with the medical profession. Those who argue against higher educational standards for the chiropractor — and a broadening of the scope of chiropractic practice — feel that chiropractic is “headed the way of osteopathy.”‘ This would seem to imply that education in the facts of medical science would “brain wash” the individual against the “science” of chiropractic — as though two facts, equally correct, invalidated each other. Giving the scientific mind credit for what it is, however, knowledge of all the facts will usually guide the thinking and thoroughly educated individual to the best conclusion possible.

The expanding horizon of medical specialties has almost rendered obsolete the “family doctor” who can take care of the family alone. Good medical care depends more and more upon the cooperation of a staff of physicians under one roof (such as at Mayo’s or Oschner’s clinics) where the patient can receive a complete and thorough service — where one physician can take over where another has left off — making use of records and information compiled in an orderly sequence, without any loss of precious time and without placing excessive financial strain upon the disabled patient.

A comprehensive health insurance program employing staffs of specialized and general physicians, completely equipped with the latest modern medical equipment, could undoubtedly offer a more complete and thorough service at reasonable premium rates with less operating expense. Regardless of whether such cooperative services are offered through a form of insurance, socialized medicine, or simply by an incorporated group of physicians, they would surely be more efficient than a single self-employed physician who attempts to do as much as he can alone. In addition, it would seem that a well-salaried physician who is less occupied with his potential monthly income would be much more valuable in medical research programs or in clinic activities.

I should caution the reader at this point that the author is by no means well-informed in the advantages and disadvantages of group medicine as opposed to private medicine. My purpose in providing such discussion is to emphasize the fact that, under the present trends of medical care to be necessarily cooperative, it will become increasingly necessary for all practitioners of the healing arts to have a reciprocity based on common knowledge and contemporary fact. This is especially true of practitioners employed under comprehensive health insurance programs. Osteopathy would be included under such programs since, in embracing the guides of medical science, it is now on common grounds of agreement with medical practitioners. In any cooperative venture in the healing arts (good medical care has always been and always will be a cooperative proposition), there would be no place for quacks, cultists, or sectarian practices based upon “cure-all” theories and methods in competition with accredited medical practice. Those who work in the theoretical field for the advancement of medical science must, of course, be qualified in background and training to advance their theories. High standards would not provide a chair for self-made, idealistic innovators.

Contrary to the status of the osteopath, the chiropractor has not yet been given much hope of being included in cooperative health programs, since, as a competitor of the physician, he still offers a treatment that has little in common with accredited medical care. As such, he stands alone-separated from the main stream of science — without reciprocity with any branch of the healing arts.

Although osteopathy as a whole remains unapproved by the American Medical Association, it has made great strides in obtaining recognition as a healing profession, and it seems to be well on its way towards “ultimate incorporation within the body of medicine, as was the case with the ‘homeopathic school’ of physicians a generation ago.” (2-D) It seems, for the most part, that the doctrine of vertebral misalignment underlying the old practice of osteopathy has been abandoned, and that osteopathy is now essentially the practice of medicine. Whether that practice is Class A or Class B medicine, I am not in a position to determine. In any event, the qualified osteopath who also empoys manipulation offers a service of value not found in the general practitioner’s office.

In chiropractic, however, the primitive element still dominates the practice of the chiropractor who continues to compete with the entire field of medical science. In the case of osteopathy much of the competition with medical practice is provided by actual medical therapy. In chiropractic, on the other hand, competition with medical practice is offered through … drugless therapy,” as was the case with osteopathy many years ago. Being 30 years older than chiropractic, osteopathy has had considerably more time and opportunity to develop its trend toward medical practice — a trend that was started early during a time that permitted combination of medical and manipulative procedures. Chiropractic, however, in coming later, has continued to offer an element long abandoned by scientific practice. It is upon this element, or school of thought, that chiropractic thrives; its existence depends upon it. If chiropractic should choose to follow osteopathy’s worn path, one wonders whether the modern-day can afford to give the chiropractic profession the time and the human misery necessary for it to discover what is already known, or whether today’s high standards of medical practice will permit the encroachment of a cult that must change its ways in order to survive.

That osteopathy early began to experience the qualms and pains of change is well illustrated by the expressed exasperations of a 1918 osteopathic author:

I sometimes think that the spirit of Andrew Taylor Still will return upon many osteopaths who have lost faith in that old back-bone lesion as the main causative factor in disease, and will annihilate their skepticism. These modern skeptics, these doubters of the truth of Still’s back-bone lesion theory of disease, live and grow prosperous on that theory while they doubt the truth of it in their hearts. No school that does not make that theory the main spring and purpose of its existence can be called osteopathic without false pretense and the moral and scientific obliquity that false pretense of any kind implies. And when osteopathy lets go of that primary teaching it ceases to be [8].

As fantastic as it may seem, the troubles, qualms, and stresses experienced long ago by the profession of osteopathy are being identically duplicated in the writings and activities of the present-day chiropractic profession-the difference being, perhaps, that osteopathy’s change was a voluntary action while any change in chiropractic is more or less being forced by contemporary standards and laws. As modern osteopathy progressively embraces modern medical science, chiropractors continue to cling to concepts that have long been abandoned by their predecessors, the osteopaths.

1. Farrell CL. The relationship of osteopathy to medicine. (Discussion of the Cline Report.) American Medical Association, June 23, 1954.
2. Fountain Head News. May 1, 1959, & June 15, 1959. Palmer School of Chiropractic, Davenport, Iowa.
3. Study of the Healing Arts (With emphasis on naturopathy.) A report to the Utah Legislative Council, Nov 1958.
4. Why chiropractors are not admitted to practice in medical hospitals. Simmons-Science for Chiropractors. (Reprint of paper presented at AMA Convention, June 23, 1954: The relationship of osteopathy to medicine.) San Antonio Texas.
5. Medical School Inquiry. Part Three: Osteopathic Colleges. Staff report to the Interstate and Foreign Commerce Committee, 1st session, 85th Congress,1957.
6. Geiger AJ. Chiropractic: Its cause and cure.” (Part 2: The status of chiropractic today.) Medical Economics, April, 1942.
7. Gardner M. Fads & Fallacies in the Name of Science. New York: Dover Publications, 1957.
8. Lane MA. Dr. A.T. Still, Founder of Osteopathy. Chicago: Osteopathic Publishing Company, 1918.

Next ChapterTable of Contents