Hippocratic thought: Its relationship to and between Andrew Taylor Still and Sir William Osler

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Abstract

In recent years, observers of American medical practice have noted a convergence of beliefs in many areas between osteopathic and allopathic schools of thought. This paper proposes an historical explanation for this convergence by examining the lives and teachings of the two physicians who had the greatest influence on their respective schools at the turn of the century. An extensive review is made of the biographical similarities and parallel therapeutic approaches between Sir William Osler and Andrew Taylor Still. The relevance of Hippocratic writings to their beliefs is then explored. The influence of Hippocrates on Osler is well-known, but this paper documents that the similarities between many of Still's concepts, including manipulation, and Hippocratic passages are much more extensive than previously described. It is theorized that AT Still may have been influenced by Hippocratic work during his development of osteopathic medicine. The existence of these extensive similarities, therefore, arguably provides evidence for a common origin of thought in many areas, and correspondingly for a continued, if belated, return to the Hippocratic tradition by both American schools of medicine.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1243-1254
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of the American Osteopathic Association
Volume88
Issue number10
StatePublished - Jan 1 1988

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Complementary and alternative medicine

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