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The Practice of Osteopathy

by Carl Phillip McConnell and Charles Clayton Teall 1906 Journal printing co Kirksville MO

Written at a time when traditional osteopathy had its own effective hospitals this volume is invaluable as a reference tool. The contents covers osteopathic aetiology, pathology, diagnosis, prognosis and lists lesion patterns for everything from arthritis to valvular heart disease and I used it in conjunction with a number of old books as a student regularly.

To get the best out of this book you need to be able to 'extract' the pure observation from subjective preference. The objective descriptions of observable lesions are invaluable, pure osteopathy if you like for example: under the heading of osteopathic aetiology and pathology for diabetes mellitus 'Almost invariably there will be found a posterior dorso-lumbar curvature - this condition probably involves the sympathetics (vaso-motor) and trophic) to the pancreas, liver and intestines'.

The problem with this can be, that in the modern context the operator is likely to try and treat the isolated areas and this will not produce the desired outcome. If you use allopathic/orthodox thinking, that is a segmental, mobilising approach, in conjunction with this book the result will be a disaster. If however this book is used as a reference tool as part of the diagnostic process and the operator has the knowledge to integrate the presenting lesion patterns the work is invaluable.

Knowledge of how to integrate this approach is needed to implement the invaluable work here and how to ignore the occasional influence of doctors thinking, as in the reference to vaccination, which is certainly not in keeping with the works of Still, Littlejohn and many others.

Most of the early osteopaths were allopathic doctors first and sometimes this clouded their thinking i.e. that germs 'cause' diseases rather than as Still and Littlejohn observed that they were an effect, not a cause. But if you ignore the odd indiscretion with regard to allopathic 'muddling' and get to the lesioning rational there is no problem.

Requires ability to put the knowledge in context to get maximum value, not a book for someone who has trained at the 'crack em and ice packem' school of orthopaedics!


    Book review by Howard Beardmore DO



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