De grondlegger van de osteopathie was een Amerikaanse arts Andrew Taylor Still (6/8/1828 – 12/12/1917). In 1892 stichtte hij the American School of Osteopathie en legde daar het fundament voor de moderne manuele geneeswijze zoals o.a de chiropractie en de manuele therapie.
In de V.S. is de osteopathie sinds 1966 wettelijk erkend en geïntegreerd in de reguliere medische opleiding.
His research and clinical observations led him to believe that the musculoskeletal system played a vital role in health and disease and that the body contained all of the elements needed to maintain health if properly stimulated. Still believed that by correcting problems in the body’s structure, through the use of manual techniques now known as osteopathic manipulative medicine (OMM), the body’s ability to function and to heal itself could be greatly improved. He also promoted the idea of preventive medicine and endorsed the philosophy that physicians should focus on treating the whole patient, rather than just the disease. He became so skilled at reducing fractures, he became known as the “lightening bone setter”.
At the time, these beliefs formed the basis of a new medical approach, osteopathic medicine. Based on this philosophy, Still founded the first school of osteopathy – the American School of Osteopathy (now Kirksville College of Osteopathic Medicine, part of A.T. Still University) in Kirksville, Missouri in 1892.