OSTEOPATHY AND THE PEOPLE.
And from the discontent of man
The World's best progress springs;
Then feed the flame (from God it came)
Until you mount on wings.
- ELLA WHEELER WILCOX.
The will of the people is a factor that must be considered in all
cases except where they are abject slaves. In the broad sense of
the term they know no classes. They are not the representatives
of capital or labor, of wealth or poverty, of learning or ignorance,
of profession or handicraft. When left to themselves they are tolerant
in religion and politics. They do not recognize any school of medicine.
They will patronize those who show the best returns in the way of
health and length of days. They will often go so far as to throw
their influence in favor of the oppressed. Hence it is that the
people generally act right when they have a chance to give a subject
consideration without the interference of any special selfish interest.
The people supply the sound sense and the energy that brings about
reform. They generally need a leader and the leader is supplied
by the natural processes of evolution, or, if you please, by the
divine plan. The people of England of the time of James I and Charles
I in their fight against the iniquitous theory of the divine right
of kings, evolved John Milton to fight their battles with the pen,
and Oliver Cromwell to subdue their enemies with the sword. When
the people act under such inspiration the work is quickly done.
We find a like condition in all the walks of life. When the people
become sick at heart of misrule they apply an effective remedy.
When the people want better schools they build them. When the people
want to banish oppression they rise in their might and throw off
the yoke of bondage. They always find a leader, but a leader is
powerless if he appears before the people have evolved to the condition
where they are prepared to combine so as to be led. General Fremont,
by authority vested in him as commander of a certain military division
early in the Civil War, issued a proclamation freeing all the slaves
within the territory over which he had jurisdiction. President Lincoln
had to annul that act, the time was not ripe for such a radical
measure; but as soon as the people were ready for such a step, he
did the same thing on a much larger scale.
The same principle applies in the evolution of Osteopathy. Many
people had turned against the extreme practices of the medical profession
before the present generation came upon the stage of action. The
writer remembers a case or two in point when he was a boy. A neighbor
had his foot injured and the doctor wanted to amputate it. The young
man had ideas of his own, and was not afraid to express them. He
said he would kill the doctor if he cut that foot off. That useful
member remained on and served its purpose till the man reached at
least the age of threescore years. Another neighbor told the doctor
that he would "lick" him if his calomel ever salivated
one of his family. The doctor soon stopped salivating people in
that neighborhood. The custom of bleeding patients was abandoned
only when the people declared they would not tolerate it. The drastic
and disgusting doses that used to be administered to the sick had
to be withdrawn, and the sugar-coated pill and the placebo substituted
when the people demanded the less harmful or the more innocent remedies.
Recently a patient with typhoid fever said to her nurse that she
would rather die comfortably under osteopathic treatment than to
take the doctor's nasty medicine. Doubtless every reader of these
lines could cite other instances of similar import.
Truly the time was ripe for a vigorous revolt against the practices
of the medical profession. If not, how can we account for the sudden
growth and popularity of mesmerism, hypnotism, mind cure, faith
cure, Christian Science, massage, electricity, water cure, mud baths,
etc., etc? The enumeration of these modes of healing in the same
connection is not to be interpreted to mean that they are at all
similar, or that they possess equal merit. Doubtless all of them
have some merit, but they surely do not appeal to a scientific mind.
The people were ready for anything to get relief from the thraldom
of the dominant medical school.
THE PEOPLE TURN TO OSTEOPATHY.
From what has been said in Chapter II we are justified in claiming
that the growing distrust among the people for drugs as curative
agents, had much to do in prompting Dr. Still to greater effort
to discover some means which would not only relieve suffering, but
also satisfy the judgment of the learned and the unlearned, who
had minds that could be satisfied only by comprehending the relations
of cause and effect. At any rate, he, a man of the people, always
in close touch with the people, and at the same time a lover of
nature and a profound student of her mysteries, was on the ground,
so to speak, to take advantage of the situation and utilize all
those forces that were battling against empiricism and seeking a
more rational way. The people were in the main in the right as usual
and they found a man in the person of Dr. A. T. Still to lead them.
One peculiarity of the osteopathic movement is the tremendous impetus
given it by a very small proportion of the people. There is nothing
of the religious element in it to create enthusiasm and give it
momentum as in Christian Science or Dowieism. There is none of the
mysticism that appeals to the credulous as in most of the other
systems of healing. There is none of the glamor of supposed superiority
of learning as when a physician looks at the tongue, feels of the
pulse, uses a thermometer, looks wise, draws from his pocket a mysterious
looking scratch pad, and writes a prescription in a language that
is intended to baffle all but a select few, recommending drugs the
properties of which and the mode of action of which are unknown
to the doctor as well as the patient. None of these things has contributed
to the success of Osteopathy, except by contrast.
Wherever Osteopathy has been introduced it has met with favor from
the people. Two reasons can be assigned for this. First, in most
cases what the sick want is a substantial cure, not a temporary
relief such as generally results from the use of drugs, but a relief
that leaves them well and enables them to go about the performance
of their duties in the full enjoyment of life. Osteopathy has met
this want in thousands of cases when nothing else could. Second,
the people are ready to listen to reason, especially when it is
based upon indisputable facts. They do not accept as final the statements
of any person with "an axe to grind." They are susceptible
to reason and in the long run are influenced only by the logic of
facts. We may, therefore, rest assured that Osteopathy will not
suffer when the people shall have been informed as to its theories
DRUG DOCTORS VERSUS THE PEOPLE.
The manner in which the medical trust has undertaken to influence
legislatures and courts is shown in Chapters IV and V. Its members,
claiming to be the only conservators of the health of the people
and practically the only possessors of scientific knowledge relating
to disease, have tried to place a stigma upon every act not in conformity
with their dictates. It took them a long time to exhaust their venom
after the passage of the first Missouri law. Their concern for the
people always has a "rider" attached which shows a greater
concern for some particular class of the people. Dr. Duncan, President
of the Missouri and Illinois Medical Association, at its meeting
in St. Louis, is reported by the Globe-Democrat of May 20, 1897,
"Recent insults offered to the people and the medical association
by the chief executive of Missouri should prompt the doctors of
the State to exert their influence to elect a man who would be broad
enough to listen to his fellow citizens. The act of Governor Stephens
[referring to the osteopathic bill] was the greatest insult ever
received by six thousand professional men. It was unwarranted, unexplainable,
and showed his inability to fill the position to which we have helped
elect him. It gives me pleasure to speak of his predecessor in this
connection, who listened to the people in this matter."
The predecessor referred to was Governor Stone, who vetoed an osteopathic
bill in 1895 after it had passed both houses of the general assembly
by overwhelming majorities. Then after two years Governor Stephens
would indeed have been acting for a class instead of for the people,
had he also vetoed a bill a second time which the people demanded
almost without dissension.
The Medical Fortnightly, of St. Louis, continued the attack with
the following scathing denunciation of Governor Stephens for signing
the osteopathic bill, and praise for Governor Tanner, of Illinois,
for vetoing a bill of similar import, overlooking the fact that
he said: "I am not unfriendly to this science of Osteopathy;
on the other hand I see much merit in it, but I object to the form
of the bill."
"Take the governor of Illinois, who lately has shown the medical
profession what a blessing it is to have an executive who is intelligent
and broad-minded. Contrast Tanner, of Illinois, with Stephens, of
Missouri, and you see at a glance, as we say in medicine 'the differential
signs of progress and poverty.' Tanner, alive to the needs and good
of his State, Stephens, a selfish, unstable, ambitious, inane man,
alive to what may accrue to Stephens, but caring little for the
State he represents. In the train of such a man's acts comes poverty
to the state."
It is difficult to see what accrued to Governor Stephens except
the consciousness of duty well done, and the approbation of the
people who, by his act, were freed from the baneful effects of the
medical trust. The company of governors, of which he would have
been an early martyr if the M. D.'s could have had their way, has
steadily grown, and in 1905 has attained quite respectable proportions.
Neither has the State of Missouri become impoverished by his acts.
What had Governor Stephens done to bring upon himself the anathemas
of the medical profession of the two great States of Missouri and
Illinois? He had refused to accede to the arrogant demands of a
class rather than act in accordance with the will of the people
of all classes except one, as known in every section of the state
and as expressed through their representatives in two legislatures.
But even the common, honest, Christian people, always meaning
well, have often been influenced by the pressure brought upon them
by those who were opposed to Osteopathy. The experience of Dr. H.
H. Gravett is a case in point. He was annoyed in various ways besides
being arrested and tried in the courts. (Chapter V) But he was not
disposed to submit without a contest except in so far as it seemed
necessary to save his friends from embarrassment. He writes as follows
concerning his experiences in Ohio in the year of our Lord, 1897:
"Imagine my surprise when within less than two weeks time,
the few acquaintances I had made came to me and said, 'We will have
to be a little guarded about letting people, especially the doctors,
see us go to your office, or have you come to our homes.' Then came
the minister of the church to which my family and myself had always
belonged and attended, requesting us to stay away, as 'our attendance
was affecting the standing of the church in the community.' I did
as he requested (although it was hard to swallow), and served God
and man better by studying my Anatomy on Sundays. In a short time
after I received notice from the State Board that I was practicing
medicine under the state law and to comply with the provisions of
that law or move on. A good lawyer and friend fixed this matter
up for me after making a few trips to Columbus.
"I was making Greenville my place of residence and naturally
most of the opposition at this time came from the M. D.'s and their
friends at Greenville. Although very much discouraged over the cutlook
at this time, I knew I was on the right side and that I had what
the people wanted, and if I could prove this no power on earth could
keep me from practicing. But I did need some encouragement and it
was forth-coming. One day soon after there came into my office a
fatherly appearing old gentleman who introduced himself as Mr. Herndon
Albright, saying he had had some satisfactory experience with Osteopathy
at Kirksville some time since; he had just learned of my locating
in Greenville; he wanted to wish me well and take some treatments.
I never was so glad to see anyone in all my life. To his influence,
and that of his three sons, Osteopathy is greatly indebted. He still
lives three miles west of Greenvile, in Darke County."
In all ages there are found individuals who seem to embody the
practical, common sense of the people. Ben Franklin was the great
commoner as well as the great scientist, philosopher, and statesman
of his time. He was an original thinker and far ahead of his generation.
When ill he followed the dictates of his native good sense rather
than the whims of doctors. His Poor Richard's Almanac contains many
wise sayings pertaining to health, such as the following:
"To lengthen thy life, lessen thy meals." "Many
dishes, many diseases; many medicines, few cures." "God
heals and the doctor takes the fee." "He is the best physician
who knows the worthlessness of the most medicines." He quotes
the "Italian epitaph upon a poor fool that killed himself quacking:
'I was well; I would be better; I took physic and died."'
He was a firm believer in the use of pure water and fresh air.
"Physicians, after having for ages contended that the sick
should not be indulged with fresh air, have at length discovered
that it may do them good. It is therefore to be hoped that they
may in time discover likewise that it is not hurtful to those who
are in health."
Concerning his suffering from gout and gravel, he wrote John Jay
as follows: "I am cheerful, enjoy the company of my friends,
sleep well, have sufficient appetite, and my stomach performs well
its functions. The latter is very material to the preservation of
health. I therefore take no drugs, lest I should disorder it. You
may judge that my disease is not very grievous, since I am more
afraid of the medicines than of the malady."
GREAT WRITERS FAVOR OSTEOPATHY.
Julian Hawthorne, in reviewing the first two volumes of Cohen's
"System of Physiologic Therapeutics" in the North American
of August 26, 1901, said:
"If, being in the advance line of medical students, you have
arrived at the conclusion that drug-giving is a mistake and an anachronism,
and that 'natural methods' are better, and indeed the only methods
worth employing as a general thing, then you can not express the
revolutionary opinion in suaver terms than those used by Messrs.
Cohen and Jacoby. But whether you do the thing sweetly or sourly,
you are sure to have the public on your side. They don't believe
in drugs, either; and fortunes have been made any time during the
last quarter century by persons, authorized or otherwise, diplomated
or not, who advertised ways of getting well and keeping well that
did not include buying bottles of stuff. The doctors were the last
to concede the justness of the revolt - the last, I mean, to publicly
confess that it was just; but they have begun to confess now, and
ere long we may expect to see a stampede. And the prospects of an
enormous general benefit from the change would seem, even from a
perusal of these two initial volumes of the eleven that are forth-coming,
to be roseate."
Mark Twain and Sam Jones have spoken in rather uncomplimentary
terms of present methods of medical doctors and warned us against
their encroachments upon civil liberty and constitutional rights.
The last named gentleman spoke as follows of the governor's veto
of the osteopathic bill in Georgia a few years ago
"The action of our governor in the matter of his veto of the
Osteopathy bill brings me to my feet with a few brief, short remarks,
in my weak and feeble way. I want to say that the action of the
governor in this case was an outrage upon civil liberty and constitutional
rights. I want to say again that the governor did just what the
physicians of Georgia wanted him to do, nothing more and nothing
"The idea of Governor Candler vetoing this bill because it
would give Dr. M. C. Hardin the right to administer medicine, when
the osteopathist no more pours calomel and oil down his patients
than the maker of a Steinway piano would open up its chords and
pour calomel, and dovers powders in on the piano to put it in tune.
No true osteopathist ever gave a pill or powder. They are no kin
to Christian Scientists, and they don't run with the faith cure
crowd. It is a science based on anatomy and physiology. If the governor
bad seen what I have seen and knew what I know about it, he would
have signed and approved that bill if every M. D. in America had
been hounding at his feet."
The late John R. Musick was a well known magazine writer and author
of the "Columbian Historical Novels," which were greatly
admired by President McKinley. He gives the following testimony
"I am often asked my opinion in regard to the newly discovered
science of Osteopathy. The world is perhaps more interested in the
art of healing diseases than in any other subject. Being so fortunate
as to enjoy a long acquaintance with Dr. A. T. Still, the discoverer
of the science, and having for years witnessed the results from
osteopathic treatment, I am capable of saying that the science is
one of the greatest blessings to mankind. I have seen the lame made
to walk, the blind to see, the paralytic restored to health, and
many snatched, as it were, from the grave. I have seen old chronic
diseases which have defied the skill of the best physicians in the
world yield to the new system of healing. One who for twenty five
years has lived within the rays of the new light, can only wonder
at the results. Does Osteopathy cure all and raise the dead from
the grave? No, but the case which Osteopathy cannot reach is certainly
very hopeless. The success Osteopathy has scored has been from cases
that were abandoned. How do they heal? I don't know. I am no Osteopath.
It takes two long years of hard study to know how it is done, and
I have never studied the science an hour, but I have seen thousands
of cures before and after taking, and I am fully convinced that
Osteopathy can accomplish wonders."
Massachusetts Journal of Osteopathy contained the following extract
from the pen of Marian Harland, who conducts a department in one
of Boston's daily papers. Such "unsolicited testimonials"
as this show how Osteopathy is winning its way by good works:
"I am not an osteopath, as to general belief and practice,
but I have seen wonders wrought upon partially paralyzed children
and nervous adults by the system of intelligent manipulation which
goes by that name. One instance which I shall hold forever in grateful
remembrance was that of a darling three-year-old whose mysterious
lameness was pronounced by three eminent specialists to be 'infantile
paralysis.' She was rigged up with steel braces and condemned to
wear them for two years! At the end of two months the lameness was
worse instead of better, and the spectacle of the horrible steel
harness was insupportable to those who loved her. In sheer desperation
it was taken off and the released fairy - still pitiably crippled
- was subjected three times a week to the intelligent manipulation
aforesaid. In a month she could stand firmly upon the lame foot
- by now smaller than the other and curved inward. In two months
she could walk and run easily. In three months the foot had regained
its natural size, the child was as active and as graceful as the
healthiest of her playmates, and was discharged 'cured.'
"That was two years ago, and the paralysis has never returned;
the foot is straight and sound.
"I give the story absolutely true in every particular, for
the comfort of others who have agonized in anxiety over the prospect
of permanent deformity for their dearest and nearest. One word of
caution: Quacks abound in every school of healing. Be exceedingly
careful that your children do not fall into the hands of boastful
pretenders. There is no real catholicon for fleshly ills. He who
assumes to cure everything can not be depended upon to cure anything."
The Concert Goer, dated April 7, 1900, a weekly newspaper of musical
and dramatic comment, contains the following notice of Osteopathy
by the editor, J. O. Wilcox, of New York:
"Actuated purely by the principle that when one discovers
something beneficial he should tell his fellows of it, I wish to
call the attention of vocalists to Osteopathy as an instantaneous
cure for congested organs. Through personal acquaintance of a doctor
of Osteopathy I was led to try the treatment some months ago when
I suffered from a congested throat and was obliged to sing an elaborate
offertory solo in church. To my surprise no less than my delight,
I found complete and instantaneous relief; and was enabled to sing
approximately as well and with as much comfort as if I had been
free from cold. Since then I 'have on several occasions repeated
this experience, so I feel sure that the result cannot be attributed
to coincidence. I have not the space at command to even attempt
a detailed explanation of the science of Osteopathy, but will state
for the benefit of those who know nothing of it, that it consists
in forcing circulation to diseased parts through physical pressure
of the nerve centers, and the stretching of contracted muscles and
ligaments. This is a very inadequate definition of a minute science,
but it may give some sort of an idea to the reader. No medicines
are used, but the treatment is external and its effect is at least
in cases of congestion practically immediate. This is the feature
that makes it particularly valuable to public singers who frequently
cannot afford to wait for the slow action of medicine. Doctors of
Osteopathy are now located in nearly every American city, and I
heartily recommend singers who have trouble with congested throats
to investigate the merits of their practice."
Literary journals were not slow in recognizing the merits of Osteopathy
when the people began to clamor for it. One of the first was Carter's
Magazine for August, 1898, in which the editor, Opie Reed, spoke
not only of what had become established facts, but of the future,
and that prophecy has, in thousands of cases, been already fulfilled.
"Man is a machine, and recently there has come into notice
a school of machinists to regulate the machine man - Osteopathy.
Most cheerfully do I subscribe to this science. I have felt the
benefit of it, and I honestly believe it to be one of the most wonderful
discoveries of any age. If my voice, though limited in range, may
help the suffering, it is my duty to l if t it. My associates know
that I am a firm believer in Osteopathy, and they know that I here
set down what I conceive to be the truth. I have no fear of writing
a 'puff;' I have no edge to whet, no graft to gather. In my humble
way I am as earnest as Joseph Medill was when he advocated, in his
great newspaper, the benefits of the Keeley Cure. Every man, not
wholly vicious, would like to aid the suffering. The fear of advertising
a public blessing is an evil.
"Recently I heard a farmer say that patent medicines for his
family cost him more than his taxes. Taxes upon his land and taxes
upon his ignorance; and yet he is not much worse off than the man
who is constantly swallowing drugs prescribed by regular physicians.
Both are victims of a time worn error.
"It will never be a fad, for that would be like decking common
sense with a ribbon; it will be the recourse of the wise. The man
shut up in his office will find that he need no longer suffer from
nervousness, the victim of overwork will learn that within a few
moments he can be freed from weariness, and the farmer will cease
to exchange eggs for patent medicines."
From personal knowledge of its methods and results, Ella Wheeler
Wilcox has long been an ardent advocate of Osteopathy. She spoke
as follows in the New York Journal in 1903, in giving some advice
to a young physician:
"The day of powder and pill and knife is nearing its end.
The world is becoming too intelligent to be drugged and hacked in
a search for health when more agreeable methods can be obtained
at the same price.
"If you are a sensible young man you will form a partnership
with some graduate of a school where cold water and massage are
taught or you will supplement your old school methods by a thorough
knowledge of medical electricity, and I would suggest Osteopathy
- even if that word offends you as a red rag offends the bull. The
world wants it. It is absolutely harmless, and is more in harmony
with nature than drugs. Even if you do not believe in it, why not
add a thorough knowledge of it to your other education? Better spend
your time for the next year or two in acquiring skill in the 'New
Notions' by which your competitors succeed, than in cursing the
folly of the public. The old time doctors bled, leeched, and dosed
their victims with mercury and arsenic. The later school drugged,
cut and slashed them. The people are tired of both methods."
NEWSPAPERS CHAMPION FREEDOM.
Newspapers are generally quick to catch the trend of public sentiment.
They are anxious to publish news that is in line with popular opinion
and thus keep in touch with the people. They are, as a rule, neutral
upon all subjects except those upon which they specialize. It is
not to be expected that they will take sides in the discussion of
questions that are not of vital importance to the public. Hence
they generally stop with the publication of the news and leave the
reading public to reach its own conclusions. But even a conservative
public press has rebelled against the monopolistic tendencies of
the medical profession for the last ten or twelve years. All over
the country we find this dissatisfaction on the part of a long suffering
public reflected through the public prints. After the doctors of
Iowa had railroaded a bill through the legislature in 1897, giving
them the most rigid and exclusive protection, the Dubuque Herald,
in an editorial, said:
"All this is designed to foster a monopoly in the practice
of medicine. The legislature is asked to bar out competition in
this profession, and has done so. Physicians are the only class
of men in any line who ask the legislature to protect them from
"It is gratifying to know that while the cry for this restrictive
legislation is alone demanded by physicians, yet it is only by a
portion of them, and not the best portion either. As a rule the
loudest calls for shutting out the irregulars come from that portion
of the profession that has not been able to work up much practice
for themselves, and so seek to call in to their assistance the aid
of the legislature by shutting out a portion of their competitors.
Physicians, like all other classes, must in the end depend upon
their merits, and here it is that hard work, study, diligence, and
manner will bring them what they wish, and not the enactments of
the legislative body. While it is true that these rigid laws are
asked for by the medical bodies and a certain class of physicians,
yet it is gratifying to know that a large class of the best physicians
refuse to have anything to do with urging this petty warfare, and
prefer to depend upon their own exertions."
During the contest in Ohio in 1900, the Cleveland World of February
26, had this to say under the heading, "The Unlovely Love Bill:"
"The Love medical bill is a new name for an antiquated farce
that is now being enacted before the Ohio legislature.
"It is a farce that has been enacted so continuously ever
since scientific progress first began to occasion uneasiness in
old fossils that its presentation in Ohio at the present might arouse
no public interest or concern but for the fact that a powerful lobby
has appeared at Columbus in its behalf. The personnel of the lobby
discloses distinctly the class that alone would profit through the
enactment into law of this relic of the dark ages. It is composed
wholly of physicians of certain schools who see their field invaded
and their profits lessened by disciple of newer schools. The undertaker
has ceased to be the only man to whom they must relinquish their
patients. Hence the tears. Hence the Love bill. Hence the lobby.
"Not very many years ago the fight was against homeopathy.
Now it is against Osteopathy. It is constantly waged against all
other pathies than the particular pathy that happens to hold the
middle of the path and wants to continue to hold it. So the farce
goes on in continuous performance.
"Now, it is quite natural for an individual, or a school,
to assume that he, or it, knows all that is knowable. It is not
natural, however, for the public collectively to accept that self-estimate
or individually to tolerate legislative decision as to what particular
dose shall be shoved by the strong arm of the law into their sick
stomachs or what external treatment shall be applied by the same
rude process to their disordered anatomy.
"That there is much quackery abroad is true. That a portion
of it operates under the name of Osteopathy is also true. This may
be suppressed by means of a state board that shall pass upon the
qualifications of applicants to practice, precisely as is now done
in allopathy and homeopathy.
"But the medical lobby is content with nothing short of the
statutory assertion that all are quacks except themselves. "The
Love bill is a good bill to kill"
HUMORISTS HAVE HEARD Of OSTEOPATHY.
Often the "funny" man has something to say of the Contest
among opposing schools of medicine. Mr. Dooley says:
"Father Kelley says th’ styles in medicine changes like
the styles in hats. When he was a boy, they give ye quinine for
whatever ailed ye, an' now they give ye strychnine, an' nex' year
they'll be given you proosic acid, maybe, He says they're findin'
new things th' matther with ye ivry day, an' of things that have
to be taken out, ontil th' time is comin' when not more thin half
of us will be rale, an' th' rest 'II be rubber. He says they ought
to enforce th' law if assault with a deadly weepin' again th' doctors.
He says that if they knew less about pizen and more about gruel
an' opened fewer patients and more windows, they'd not be so many
Christyan Scientists. He says th' diff'rence between Christyan Scientists
an' doctors is that Christyan Scientist thinks they're no such thing
as disease, an' doctors thinks there ain't anything else. An' there
The Saturday Evening Post, October 1, 1904, contained "The
Story of a Cowpuncher, an Osteopath, and a Cross-Eyed Horse by Emerson
Hough," which is a pretty good "take off" on doctors,
especially osteopaths. The reader will see that there is a generous
admixture of common sense with the humor. The following illustrates
the point; but the part played by the "cross-eyed horse"
and the real merit of the story is found in the part of the article
following the quotations given below:
"'Everything else is changin', too,' he continued. 'Look at
the lawyers and doctors there is in here now - and this country
used to be respectable. Why, when I first come here there wasn't
a doctor within a thousand miles, and no need for one. If one of
the boys got shot up much we always found some way to laundry him
and sew him together again without no need of a diploma. No one
every got sick; and, of course, no one ever did die of his own accord,
the way they do back in the States.
"'As I was sayin', it was long about now Mr. Ostypath come
in. He talks with the boss about locatin' around in here. Boss studies
him over a while, and as there ain't been anybody sick for over
ten years, he tries to break it to Mr. Ostypath gentle that the
Bar T ain't a good place for a doctor. They have some conversation
along in there, that a-way, and Mr. Ostypath before long gets the
boss interested deep and plenty. He says there ain't no such a thing
as gettin' sick. We all knew that before; but he certainly floors
the lot when he allows that the reason a feller don't feel good,
so as he can eat ten-penrsy nails, and make a million dollars a
year, is always because there is something wrong with his osshus
structure. He says the only thing that makes a feller have rheumatieni,
or dyspepsia, or headache, or nosebleed, or red hair, or any other
sickness, is that something's wrong with his nervous system. Now,
it's this-a-way : He allows them nerves is like a bunch of garden
hose. If you put your foot on the hose the water can't run 'right
free. If you take it off everything's lovely. 'Now,' Bays Mr. Ostypath,
'if owin' to some luxation, some leeshun, some temporary mechanical
disarraxtgement of your osshus Structure, due to a oversight of
an All-wise Providence, or maybe a fall off'n a buckin' horse, one
of them bones of yours gets to pressin' on a nerve, why, it ain't
natural you ought to feel good. Now, it is?' says he.
"'He goes on and shows how all up and down a feller's backbone
there is plenty of soft spots; and he shows likewise that there
is scattered around in different parts of a feller's territory somethin'
like two hundred and four bones, any one of which is likely any
minute to jar loose and go to pressin' on a soft spot, 'in which
case,' says be, 'there is need of a ostypath immediate."
The cartoon opposite page 216 appeared in the World-Herald of Omaha
on the occasion of the state meeting of physicians at Omaha, during
the contest against Osteopathy by the medical doctors of Nebraska
in 1902. It is reproduced here from the Northern and Cosmopolitan
Osteopath for June of that year. There must be some demand in the
public mind for the expression of such views or the public press
would not supply them.
THE THEATER AN EDUCATOR.
The theater is a great public educator and throughout the ages
some of the most advanced thoughts have been presented to the people
through the drama. An introduction of Osteopathy to theatergoing
people was made in January, 1945, at the Savoy Theater, New York.
The play, "Mrs. Leffingwell's Boots," was written by Mr.
Augustus Thomas and presented by Mr. Charles Frohman. Mrs. Daniel
Frohman, known to the stage as Miss Margaret Illington, took the
part of Mrs. Leffingwell, and Mr. J. G. Saville played the part
of Dr. Rumsey, the osteopathic physician. Concerning the author,
the play, and the performance, the New York Telegram presented the
following clever criticisms
"'If they would let me,' Mr. Thomas once said to a friend,
'I would write plays so serious that no one would come to them.'
That was some time ago. It is safe to say that there is neither
let nor hindrance on him now, but he has so thoroughly mastered
the comedy form that he is even able to slip in some of his more
serious thoughts without the audience being quite aware of the f
act that they are being intellectually stirred as well as amused.
"That's what Mr. Thomas has done in his latest play. Whether
he believes in Osteopathy or not is not a matter of very great importance,
but he certainly drew from the disputed science a dramatic situation
that in its novelty and its insinuating possibility overmastered
an apparently incredulous audience. Had Sardou written the scene
in which, before the full view of the audience, the man is treated
for an injury that has caused him to be morally wrong for years,
there would have been agony piled on agony, and the nerves of the
witnesses would have been almost rent in twain. In 'Mrs. Leffingwell's
Boots' the scene was led to quietly, convincing almost imperceptibly,
and when it was over the audience looked as though it had enjoyed
as much of a reality as one can enjoy when looking into a three-sided
"That was one of the daring things Mr. Thomas did last night.
One of the others was to end what was called a farce comedy with
a line that gave the whole play a reason and a purpose and a poetry
that placed it among the finest American comedies of the day.
"In a speech almost as clever as his play, Mr. Thomas declared
that he and Mr. Fitch had decided that there was nothing in it for
them in the dramatization of hotels, at least in the effete east.
It was his first intention, he said, to mention a well known college
of Osteopathy. Mr. Charles Frohman, however, objected, he said,
because he did not think the college would show its appreciation
in the right way. After much sarcasm, at the expense of both audience
and actors, Mr. Thomas, the dramatist, poked this at Mr. Frohman
"'Yon all know I am much indebted to Mr. Frohman. You all
know my opinion of Mr. Frohman. My attorney informs me that I can
say this much without being libelous."'
Various explanations as to how the theatrical trust turned osteopathic
are in circulation. This theory was given by New York Town Topics.
"For years the young son of Augustus Thomas had a slight affection
of the spine. Many specialists doctored the boy in vain, until Mr.
Thomas took him to an osteopath. In a few weeks he was entirely
cured. And now Mr. Thomas, out of gratitude, has made an osteopath
one of the heroes of his new comedy, 'Mrs. Leffingwell's Boots!
THE PEOPLE AROUSE THE MEDICAL PROFESSION.
The unmistakable influence of the people upon the medical profession
in compelling them to abandon the fad of drug medication is tacitly
admitted by Dr. M. F. Pilgrim, in Medical News for January 24, 1903.
Among other goods things he says:
"For years our profession was reproached with the taunt from
the lips of the critical, if not unfriendly laity, that while surgery
had made rapid and brilliant strides, therapeutics had stood still.
It was measurably true. The era of slavish dependence upon drugs
is rapidly giving place to advanced therapeutic methods in the treatment
of a large and increasing number of diseases of the human body.
No matter whether we deplore it or rejoice because of it, the fact
nevertheless remains that the propulsively progressive spirit of
the age appears to be back of these movements and actually forcing
what may be very properly called advanced therapeutics upon the
attention of our profession."
Unlike many other M. D.'s, Dr. Pilgrim does not consider all forms
of mechanical treatment merely massage. He says of Osteopathy:
"It is not massage. Nor is it similar to, or an improvement
upon the Swedish movements. It embraces the beneficial qualities
that inhere in all these methods, but is not subject to their limitations
Sometimes even the medical journals recognize the fact that "ignorant
popular enthusiasm" often forces the sleepy, "lazyminded"
self-satisfied, self-centered medical profession to bestir itself.
But, like the man in the fable who killed the goose that laid the
golden egg, they berate the dear people as "ignorant,"
"bicepsworshipers," and the scientist who tells them what
to do and how to do it as "quack," "charlatan;"
and at the same time, by appealing to courts and legislatures, try
to stop the onward progress of truth. Such a view is quoted below
from an article in American Medicine, entitled "Ignoring the
New until the Quacks Force it Upon Our Attention:"
"An eminently sound and conscientious practitioner tried in
vain for twenty years or more to arouse the profession to a sense
of the value of massage and mechanical therapeutics in the treatment
of certain diseases. At last he gave up in despair. It was not just
then fashionable. Editors would not accept his articles, and the
lazy-minded, the exploiters of the popular opinion, beguiled themselves
with the old-fashioned sneer at the 'hobbies of hobby-riders' -
and the world went on in its blind way. Then came the osteopaths
and the biceps-worshipers of the cheap magazines, and what the profession
would not listen to from its own members was willy nilly, forced
upon the attention by the quack. It is true that other regulars
and scientists prior to the quack knew all and far more than he
of the value of massage, but like so much other knowledge, it was
not realized in daily practice by the leaders and by the masses
of the profession. It required the compulsion of ignorant popular
enthusiasm to make us actually treat our patients by these methods,
and put into use the partial, veritable truth turned into an untruth
by the extremism and indiscrimination of the charlatan. But why
need we carry out, generation after generation, this stupid belittling
and ignoring of the new truth? There are many such illustrations
as the one we have cited, of our strange indifference to methods
of treatment, ten, twenty, or thirty years after demonstration has
been made of their efficacy and value. Let us keep our minds open
The medical profession is naturally expected to lead in all that
pertains to the health of the people; but the facts do not show
that it is fulfilling that expectation. A cleansing material may
become so contaminated that it no longer possesses power to purify;
and an organization may become so involved that it cannot accomplish
its mission. The people have looked to the medical profession for
help; but, alas 1 too often have they been betrayed. They have asked
for bread and been given a stone. Instead of a fish they received
a scorpion. This is not merely figurative language, but almost literally
true. Instead of food the whole mineral, vegetable, and animal world
has been ransacked for irritating and poisonous substances directly
opposed, when taken into the system, to the established methods
of nature; and the bulk of the medical profession is interested
in the sale and consumption of these products. Whence, then, this
cleansing power from these destructive influences? Let each reader
answer for himself. Meantime the people are exerting their influence
in the right direction, and may cleanse the medical profession of
some of its heresies. The situation reminds one of that forceful
little poem by Coleridge entitled Cologne:
"In Kohln, a town of monks and bones,
And pavements fanged with murderous stones,
And rags and hags, and hideous wenches,
I counted two-and-seventy stenches,
All well defined, and several stinks!
Ye nymphs that reign o'er sewers and sinks,
The River Rhine, it is well known,
Doth wash your city of Cologne;
But tell me, nymphs ! what power divine
Shall henceforth wash the River Rhine?"