The etymology of the word osteopathy comes from the combination of two Greek roots namely:

  • Osteon, which means bone (osteo), can be taken here in a more general way and relate to the notion of density. Indeed, the first to use this term were Anglo-Saxon with the term “osteopathy”, or “bone” in English is called “bone”. So here we have no etymological exclusivity with bone tissue.
  • Pathos which means suffering (pathology).

Definition of Osteopathy


Osteopathy is a manual therapy developed in the United States by Dr. Andrew Taylor Still in 1874. It allows to diagnose and treat manually the mobility restrictions of different structures (bones, muscles, ligaments, organs, viscera, fascia …) of the body that can ultimately lead to functional disorders.

The osteopath considers the patient as a whole by relying on in-depth knowledge of anatomy, physiology, biomechanics, pathology ….


These principles are 5 in number and are named the 5 principles of Still.

  • Principle of globality: The individual must be considered as a whole. That is to say that we must consider the history of the patient (his past, his present, his psyche, his social environment, but also his activities, his job …) and especially do not forget that the human body is a whole elements. These elements are interconnected and are in continuity, they can not operate independently of each other.
  • Principle of structure / function interrelation: There is a permanent interdependence between the structures and functions of the organization. That is, each function depends on structures, but also each structure depends on functions. A defect of one will inevitably resound on the other.
  • Principle of “Life, it is the Movement”: So that the physiological laws can be applied in all the structures of the body, it is necessary that these structures can be mobilized without constraints.
  • Principle of self-healing: Excluding major trauma (physical or emotional) and if the lifestyle is correct, the body can maintain good health without outside help.
  • Principle of the law of the artery: All circulations of the body must absolutely be free and fluid, whether it is the blood circulation, lymphatic, liquids intra / extra / inter cellular, but also the nervous system, etc … Integrity of these systems is an undeniable condition for good health.