History of Equine Osteopathy

... From The Beginning

Who is A.T. Still?

Andrew Taylor Still was born on August 6, 1828, in a log cabin in Lee County, Virginia. The third of nine children born to Abram and Martha Still, young Andrew led a typical frontier boy's life, with plenty of hard work and intermittent schooling. 

His first wife, Mary Vaughan, died in 1859 due to childbirth complications. In 1864 Still lost two of his own children and one adopted child to an epidemic of spinal meningitis; a month after the epidemic, the daughter born to his second wife, Mary Elvira Turner, died of pneumonia. His inability to save his family, coupled with his grim experiences as a Civil War doctor, led Still to reject most of what he had learned about medicine and search for new and better methods.

Still's explorations were grounded in the study of anatomy. Having grown up as a hunter and farmer, he already had a basic understanding of the structural relationships of bones, muscles, and organs, knowledge which he now extended through the study of human skeletons.

He became convinced that most diseases could be alleviated or cured without drugs. The key was to find and correct anatomical deviations that interfered with the free flow of blood and "nerve force" in the body.

It is impossible to say exactly what influences Still drew on as he shaped his new system of healing. He was a well-read man, deeply interested in the social and intellectual developments of his time, which undoubtedly helped shape his philosophy. His religious beliefs also affected his thinking about health and the human body.

Furthermore, there is evidence that Still knew about a number of alternative medical theories then in circulation -- magnetic healing, bonesetting, Grahamism, hydropathy, homeopathy, and eclecticism -- and that in his search for a new way of healing, he investigated several of these systems for himself. Most he rejected outright. From others, he retained and adapted -- consciously or unconsciously -- those elements which seemed to have some validity.

- Excerpt from The Museum of Osteopathic Medicine 
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What is Equine Osteopathy?

Equine Osteopathy is the specific application of the principles and standards developed in human osteopathy, translated, adapted and modified to the unique structure and physiology of the equine. Equine Osteopathy is a manual therapy that works successfully with veterinary medicine to aid horses in staying healthy even with the unnatural demands that are placed on them in their life with people.

In 1970, French veterinarian Dominique Giniaux began to employ osteopathic principles with horses and is considered the founder of equine osteopathy. Other veterinarians and osteopaths followed and began utilizing osteopathic concepts for animals both large and small.

By 2002, French osteopath Pascal Evrard had combined and further developed the early principles and techniques to a more structured and safer method.  

Through collaboration with Janek Vluggen, DO, MRO, EDO,  who brought his expertise in visceral osteopathic principles (in relation to the autonomic nervous system and craniosacral system) to the effort, the two osteopathy school classmates continued in developing equine osteopathy into an independent complementary specialization.  


With the untimely deaths of Pascal Evard in 2003 and Dr. Giniaux in 2004,  Janek Vluggen has carried on the efforts to educate veterinarians and other equine professionals as Equine Osteopaths, EDO®, as well as expand scientific validation of Equine Osteopathy.

Formal education and research in Equine Osteopathy is growing. Curriculums offering equine osteopathic training exist around the world, with numerous schools located in Europe. 

At this time, the Vluggen Institute for Equine Osteopathy and Education, based in Germany, is the only school that offers training in the United States.

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