Alan Stoddard

BMJ 2002; 325 doi: (Published 30 November 2002) Cite this as: BMJ 2002;325:1305

Osteopath and doctor who made a major contribution towards the acceptance of alternative therapies within the medical establishment

Alan Stoddard played a leading role in the growth of osteopathy in the 20th century. An osteopath first and a doctor second, he combined the best aspects of both theoretical models—intuitive-manual and analytical-diagnostic—to provide an effective approach to musculoskeletal and spinal problems. His books have been translated into nine languages.

He was brought up in an “avant garde” family in Hale, Cheshire. It was his mother and aunt, after treatment by a local osteopath, who persuaded Alan to think about osteopathic training when he was 15. He attended the British School of Osteopathy, qualifying in 1935, and set up practice in Herne Hill, south London. He soon realised that he did not have enough medical knowledge to be really competent so decided to study medicine as well.

He continued to practise osteopathy surreptitiously at weekends since he could not risk divulging his unorthodox interests …

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