Cayce Health Database
General and Specific
[NOTE: THE FOLLOWING SECTION IS EXCERPTED
FROM PRINCIPLES & TECHNIQUES OF NERVE REGENERATION BY DAVID
In attempting to explain the meaning
of Cayce's statement about osteopathic and neuropathic "coordination
WITH drainage," we have considered the theoretical aspects of these
forms of regulation as well as specific clinical techniques. However,
to help make this information more practical in its application it is
necessary to utilize a format which recognizes general and specific
In certain respects, the distinction between general
and specific treatments is merely an extension of the concepts of anatomical
correction and physiological regulation into a clinical setting.
The practitioner provides specific treatments for specific structural
defects. For regulatory purposes, a general treatment may be useful
to put the body through it paces and thereby increase coordination and
In making therapeutic recommendations, Edgar Cayce
often made the distinction between general and specific treatments.
In the following excerpt, he recommended a general osteopathic treatment
Once a week, or once in ten days
would be preferable, have an osteopathic relaxation. This does
not mean that there are to be corrections attempted.... This should
be a treatment not so much for adjustment as for a thorough, thorough
relaxing, each and every segment, each and every muscular force of
the body receiving special attention. Use the limbs or the structural
portions as leverage to make muscular reaction. (3095-1)
Often, Edgar Cayce would recommend
both specific and general treatments for the same person. Sometimes
these two types of treatment would be alternated:
With the corrective forces as will
be made through those of adjustments OSTEOPATHICALLY given, and the
massage following same - two of the general treatments to one of the
[specific] adjustment treatments should be given. These should
be given at least every week, two general, one corrective ...
We would take, now, about twice
each week, the osteopathic manipulations, - a general manipulation
at one treatment and a specific adjustment at the next, as has been
In other instances, Cayce would
recommend that general and specific treatments be combined in the
After the condition is lessened, begin with deep manipulation,
osteopathically given - a general treatment every other day, and the specific
treatment in the region of the lower cervical, the upper dorsal and the
sacral and lumbar. These would be given together (the general and
the specific treatment), that the whole system may be aroused to better
elimination and better relaxation. (4999-1)
We would have at least two treatments osteopathically
each week, one of these being an adjustment treatment followed with a
general manipulation - the other rather the massage over the whole system,
keeping the coordination of nerve impulses from the ganglia in this area
of the cerebrospinal with the cerebrospinal ganglia in the locomotory
areas and the sympathetic areas. (3722-1)
The osteopaths of Cayce's era were also well aware
of the distinction between general and specific treatments. Some
practitioners focused mainly on specific treatment following A. T. Still's
admonition of "Find it, fix it and leave it alone" (in Brantingham, 1986).
Other early osteopaths were inclined to use general treatments as a regular
part of their practice (e.g., Goetz, 1909; Riggs, 1901; Barber, 1898;
"A General Treatment is given by a great many Osteopaths
in connection with the specific treatment needed for the ailment for which
the patient is being treatment. General treatment is an advantage
in a number of cases. It is given for nerve troubles and for the
general circulation." (Murray, 1925, p. 61)
"In giving a general treatment, try to do the work
in twenty minutes. When you begin to practice Osteopathy it will
take thirty minutes or longer to give the general treatment, but after
you have practiced for a while you will feel that you are wasting time
if you do not give it in twenty minutes or less. In using the shorter
time you will do the work very effectively....
In nervous troubles and in many constitutional diseases
Osteopaths have discovered that they get better results when they give
the general treatment. This helps the circulation and makes a tired
patient feel like new; and the treatment, after all, when there are no
specific lesions to remove, is but little more than deep massage, in which
nearly all the muscles of the body are manipulated.
One may give this treatment, in such a manner
that many patients come to look upon it as a luxury. And many will
take it when they are only slightly indisposed. Some business men
take the treatment as a means of relaxation. Many others take it when
they are simply tired." (Murray, 1925, pp. 18-20)
Here is an example of a general osteopathic treatment
as described in the Text-Book of Osteopathy (American College of Mechano-Therapy,
GENERAL OSTEOPATHIC TREATMENT
"Uses - A general treatment is indicated for the correction
of nerve troubles and general circulation.
Patient reclines on table, lying on the side.
Relax the tissues of the back by the following methods:
- Stand in front of patient and grasp uppermost arm. Relax
the tissues about the shoulders and down to the spine and back with
the other hand. Hold the arm at the elbow, and using the joint
as a lever, work the arm back and forth. By this means the spine
is manipulated and any deviation corrected.
- With patient in same position, place one hand beneath the neck
and grasp the occiput. Rest the other side of the patient's
head against your breast, and apply traction to the tack and upper
- Place one elbow on the hip and the other on the shoulder. Stretch
the spine by extending the arms and stretching the hips away from
- Manipulate the shoulder. Pull up the scapula with one hand,
while with the other press the shoulder.
- Place one hand under patient's scapula and grasp the shoulder with
the other hand. Then rotate the shoulder.
- Manipulate the limbs by seizing the limb in both hands, relaxing
all tissues with a rotary movement of the hand.
- Manipulate the spine by pulling it toward you, while patient is
lying on his side with knees flexed and braced against you.
- Turn patient on other side and repeat above treatment.
- Place patient face downward, with toes extended and arms hanging
down over the sides of the table. Describe a circular movement
with the palms of the hands, at the same time apply pressure, to relax
all contracted tissues of the back. Pull the muscles away from
the spine with the fingers.
- With the patient lying in a prone position, stand at one side of
the table and grasp the hip of patient on further side in front.
Apply pressure up and down the spine with the heel of the other hand,
while pulling the hip upward. Treat both sides.
- Patient in same position. Operator stands at head of the
table. Apply considerable pressure on each side of the spine
with the thumbs.
- Raise the limbs in one arm and rotate them, while applying considerable
pressure at the lower part of the abdomen with the other hand.
- Apply pressure to lower part of spine while one limb is raised.
Raise the other limb and repeat the pressure." (American College of
Mechano-Therapy, 1910, pp. 12-15)
The significance of the general treatment is that
it provides a simple format for regulatory techniques such as coordination
and drainages. By its very nature, a general treatment will improve
circulation which is a prerequisite for drainages. Because the general
treatment tends to stimulate all the nerve centers, it also has a coordinating
effect that is lacking if only a specific adjustment is made.
Yet, the osteopathic literature contains certain
reservations against general treatment. The primary concern is
that general treatment may lapse "into routinism, to be followed by
carelessness or slipshod methods" (McConnell, 1932, in Jordan,
1994, p. 58). However, like the Cayce readings, McConnell does
see a valid role for general adjustment when it is precisely and intelligently
performed in conjunction with specific corrective adjustment.
"Unquestionably, as stated, there is merit in various
soft tissue general manipulations. They do affect circulation and
nerve impulses. They help to release abnormal tensions and to tone
flabby musculature. No doubt many beginning lesions are normalized
and others are more or less modified as to severity. But (and this
is an extremely important "but") general manipulations will not, can not,
adjust the serious deep-seated lesions. Only skilled operative work
can do this. The very nature of the pathologic condition demands
specificity in order to normalize it....
Integration: What may be termed therapeutic integration
of structure is essential, because each part of the structure is requisite
to the unified action of the organism [coordination]. This means
that not only should the local solution of structure be rectified [specific
adjustment], but also that all abnormal correlative mechanisms should
be carefully adjusted. Integration [coordination] implies
the necessity of general treatment, but not in the sense of general or
Diagnosis of the primary physical abnormal condition
is of first consideration. But unless one subsequently elicits the
full value of the integrative [coordinating] trend of the organism, many
pathological factors will be overlooked....
Too much time, relatively, may be given to the local
physiochemical derangement. Ignoring the coordinative function and
integrative trend of nerve impulse and chemical activity may defeat the
very purpose of a localized therapy. Hence therapeutic specificity ofttimes
depends upon adjustments of more than one region. Function is no
more confined to a local influence than is structure to a local requirement.
Both are adapted to body wholeness." (McConnell, 1932, in Jordan, 1994,
Thus it is the careful integration of specific adjustment
and general coordinating/integrating treatment that is the highest achievement
of the osteopathic profession.
Note: The above information is not intended for self-diagnosis
or self-treatment. Please consult a qualified health care professional
for assistance in applying the information contained in the Cayce Health