Cayce Health Database
OVERVIEW OF EMPHYSEMA
I. Physiological Considerations
Emphysema is classified as an obstructive lung disease
which is probably best defined in pathological terms as a replacement
of normal lung tissue by coarse air spaces of variable size.1
Clinically, the patient with emphysema experiences increasing exertion
because of shortness of breath and he has difficulty in exhaling.
This produces a gradually increasing barrel-type chest as accessory muscles
of the chest are called into play. Other problems arise sequentially.
Historically, there has been a close relationship
between chronic bronchitis, asthma, and emphysema, and some theories hold
that the mucus produced in chronic bronchitis predisposes to obstruction
and thus loss of normal tissue in the lung distal to the obstruction.
This mechanism is unlikely since destructive emphysema occurs infrequently
in patients with allergic bronchial asthma. In addition, emphysema
often occurs without any evidence of predisposing bronchitis. In
destructive pulmonary emphysema, there are often areas of normal lung
tissue as well as areas of destruction of the lung tissue. This
and other factors add to the confusion that exists in differentiating
between chronic bronchitis and pulmonary emphysema, and some observers
believe that true differentiation can occur only with pathological examination.
As the destructive process begins in pulmonary emphysema,
the normal tissue loses its elasticity and its normal structure, the circulation
to those areas becomes severely diminished, and increased resistance to
air flow is brought about by a narrowing of the bronchial lumen by mucus
and swelling of the mucosa, and also by the unequal ventilation of various
portions of the lung. Progression of the disease brings further
destruction of lung tissue and the findings and symptoms which are typically
found in this disease.
In the Cayce readings only one case is suggestive
of emphysema, and this is not a clear diagnosis from the material available.
This 3 1 year-old man, , had epilepsy as a result of a World War
I shell explosion, which caused a fracture of the skull. He also
apparently had emphysema, or the beginning stages of this condition.
It is inferred here that the autonomic nerve supply
to the lungs was too "relaxed," but other physiological inferences are
difficult to come by. Work done by Nakayama, Overholt, Phillips and others2
during the past 20 years seems to bear some relationship to Cayce's comment
regarding the nerve supply. In more than 10,000 cases of asthma
and emphysema, these men removed one carotid body, which is a nerve ganglion
situated at the bifurcation of the common carotid artery. This carotid
body, Phillips felt, is sort of a relay station in the autonomic nervous
system from the mid-brain to the bronchial tree, and by removing it he
felt he was interrupting the spastic element to the bronchial tree.
Throughout the body, a balance is achieved in the
functioning of an organ through the influences of the antagonistic sympathetic
and parasympathetic nervous systems, which are part of the autonomic nervous
system. If, indeed, the lung is under the control of nervous impulses,
then either excessive spastic impulses from the parasympathetic or a weakening
(relaxation) to an excessive degree of the sympathetic would bring about
a process within the lung tissue which could conceivably be the beginning
of emphysema. There is no doubt that hormonal influences also play
a significant role in the maintenance of a normal function within the
lung tissue. The readings do not discuss this.
It is an obvious fact that early cases of emphysema
can be treated more successfully than far-advanced ones, in the event
a reasonable therapeutic program can be achieved. The further advanced
the disease is, the more the deterioration of function and tissue.
Secondary problems would arise as the emphysematous
II. Rationale of Therapy
In approaching therapy, we should remember that the
body has a capability of normal function:
Thus, we would administer those activities which
would bring a normal reaction through these portions, stimulating them
to an activity from the body itself, rather than the body becoming dependent
upon supplies that are robbing portions of the system to produce activity
in other portions, or the system receiving elements or chemical reactions
being supplied without arousing the activity of the system itself for
a more normal condition. (1968-3)
It should be kept in mind that most people with asthma
develop emphysema. Thus it would be helpful
to consider the objectives already developed relative to therapy in asthma.
The following is an extract from the asthma commentary:
Asthma, when viewed as a condition which has its
origin and basis in the nervous system, should then be approached in therapy
with the objective in mind to remove the stimulatory factors in the nervous
system and to correct those adjunctive, correlated and resultant imbalances
that may prevent a return to normal function.
Since pressures are present in the dorsal and sometimes
the cervical ganglia, these should be relieved osteopathically and treatments
should be continued long enough to allow continuance of normal nerve function.
The eliminations should be restored to normal, and assimilation should
be balanced with the elimination. The deep and superficial circulation
which is often disturbed should be restored to a balance of coordination.
The glands of the body should be brought to a balance, and the resistance
of the body should be stimulated through improvement of assimilation and
function of the Peyers patch area of the intestines.3
In , the apparent purpose of therapy is to bring
about a diet which will supply easily digested food so that the assimilative
needs of the body will be met, but not overloaded. The nervous system
and the lymphatics are treated with massage, and substances are added
to the body which improve the breathing capacity and utilization of substances
taken in through the lungs. The bowels are kept active so that eliminations
might be balanced with the assimilation, and later on an inhalant is used
which, like the first prescription given, improves the lung functioning.
Finally, the capacity of the body to assimilate and utilize food substances
needs to be increased.
The rationale for therapy in both asthma and emphysema
is based on the concept that the autonomic system as a whole must be balanced
in its relationship to the lungs. Once this is achieved and the
circulation to the lungs is improved, then the lung tissue can conceivably
begin rebuilding. It would seem reasonable to assume that the readings
recommend bringing the body from a homeostasis of disease to a balance
consistent with normal health.
III. Suggested Therapeutic Regimen
It becomes quite obvious that far-advanced emphysema
cannot be treated as was , who had no evidence of a progressed condition.
However, it is interesting to look at the various phases of therapy suggested
here, perhaps as a basis or as a springboard for further therapy in the
chronic emphysematous patient.
This man's first course of therapy was a diet, easy
to digest, with predigested foods and liquids, and a caution not to overload
the stomach at any time; and medication for a period of 12 to 14 days-a
capsule taken every other day each containing the following:
- Eucalyptol, 1 minim
- Canadian balsam, 1/2 minim
- Rectified oil of turpentine, 1 minim
- Benzosol, 1 minim
- Heroin, 1/60th grain
(This makes three capsules at a time.)
During this two-week period, a massage was suggested
over the entire back and spine with an equal mixture of olive oil and
tincture of myrrh, as much as would be absorbed. The oils should
be mixed at the time of use. The olive oil should be heated and
then the myrrh added. At least half an ounce should be applied every
A second course of therapy followed this and came
from a subsequent reading:
- A vegetarian diet was suggested since meat was not considered to
be good for the body in its present condition.
- Enemas were suggested for constipation rather than cathartics at
- The olive oil and myrrh mixture was to be used as a massage every
two or three days.
- An inhalant was to be prepared and used twice a day. This
was to be placed in a jar at least twice the capacity of the ingredients.
To four ounces of grain alcohol was added the following in order:
- Eucalyptol, 20 minims
- Rectified creosote, 3 minims
- Balsam of fir, 5 minims
- Compound tincture of benzoin, 5 minims
- Rectified oil of turpentine, 5 minims
- Tolu in solution, 30 minims
(To be inhaled only after shaking.)
- A substance was suggested to be taken 20 or 30 minutes before meals
and at bedtime in doses of one teaspoonful, which would provide what
Cayce said would be an "active force" for the stomach and the digestive
system. It is prepared as follows:
- Take a half gallon of distilled water.
- Add eight ounces of wild cherry bark and reduce by simmering,
not boiling, to one quart.
- Add four ounces sugar.
- Reduce again to 11/2 pints, then add:
- Sarsaparilla comp., 1/2 ounce,
- Tincture or essence of yellow dock root, 1/4 ounce,
- 10% potassium iodide solution,
- 1/4 ounce Elixir of celerena: essence of celery,
- 1/2 ounce Tincture of capsici, 3 minims (Shaken before using.)
Massages were often used interchangeably with osteopathic
manipulations. Rest from massages might be advisable after a period
of two to three months on such therapy, and then, after two or three weeks,
a series of osteopathic manipulations. It would be advisable to
continue the inhalant for a long period of time while particular attention
is paid to the assimilative process and the eliminations.
For weakness, beef juice was often suggested (although
it is not found in this particular reading).
Particularly where asthma has been present, it would
be consistent in the readings to advise Atomidine in series. This
could be given one drop in a half glass of water, on first arising in
the morning, daily for five days. Then rest two days, then repeat
over a period of two to three months. Then a rest from the drops
should be taken and the cycle started again.
An important concept from the Cayce readings says
that any therapy should be given for a period of time, then a rest should
be taken by the body. It is well to remember also that patience,
consistency, and perseverance or persistence are necessary elements for
the patient and the doctor to observe and use as the body is being rebuilt
and brought back to a normal balance.
Keep up what we have given. Be a little patient,
but know that there is being brought about those conditions that will
correct the disturbances in this body, and that the body's strength -
the body-physical and the body-mental - is gaining. Set before self,
mentally, that the body would attain. Make it high, and keep the
mental lifted in that direction; for to heal the physical alone, and to
have the mental still distorted-would only be the return of the conditions
when activities would be renewed physically. But make the body physically
fit, that the body-mental may act through same and make the efforts to
bring about that as is desired, in a mental and physical body -
but make it high! Don't be satisfied with less! (5545-2)
Cecil-Loeb: Textbook of Medicine, 12th ed., P.B. Beeson & W. McDermott
(ed.), Philadelphia: W.B. Saunders Co., 1967, Vol. 1, 502-507.
Nakayama, Komei: "The Surgical Significance of the Carotid Body in Relation
to Bronchial Asthma," J. Thorac. Surgery, 39: 374-389 (No. 4), 1963.
Overholt, R.H.: "Resection of Carotid Body (Cervical Glomectomy) for
Asthma," JAMA, 180: 91-94 (No. 10), 1962.
Phillips, J. R.: "Removal of the Carotid Body for Asthma and Emphysema,"
S Med J, 57: 1278-1281 (Nov.), 1964.
Read, C.T.: "Glomectomy: A Survey," Annals of Thor Surg I.- 590-606
(No. 5), 1965.
"Commentary on Asthma," based on readings 5642-1, 2, 3.
[Note: The preceding overview was written by William A. McGarey, M.D.
and is excerpted from the Physician's Reference Notebook,
Copyright © 1968 by the Edgar Cayce Foundation, Virginia Beach, VA.]
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