[NOTE: The following section is excerpted for principles Principles & Techniques of Nerve Regeneration: Alzheimer's Disease & the Dementias by David McMillin M.A. ]
Cayce's heavy emphasis on coordinating treatments that regulate the systems of the body is consistent with the osteopathic and medical practice of his day. Gregory (1922) went so far as to equate coordination with health and incoordination with disease:
"It is the existence and continuation of the normal equilibrium, and of perfect co-ordination and reflex action, which maintain perfect health, and it is the existence of some variation and loss of the perfect equilibrium of nerve action which engenders derangement of function, and the resulting incoordination, and their consequences, which is disease." (Gregory, 1922, p. 18)
Coordination as a specific goal of treatment is also stressed in the neuropathic literature:
"The coordination of the various parts of the body with each other is sufficient to cause re-established harmony therein, and restore the body its wonted physical condition." (Davis, 1909, p. 125)
The importance of establishing and maintaining coordination is one of the most important themes in the Cayce health readings. Likewise, incoordination in all its myriad forms, was the most frequently cited source of disease.
Thus, in recommending the use of both corrective and regulating (coordinating) types of treatment, Edgar Cayce demonstrates a vast knowledge of anatomy and physiology, of health and pathology, and of the therapeutic resources that were available at that time.
The concept of coordination is so crucial to our discussion of nervous system regeneration, I will provide several important examples from the Cayce readings. The first excerpt emphasizes the reasoning for using both corrective and coordinating treatments:
Q. Is Dr. Morrison giving the osteopathic treatments correctly?
A. About one time in three they are correct! ...
Q. How should the osteopathic treatments be given?
A. In the manner as has been outlined for the body. As has been see, the coordination of the conditions with this body are as those active forces in the glands as direct the nerve energy between the sympathetic and cerebrospinal system, as they enter the brain, the defective coordinations coming from the genitive system. In the manipulations, when there is too severe treatments given in the upper cervical and not a proper coordinating treatment given in the lumbar and lower dorsal, we must have then a reverse reaction, very much in the same manner as we have from an electric vibration when there is short circuit, or voltage is in contact with that which raises the vibration, see? So when the manipulations are given, give them with the idea, and with the active forces as producing the same coordination in all centers from which sympathetic and cerebrospinal radiate; so that their active forces to the brain will be in coordination. Do that. (5562-12)
This excerpt describes the problem of only providing
corrective treatments, particularly when the correction are "too severe"
in one portion of the spine (in this case the upper cervicals).
Not only is the spinal lesion being corrected, but the centers associated
with this area of the spine are being overstimulated in relation to the
other centers along the spine.
Keep in mind that the these centers assist in regulating the vital processes of the body (including the organs and glands). So, in this case, the organs in the upper part of the body were being overstimulated in relation to the organs of the lower portion. This was producing an imbalance (incoordination) in the system as a whole. Cayce suggested making the correction in the cervical and also stimulating the other major centers so that all the organs of the body would be operating at the same level of activity.
Here is another example of this principle of providing specific adjustments and then going on to insure that other major centers are in coordination. Note that Cayce acknowledged that the osteopathic profession was well aware of the importance of coordinating the major nerve centers along the spine:
These centers, then, need a stimulation given - in the manner as we have indicated. For, as has been ordinarily determined by these of the osteopathic profession, manipulations to the hypogastric and pneumogastric plexus - or the upper cervical and dorsal - without respect to the lower portion that we have indicated (9th dorsal to lower portion of sacral), will bring the INDETERMINATE activity - or the tendencies for the body to become upset through the stomach, through the digestive system. But, if these applications or manipulations are made from that particular area indicated (lumbar and sacral), and the rest of the cerebrospinal centers only COORDINATED WITH SAME, then we may find that these will - with the other applications that we suggest - be most helpful to the physical forces of this body. (758-38)
The following selection from reading 480-44 is exemplary with regard to coordination as described by Edgar Cayce:
Q. Are there any specific manipulations that can help to relieve the haziness?
.A. As indicated, the 9th dorsal and the 4th lumbar or the lumbar and sacral axis. These need to be kept or brought not only to an alignment but to a coordination in their interrelations. For not only is the 4th lumbar, the axis of the pelvis, from which the pressure has been in part at times as we have indicated heretofore, the cause of an activity upon the glandular forces of the system, but the 9th dorsal is that plexus or center from which the solar plexus receives its impulses. Then these reactions brought to perfect alignment, then coordinant in their activity, would remove the pressure from the system. Now that those areas in the lumbar have been corrected more than we have had heretofore, then stimulate same for coordination with the 8th and 9th and 10th dorsal areas, for coordinant activity....
Q. The nausea and tingling sensation has reappeared since confinement. What is the cause and how can that be stopped?
A. That's just what we have been referring to, in producing the coordination between the lumbar axis (which is the brush end of the cerebrospinal as related to the vegetative or sympathetic nerve system) and the 9th dorsal center as related to the sympathetic system. These are the great centers - save the vagus itself, in the dorsal and upper portion of the cervical areas - but these are the great centers from which the cerebrospinal and the sympathetic system coordinate in their activity with the body - or the impulse AND reaction from the brain centers themselves. That's what is meant by keeping COORDINATION between the plexus of one ganglia or center and those in another, that the ATTUNEMENT between same is such that their rate of pulsation, their rate of vibration, coordinate one to another. How may we use same? Well, these are not osteopathic terms, but there has been perfected or used in the chiropractic association a thermometer, or a gadget that run along the spine shows WHEN they coordinate one with another, see?
Q. Where may same be procured?
A. From the chiropractic school in Des Moines, Iowa. [Palmer School, Davenport, Iowa?]
Q. Could the chiropractor do that in Detroit?
A. We would rather give the osteopathic than the chiropractic. Because to make an adjustment even in these conditions for the body, without giving the MUSCULAR forces the proper reactions - well, it's not always good, and their reactions are not always the better. (480-44)
There are several key concepts in this reading. Note that Cayce is recommending a corrective treatment to help align the spine. Yet, he is insisting that the practitioner also assist with coordination of the major nerve centers. The desired coordination is between the cerebrospinal (CNS) and the sympathetic (ANS). The criteria for determining if coordination has been achieved is: 1) pulsation and 2) vibration. This can be measured with a thermometer used by chiropractors. If these major centers are not operating at the same level of functioning, the glandular system will be thrown out of coordination. In other words, it is not simply enough to make the anatomical correction, Cayce insisted upon physiological regulation to produce coordination.
The following example provides fascinating anatomical detail in regards to the mechanics of osteopathic coordination. Note that it is the cerebrospinal and sympathetic nervous systems that are being coordinated; the glandular system is being regulated from the spinal centers; and there is no structural problem with the spine - the treatment is strictly regulatory.
Q. Should other glands be stimulated which have not been?
A. As just indicated, these should be stimulated, - but from the centers from which the IMPULSE for their activity emanates!
Let's describe this for a second, that the entity or body here may understand, as well as the one making the stimulation:
Along the cerebrospinal system we find segments. These are cushioned. Not that the segment itself is awry, but through each segment there arises an impulse or a nerve connection between it and the sympathetic system - or the nerves running parallel with same. Through the sympathetic system (as it is called, or those centers not encased in cerebrospinal system) are the connections with the cerebrospinal system.
Then, in each center - that is, of the segment where these connect - there are tiny bursa, or a plasm of nerve reaction. This becomes congested, or slow in its activity to each portion of the system. For, each organ, each gland of the system, receives impulses through this manner for its activity.
Hence we find there are reactions to every portion of the system by suggestion, mentally, and by the environment and surroundings.
Also we find that a reaction may be stimulated INTERNALLY to the organs of the body, by injection of properties or foods, or by activities of same.
We also find the reflex from these internally to the brain centers.
Then, the SCIENCE of osteopathy is not merely the punching in a certain segment or the cracking of the bones, but it is the keeping of a BALANCE - by the touch - between the sympathetic and the cerebrospinal system! THAT is real osteopathy!
With the adjustments made in this way and manner, we will find not only helpful influences but healing and an aid to any condition that may exist in the body, - unless there is a broken bone or the like!
Q. How soon should osteopathic treatments be resumed?
A. As indicated, it is well that these be in periods, then rest a period. Inasmuch as these have not been administered wholly as has been indicated, and there has been a lack of the other properties indicated, we would begin these within a week or less, - or the first of next week we would begin again. Then have a series of two to three weeks, then rest two to three weeks from such adjustments, - for the reaction from same. For, as just indicated, a long series of such, just pulling or cracking here or there, has nothing to do with HEALING forces! They have to be scientifically or CORRECTLY administered for the individual or particular disturbances, just as we have indicated here.
Now, to stimulate the glands: Some stimulate these, of course, by stimulating the vagus center, or by using the organ itself, - that is, the neck or the throat or about the glands.
As we have indicated, as there is a combination of things to be taken internally as well as the mechanical or osteopathic adjustments, these are to be coordinated throughout the 2nd and 3rd dorsal centers; a general stimulation that IMPULSES to the vagus center are such as to carry to that portion of the body the inclination for nominal or normal adjustment of itself! (1158-24)
While recognizing the obvious pathology in the brain in cases of dementia, the readings emphasized the importance of maintaining coordination between the cerebrospinal and sympathetic systems:
Too little importance is too often given by those who would aid in bringing a normal force for a body suffering under even dementia, that relationship between the sympathetic and the cerebrospinal nervous systems ... (5475-1)
The next example of coordination reinforces the concept of major coordinating centers between the cerebrospinal and sympathetic nervous systems. Pay particular attention to the relationship between the nervous systems and the lymphatics:
We would have those corrections osteopathically that have been indicated, or the massage, with the relaxing and not just hurrying through or making special adjustments in the areas where the disorders are indicated, of the incoordination between sympathetic and cerebrospinal system, but a gently relaxing treatment with specific attention given to the 3rd cervical, the 2nd, 3rd and 4th dorsal, 9th dorsal and through the lumbar area....
Q. What is causing the sleeplessness?
A. As indicated, this incoordination between cerebrospinal and sympathetic systems. If there will be the relaxation or the producing of a better coordination between the cerebro- spinal and sympathetic nervous systems, we will alleviate these disorders.
Q. Disturbed mental condition?
A. The same conditions; of course, glandular disorders combined with this disorder between the nerves of the sympathetic and cerebrospinal systems make for these indecisions or the restlessness disturbing also the sleep at times.
Q. Overactive kidneys and pain over the left kidney?
A. Through the 9th dorsal center where the disorders are there should be the relaxation so that better coordination is established in the circulation between liver and kidneys, and it would relieve these tensions... This coordination cannot be produced merely by making an adjustment but it requires stimulation of all those patches of the emunctory and lymph circulating between the sympathetic nervous system and the cerebrospinal system in those areas of the body. (3386-2)
Note that Cayce recommended massage as the technique for establishing coordination. Also note the reference to "patches of the emunctory and lymph" and their role in coordinating the nervous systems. Cayce often spoke of these patches located in conjunction with the sympathetic ganglia along the spine. These lymph patches serve a crucial role in the coordination of the nervous systems:
Do occasionally have the stimulations that follow relaxations of the taut centers where the cerebrospinal and sympathetic nerve systems coordinate the greater - through the patches of lymph along the spine. There will be found, for this particular body, the areas from the 3rd and 4th lumbar, 9th dorsal, 1st, 2nd, and 3rd cervical, and around the head. (2946-4)
The treatments neuropathically should be made especially in the coccyx area and in the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd cervical areas. And these would be as much upon the activity of the sympathetic connections at the 3rd, 2nd and 1st cervical, as they would be upon the segments themselves. These [segments] do not need to be moved, but there needs to be the coordinating of those patches of the emunctory flow between the lymphatic, or sympathetic lymphatic and cerebrospinal system. The adjustments or massages in the last lumbar and in the coccyx segments should be also upon the brush end of the cerebrospinal nerves themselves. (3562-1)
Again, note that the manual therapy recommended in these instances was osteopathic or neuropathic massage. It was not necessary to move the spinal segments themselves. By stimulating the lymph and emunctory patches, the cerebrospinal, sympathetic and sensory nervous systems are able to better coordinate their activities. Dr. William McGarey provides the following description of lymphatic involvement in nervous system coordination:
"These three nervous systems [cerebrospinal, sympathetic and sensory] have their contact with each other and maintain a balance and a coordination one with the other at all times within that state we call health. There are lymphatic patches apparently within bursas found in certain of the sympathetic ganglia paralleling the various levels of the spinal column. These patches of lymph tissue and fluid become the means by which proper synaptic relationship is maintained between the three nervous systems. Substances of a "globular" nature are manufactured in the Peyer's Patches of the small intestine and carried by the lymphocytes to these patches, making it possible in that manner to maintain the coordination between the autonomic and the cerebrospinal nervous systems; and for these in turn to maintain a balance with the sensory forces of the body." (McGarey, 1967, p. 1)
A rotary or circular type of massage was the primary therapeutic technique for stimulating the lymph and emunctory patches located along the spine. Certain massage oils (particularly peanut and olive oil) were also recommended in such treatments. The readings stated that the oils would be absorbed into the lymph and emunctory patches and assist in the coordinating process.