Hypertension (high blood pressure) is an elevation in overall blood pressure, which is the force created by the heart as it pushes blood through the circulatory system. Blood pressure is measured in two numbers: the first, or top number, is the "systolic" pressure, created when the heart contracts; the second, or bottom number, is the "diastolic" pressure, or the period during which the heart relaxes. Normal blood pressure at rest is 120/80 or lower.
Hypertension affects about 70 million Americans (1 in every 3 adults.) The incidence of hypertension in the United States has increased dramatically over the past 30 years. Elevated blood pressure means that the heart is working harder than normal, putting both the heart and the arteries under greater strain. Chronic high blood pressure may contribute to heart attacks, strokes, kidney failure, and eye damage. According to recent data from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), 7 out of 10 people having their first heart attack have high blood pressure, and 8 out of 10 people having their first stroke have high blood pressure.
A small percentage of people with hypertension have kidney or adrenal problems. Another small percentage have an underlying genetic factor. In the vast majority of people with high blood pressure, however, lifestyle-related issues play a huge role. A diet high in salt and sugar, physical inactivity, obesity, drinking too much alcohol, and tobacco use are all associated with an increased risk of high blood pressure.
THE READINGS’ PERSPECTIVE ON HYPERTENSION
The Edgar Cayce readings were all given before 1945. Obesity rates in the United States before 1945 were only a fraction of what they are today. Processed high-sodium foods were rare then, and most Americans were physically active. It is likely that the readings for hypertension that were given then were for individuals who had different causes of hypertension than most Americans of today.
The readings described what science has recently illustrated: how engorgement and clogs in the tiny capillaries and blood vessels slow blood flow and demand extra force (higher blood pressure) from the heart to pump the blood through the system and back to the heart to be replenished with oxygen.
THE CAYCE READINGS’ RECOMMENDATIONS FOR TREATING HYPERTENSION
Though the Cayce readings about hypertension may have been more generalizable 100 years ago, most of the therapeutic recommendations are, interestingly, widely applicable for Americans today. A positive attitude, maintaining a healthy weight, eating healthy foods, moderate exercise, quitting smoking and excessive alcohol use—all of these Cayce recommendations have been shown in current medical studies to decrease blood pressure. Detailed therapeutic summaries from the readings include:
- AVOIDING CONSTIPATION/INTERNAL CLEANSING: Hydrotherapy includes drinking six to eight glasses of pure water daily, colonic irrigations (preferably) or enemas, and cleansing diet of fresh fruits and vegetables. Castor oil packs across the abdomen are recommended to improve eliminations. Regular exercise and a plant-based, whole food diet will prevent constipation from becoming a problem.
- SPINAL MANIPULATION AND MASSAGE: For those individuals who have a neurological component to their hypertension, osteopathic or chiropractic treatment was recommended to relieve any pressures that may be hindering circulation. Special attention is to be paid to the thoracic vertebrae (2nd to 9th thoracic) as this portion of the spine was often cited in the Cayce readings on hypertension. If osteopathic or chiropractic treatment is not available, the use of an electric vibrator along the spine may be helpful. Finally, gentle massage is suggested to relax the body and balance the circulation.
- DIET: The Basic Cayce Diet, intended to improve assimilation and elimination, is what modern literature refers to as Mediterranean: olive oil, fresh vegetables, almonds, poultry, seafood, and limited consumption of meat. The readings recommended avoiding foods which produce toxicity and drain the system, like fried foods and refined sugary carbohydrates ("junk food"). Certain food combinations are emphasized.
- RADIAL APPLIANCE (Radiac®): The Radial Appliance, also known as the Radiac, is a subtle energy device frequently recommended by Edgar Cayce to balance the circulation and relax the body. Most people do not feel anything during a treatment session but notice improved sleep and a sense of well-being with repeated use. The Cayce readings emphasized the importance of maintaining a positive attitude while attached to the appliance and encouraged individuals to meditate during the therapy sessions. Though there are no scientific studies to research its use, there have been no reported side-effects.
- MODERATE EXERCISE: Moderate exercise is an important aspect of balanced living. Walking was a favorite exercise recommended by Edgar Cayce for people suffering from high blood pressure. A daily walk after dinner is a good place to start.
- ATTITUDES AND EMOTIONS: The mental and emotional aspects of healing are frequently discussed in the Cayce readings. Particularly, an attitude of desiring and expecting to be healed is important. A positive mental and emotional attitude can be created and maintained by focusing on a higher purpose (ideal) for being healed.