Vitality is the essential quality of life. It distinguishes between living and nonliving organisms. It is the capacity to live and develop. Vitality is the vigor and power of health and wellness. It is the force that animates our being. It is the creative force that inspires us to our greatest artistic endeavors. It is the energy that drives sexual reproduction.
Edgar Cayce referred to various aspects of vitality. He sometimes used the expression "elan vitale" when speaking of the life force of the body. This electro/vibratory form of energy was said to function at two levels within the body. At a low intensity (vibration) it is the energy of growth and development. It keeps us alive and healthy.
At a higher level of intensity, the life force alters our consciousness. This may happen naturally in many ways such as during the dream cycle of sleep, during sexual orgasm, during pregnancy, during the certain stages of development (e.g., puberty), and during deep meditation. Unfortunately, the life force can also get out of control resulting in certain forms of mental and emotional illness such as schizophrenia and manic-depressive disorder.
Edgar Cayce sometimes referred to the raised energy level of the life force as "kundalini." Within the yogic traditions of meditation, kundalini refers to the "coiled serpent" which lies sleeping at the base of the spine. This energy is awakened during meditation and moves upward through the centers of the body. This awakening can result in psychic experiences.
Certain forms of healing are associated with the raised vibration of the life force. For example, the traditional practices of "faith healing" and "laying on of hands" are said to be manifestations of the creative energies within the body. Persons with naturally high levels of vitality are particularly suited to this form of healing. This form of vital energy is also called "animal magnetism," referring back to the work of Anton Mesmer.
The natural vitality of the body may be enhanced by various practices and therapies. Nutritious food, adequate sleep and rest, moderate exercise, and prayer and meditation are all simple means of increasing vitality. While Edgar Cayce sometimes recommended vitamin supplements as a means of increasing vitality (particularly in cases of severe deficiency), more often he preferred that individuals gain the vital energies from fresh food, locally grown and simply prepared.
In as much as the Cayce readings equate the vital energy of the body with a low form of electrical vibration, it is not surprising that they also recommend various forms of electrotherapy to increase vitality, maintain wellness, and aid in healing. The Wet Cell Battery, Radial Appliance and Violet Ray Appliance were frequently recommended to increase the vitality of the body.
At a physiological level, the Cayce readings stated that the vital energy of the body is mediated through four primary organs of the system: the liver, kidneys, heart and lungs. These organs were sometimes referred to as the hepatic system (the liver, heart and lungs being the upper hepatic circulation and the kidneys representing the lower hepatic circulation). He even went so far as to call the liver and kidneys the positive and negative poles of the battery of the body. Many of the therapies recommended in the readings were directed at improving the efficiency of the hepatic system, resulting in increased vitality.
From a cosmic perspective, the creative energies of the Universal Forces permeate all space and matter. Edgar Cayce's descriptions of this form of vital force parallels Hindu concepts such as prana. The readings speak of a radial activity that emanates from the sun and other celestial bodies. The physical body can tap into this source of vitality through breathing fresh air and exercising in sunlight. The Radial Appliance utilizes this form of energy. This is why Edgar Cayce suggested that the appliance and attachments be placed in direct sunlight when possible.
The doctrine of vitalism states that the functions of a living organism are due to an energy or vital principle that is distinct from physical (material) processes. In other words, life is not entirely explicable by the laws of physics or chemistry. Here is a description of vitalism provided by Richard Grossinger, in his book Planet Medicine: From Stone Age Shamanism To Post-Industrial Healing (North Atlantic Books, Berkeley, CA).
"Vitalism is, at once, a science, a religious philosophy, and a doctrine which radically alters all other theories of matter and being. It states that life is unique, that it possesses properties in some manner above and beyond its physics and chemistry.... Vitalism assumes that the forms of the world are imparted by a template existing outside of matter as we know it. This entity, or process, in some unknown way, touches the archetypal force of creation and communicates the secret of life to those creatures who then are born.... Vitalism does not challenge the chemical oneness of the universe; in fact, it tends to take this scientific discovery as partial confirmation of its own beliefs; i.e., science has discovered the unity of all things, which vitalism only intuited." (Grossinger, 1990, pp. 116 - 122)