Asthma is a chronic inflammatory disorder of the airways. Environmental and other factors provoke the airway inflammation in people with asthma. This inflammation is always present to some degree, regardless of the level of asthma severity.
Asthma is a major public health problem in the United States. The disease affects approximately 13 million people, nearly 5 million of whom are under the age of 18. People with asthma experience well over 100 million days of restricted activity annually, and the total annual costs of the disease are estimated at $6.2 billion. Asthma is the third leading cause of preventable hospitalizations in the United States. There are about 470,000 hospitalizations and more than 5,000 deaths a year from asthma. (National Institutes of Health Publication No. 97-4053)
From a medical perspective, the basic cause of asthma is unknown. Heredity plays some role; asthma often runs in families, especially in families who have a lot of allergies. Asthmatic attacks may be triggered by a wide variety of factors including:
- Allergens (pollen, mold, house dust/dust mites, cockroaches, certain foods, etc.)
- Viral Infections
- Irritants (strong odors, air pollutants, tobacco smoke, etc.)
- Gastroespohageal Reflux (heartburn, belching, or spitting up)
- Sensitivity to Medications (such as aspirin and sulfites)
- Emotional Anxiety
Standard medical treatment for asthma relies primarily on medications intended to relax the airways and reduce the inflammation and production of mucus in the lungs. Steroids are commonly prescribed for the treatment of asthma.
Some children "outgrow" the disease as they enter their middle teens. Otherwise, asthma is considered an incurable illness. The condition of a patient's asthma will change depending on the environment, patient activities, management practices, and other factors. Thus, even when patients have their asthma under control, monitoring and treatment are needed to maintain control.
EDGAR CAYCE'S PERSPECTIVE
Edgar Cayce discussed the causes and treatment of asthma in over 160 readings. While recognizing the variability of the illness as it manifests in each individual, several patterns were noted with regard to etiology (causation) and treatment.
Pressure on spinal nerve centers was a common etiological factor in the Cayce readings on asthma. In particular, the upper thoracic (dorsal) and lower cervical nerve plexuses were implicated. Nerve supply to the respiratory system is derived from these nerve centers. Impairment to nerve supply can compromise respiratory functioning leading to increased vulnerability to other factors as described below. Disturbed circulation was noted as a factor in asthma. Primarily, increased circulation to the lungs was cited in numerous readings. This was often linked to pressure on the spinal nerve centers which regulate blood flow to the lungs.
Poor eliminations were cited as a causative factor in several readings. Presumably, circulating toxins can irritate the lungs triggering an asthma attack. Specifically, problems with the hepatic system were noted in several readings on asthma. Edgar Cayce's description of the hepatic system includes the liver, heart, and lungs as organs of the "upper hepatic circulation." According to the Cayce readings, the lungs represent one of the channels of elimination by which the liver can eliminate toxins from the system. Thus the lungs may react to increased toxicity resulting in respiratory illness.
Certain foods were emphasized as causative factors. Sugar, starches, and pork were mentioned as contributing to asthma. Generally speaking, acid-producing foods were viewed as problematic.
Glandular dysfunction was sometimes noted in readings on asthma. The lymphatic system was also occasionally mentioned in cases of asthma.
Environmental factors such as climate, pollen, and pollutants were mentioned as causative factors in numerous readings on asthma. With the increase in environmental pollution, perhaps this factor is even significant for persons who now suffer from asthma.
Psychological factors such as attitudes and emotions were mentioned as contributing causes in some cases of asthma. Heredity was mentioned in one reading on asthma.
From a therapeutic standpoint, Edgar Cayce's treatment recommendations were varied depending upon the unique needs of each individual. However, several therapies stand out as important in the treatment of asthma.
Osteopathic or chiropractic treatment to relieve pressure on nerve centers in the upper portion of the back was a common therapeutic recommendation. Corrective diet was suggested in many readings for asthma. Restricting sugars and starches, and fried foods while increasing fruits and vegetables were common recommendations. Various formulas for inhalants were commonly recommended as antiseptics for the respiratory system in cases of asthma.
Several medicines were recommended by Edgar Cayce for persons with asthma. Calcidin (calcium iodate) is particularly noteworthy. During Edgar Cayce's era, Calcidin was available as an over-the-counter medicine for the treatment of respiratory problems. Most often, it was prescribed for relief during asthmatic exacerbations. Currently, Calcidin is not generally available and must be prescribed by a doctor.
Improving eliminations to decrease toxicity was recommended in several cases of asthma. Hydrotherapy (such as colonic irrigation) can be used for internal cleansing. Mild exercise was recommended for some individuals with asthma.
Here is a example from the Cayce readings which illustrates how various causative factors can work together to produce asthma. Note that a "subluxation" (pressure on a nerve center) disturbed the circulation through the respiratory system making the individual vulnerable to an infectious disorder which settled in the system. Thereafter, stressors (such as heat or digestive problems) could trigger asthmatic attacks. Also note the diverse therapeutic interventions to address the various aspects of the condition.
As to the NERVE SYSTEM, here we find what may be termed the cause or the seat of the disorder. In times back - seventeen, sixteen, seventeen (this winter) - there was a distress that was brought on by a germ, or "flu", or deep cold, that with a subluxation already existent which made a tendency in the direction produced a slowing of the circulation through the bronchi and through the larynx. This, then, through the slowed circulation, tended to make for a plethora there, when there were almost those reactions of a form of pneumonia, or inflammation of the lung itself; but the high temperature, the slow blood supply, formed a lesion or a clot, or a thickening of the tissue in the bronchi itself. Hence we have with excess of heat, or with a pressure from even disagreeing properties for digestion, or that requiring the circulation to be drawn to other portions of the body, that which produces spasmodic asthmatic conditions in the bronchi itself. This makes for a filling of the tubes and a shortening of the breath, and slowing still farther the circulation through the lungs in the lower portions (and upper portion on the right side), and - causing the distresses and the deep circulation in attempting to fill - makes for a breath that makes for panting, requiring that something will allow the passages for the air into the lungs to be excited to such an extent as to reduce this plethora or fullness that is caused there.
When there is an asthmatic spasmodic reaction, we will find that the inhalation of properties combined in this manner would be MOST beneficial:
To 4 ounces of pure grain alcohol, add - in this order and quantity:
Eucalyptol, Oil of.............20 minims,
Rectified Creosote..............3 minims,
Tincture of Benzoin..........15 minims,
Rectified Oil of Turp.........10 minims,
Tincture of Tolu in solution...20 minims.
Keep this in a container at least twice the size of the quantity, or a 6 to 8 ounce container with a glass cork, you see. Inhale the fumes, when this solution is shaken together, deep into the lungs and bronchi 2, 3, 4 times each day. Of course, this - as any condition - might be overdone, but take 3 to 4 deep inhalations whenever it is necessary - 3 to 4 times a day.
We would also take at such periods a grain Calcidin tablet, which will alleviate the lung activity and make for better conditions in the system.
Also at times, not always - but when the condition especially is bad in the evenings, or when there is damp weather, or when there is the tendency or the approach of storms or the like - we would use the pure APPLE brandy; not Apple Jack nor cider, but BRANDY - apple brandy. A small quantity of it. Or, to 4 to 6 ounces of same add 1/2 ounce of Rock Candy. Shake this together until it is dissolved. Do not take at a dose more than a teaspoonful, or a good swallow - which would be 2 teaspoonsful. Never more than that much, and let it go down VERY slowly, see?
Now, as to the CORRECTIVE measures that will alleviate the condition:
There should be about ten or twelve chiropractic adjustments made in the cerebrospinal system, especially in the 3rd and 4th dorsal center; and make the adjustment from the RIGHT side. Necessary, of course, that a little massage be given through the cervical area at such an adjustment.
After these treatments; that is, several months afterwards, or until the condition begins to improve; we would use the electrically driven vibrator, using the cup applicator directly on the body over the whole of the cerebrospinal system. Then take the ball or the little hard applicator and apply from the 9th dorsal to the base of the brain on either side of the cerebrospinal system itself. Go down on the one side, then go down on the other; but let these come FROM the head toward the central portion of the body, bearing rather hard - or making a DEEP vibration, see?
Be mindful with the diet, that there are not those things that will tend to make for irritation to the respiratory system or the bronchi itself; that is, never too much of the tuberous nature of vegetables, and no hog meat - save there may be taken a little crisp bacon of mornings at times, but NO hog meat! If meat at all is to be taken, it would be principally fish, fowl, mutton or the like. Never fried meats. If beef is to be taken, let it rather be in the form of the juices of same - that is, with stews and the like, see? More of the leafy vegetables, and not too much of those that are of the too great quantity of starch; though corn may be taken in moderation, especially the roasting ears if they are BOILED - not fried, but boiled! Then the corn may be cut off the cob and prepared in that manner for the body, or it may be eaten off the cob. But the mastication of the food for this body should be the greater principle. Chew any mouthful of food at least fourteen times. Even in drinking water, CHEW it - or masticate it at least three or four times. That is, sip it - let the activity of the glands in the mouth mingle well with the water; not gulping it but sipping it gently.
And this will bring very great relief to the body. With the end of the chiropractic adjustments given in the area specifically as outlined, also begin taking Atomidine; never more than three minims in a glass of water, and sip this water as well as all the other that is taken. This dosage may be taken twice each day, before the morning meal and just before retiring. (595-1)
Based on the causes and treatments discussed above, here are some general therapeutic guidelines for persons suffering from asthma:
- SPINAL MANIPULATION AND MASSAGE: Osteopathic or chiropractic treatment is recommended to relieve any pressures on nerves that may be affecting the respiratory system. The upper portion of the spine should receive special attention. If osteopathic or chiropractic treatment is not available, the use of an electric vibrator along the spine may be helpful. Massage may also be helpful in improving circulation and producing relaxation.
- DIET: The Basic Cayce Diet is intended to improve assimilation and elimination. The diet focuses heavily on keeping a proper alkaline/acid balance while avoiding foods which produce toxicity and drain the system. Essentially, the diet consists mainly of fruits and vegetables while avoiding fried foods and refined carbohydrates ("junk food"). Certain food combinations are emphasized.
- INTERNAL CLEANSING: Hydrotherapy includes drinking six to eight glasses of pure water daily, using castor oil packs, and colonic irrigation to cleanse the system. Following the diet should also assist with internal cleansing.
- MEDICINE: Atomidine is a medicinal product containing 1% iodine trichloride. Small doses of Atomidine may be helpful in stimulating the glandular system. For symptomatic relief during exacerbations, Calcidin (calcium iodate) may be helpful. CAUTION: ATOMIDINE AND CALCIDIN CONTAIN IODINE. THEY SHOULD ONLY BE TAKEN UNDER THE SUPERVISION OF A PHYSICIAN.
- ATTITUDES AND EMOTIONS: The mental and emotional aspects of healing are frequently discussed the Cayce readings. Particularly, an attitude of desiring and expecting to be healed is important. A positive mental and emotional attitude and can be created and maintained by focusing on a high purpose (ideal) for being healed.