WHAT IS CROHN'S DISEASE
Crohn's disease is a form of inflammatory bowel disease, a group of chronic disorders that cause inflammation or ulceration in the small and large intestines. Crohn's disease usually involves the small intestine, most often the lower part (the ileum). In some cases, both the small and large intestine (colon or bowel) are affected. In other cases, only the colon is involved. Sometimes, inflammation also may affect the mouth, esophagus, stomach, duodenum, appendix, or anus. Crohn's disease is a chronic condition and may recur at various times over a lifetime. Some people have long periods of remission, sometimes for years, when they are free of symptoms. There is no way to predict when a remission may occur or when symptoms will return.
The most common symptoms of Crohn's disease are abdominal pain, often in the lower right area, and diarrhea. There also may be rectal bleeding, weight loss, and fever. Bleeding may be serious and persistent, leading to anemia (low red blood cell count). Children may suffer delayed development and stunted growth. The cause(s) of Crohn's disease is unknown. The main theories regarding causation focus on genetic predisposition, virus or bacterial infection, and immune system dysfunction.
From a medical perspective, Crohn's disease is regarded as incurable. Treatment focuses on symptomatic relief and management of the illness. Medications and dietary restrictions are standard medical therapies. Crohn's disease sometimes requires surgery, but it cannot be cured by surgery. The inflammation tends to return in areas of the intestine next to the area that has been removed.
Crohn's disease also can lead to complications that affect other parts of the body. These systemic complications include various forms of arthritis, skin problems, inflammation in the eyes or mouth, kidney stones, gallstones, or other diseases of the liver and biliary system.
EDGAR CAYCE'S PERSPECTIVE OF CROHN'S DISEASE
Although the diagnostic label of Crohn's disease was never used, Edgar Cayce gave numerous readings for individuals suffering from inflammatory bowel disease which would meet current criteria for Crohn's disease. Although the causes and treatment varied somewhat for each individual, one of the common themes was that inflammatory bowel disease can be traced back to viral infection (often intestinal flu) that has "settled" in the intestines. The lymphatic system becomes disturbed due to the toxic build up in the bowel.
Another common pattern described by Edgar Cayce traces the cause of intestinal inflammation to problems further up in the digestive system. For example, improper functioning of the stomach, small intestines or liver can produce a toxic load on the lower intestines.
In other readings, the cause was linked to pressures on spinal nerves which govern the digestive system. Improper digestion and assimilation in the upper gastro-intestinal (GI) tract led to inflammation in the intestines. Spinal adjustment (manual therapy) was usually included in the treatment plan in such instances.
EDGAR CAYCE'S THERAPEUTIC MODEL
Whether the intestinal inflammation was produced by flu virus or other factors, the treatment recommendations were consistent in emphasizing the need to address the whole digestive system. In other words, improving assimilation and elimination throughout the entire alimentary canal is helpful in supporting the healing of the intestines. Specific therapies for symptomatic relief are also included in the treatment recommendations:
- 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 and a cleansing diet of fresh fruits and vegetables.
- SPINAL MANIPULATION AND MASSAGE: Osteopathic or chiropractic treatment is recommended to relieve any pressures that may be hindering assimilation and elimination. If osteopathic or chiropractic treatment is not available, the use of an electric vibrator along the spine may be helpful.
- MEDICINE: A specific herbal formulation combining ginseng, ginger, lactated pepsin and stillingia has proven very effective in cases of inflammatory bowel disease. For persons experiencing diarrhea, another herbal remedy based on alum root is suggested. Beef juice taken as a medicine is recommended for persons who experience general fatigue and debilitation as a result of the disease.
- GRAPE THERAPY: The use of grapes in the diet and in abdominal packs may be helpful for individuals suffering from abdominal pain.
- 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.