[NOTE: The following commentary by William A. McGarey, M.D. is a general overview of the Cayce approach to scleroderma. The treatment recommendations discussed in the Cayce readings for this condition are diverse and reflect the tremendous variability in how scleroderma can manifest for each unique individual. This overview should be viewed as one perspective on how to apply the Cayce approach.]
Scleroderma is a disease process which is more technically known as progressive systemic sclerosis. It involves the collagenous connective tissues and may cause widespread, symmetrical, leathery induration of the skin, followed by atrophy and pigmentation.The cutaneous lesions are believed to be the external manifestation of a systemic disease, and the muscles, bones, mucous membranes, heart, lungs, intestinal tract and other internal organs may be involved by the same process, resulting in functional impairment such as heart failure or pulmonary insufficiency. The reader is invited to review this disease process in Cecil's Textbook of Medicine for a more thorough understanding of what modern medical opinions are at the present time concerning Scleroderma.
I. Physiological Considerations
Scleroderma, as it is seen in the readings, affects not only the skin but the blood forming structural areas such as the bone and the lung tissue itself in a process which produces a hardening or a clotting of the blood, mainly as a result of the blood itself attempting to bring about what is called coagulation - that creative process within the body which is the building up of new tissue as old tissue normally dies.This is seen most graphically in the skin where the superficial circulation to the various layers of the skin itself is involved in this process.Then nerves ending in these areas become deadened because of the involvement in the process, which in turn results in acute pain and also reflexes to the autonomic nervous system which then becomes involved itself.In this manner the organs themselves become disturbed throughout the body.
There are glands within the body - in the case of Scleroderma these being principally the thyroid, the adrenals, and the liver - which become deficient in supplying elements which normally would keep all portions of the epidermis normal.These glandular elements are necessary in the formation of structure out of energy as Cayce has described many times in his readings.With these hormones absent, the effect of the influences of the glands is to produce, apparently, a tubercle bacillus or germ in the lymphatics of the skin itself as a direct result of the skin being destroyed and becoming hardened more rapidly than it can be rebuilt.This becomes a "consumptive" condition with an inflammation of the lymph in that area that consumes the circulation between the outer, the inner, and the most inner portions of the skin covering.
Another way of understanding the process or course of events - the glandular deficiency creates a lack of nutrition in the circulation of the skin itself which in turn causes a checking of the flow of the lymph circulation.As the disease progresses, conditions in the circulation become more disturbed and areas develop of a hardening where the lymph or emunctory flow is destroyed.The nerves in these areas become involved as described earlier - causing organic involvement on the part of the body to bring about better conditions.As the lymph flow is destroyed, the lymphatics themselves become inflamed, creating the germ or the tubercle bacillus, which consumes the circulation of the skin creating a malformation.In the more advanced cases of Scleroderma, the perspiration of the skin of course becomes involved, destroying the sweat glands.And without this normal breathing of the skin, a gradual increase in acidosis within the body comes into being.This makes the body more susceptible to colds and to intercurrent infections.
Far advances cases of course have nearly all portions of the body involved.Thus there is little of the oxygen needs of the body that can be met by a malfunctioning respiratory system, and the entire body is put thus upon a greater strain.As these conditions progress assimilation becomes more difficult and less capable, and the lack of reconstructive activities in the body becomes progressively more acute.
Review of the above information points up the fact that the endocrine glands of the body, in their disturbed functioning, become the primary cause of this disease process. with the collagenous changes being secondary to the inadequate restoration of circulatory structures with the skin itself.
II.Rationale of Therapy
In approaching therapy, we should remember that the body has a capability of normal function.
Thus, - we would administer those activities which would bring a normalreaction through these portions, stimulating them to an activity from the bodyitself, rather than the body becoming dependent upon supplies that are robbingportions of the system to produce activity in other portions, or the system receiving elements or chemical reactions being supplied without arousing theactivity of the system itself for a more normal condition. (1968-3)
A primary therapy in Scleroderma certainly should be to eliminate the basic cause of the disease, which has already been described as a malfunction of the glands of the body.However, emphasis should be placed upon the need for persistence in gradually reestablishing a normal function throughout all those area of the body which have been disturbed.Thus, the primary aim of therapy would be the gradual redirecting of the forces and energies of the body itself back toward what we know and consider to be a normal function.
Therapy should be directed at achieving certain goals which might be enumerated in order to establish a clear-cut direction. All these goals should be kept in mind as attempts are made to restore the functioning of the body step by step.The following are self-explanatory:
- Cleanse and purify the glandular system of the body.This will aid in the bloodbuilding forces as well as bringing more normal activity to the circulatory systemof the skin and the other tissues which need rebuilding.
- Promote a more adequate assimilation of food substances. Attention needs tobe paid to the diet and to the functioning of the digestive organs and assimilativetissues.
- Correct the functioning of the superficial circulation and the lymphatic circulation of the skin. Local therapy should be considered as well as thoseinfluences which are brought about through the other goals which are listed here.
- Add to the system that which will purify the blood;set into motion those partswhich have become so disturbed; and build up the necessary forces to bring anearer to normal reaction. This would imply the use of the Wet Cell Appliancewhich apparently brings into the body influences that have been rejected by the functioning of the body in assimilation in the whole process of the establishment of Scleroderma.
- Improve the oxygen intake where it is needed and stimulate a more normalfunctioning of the lung tissues.Insure adequate eliminations and maintain abalance of the nervous systems of the body.
The use of any of the applications in a condition as chronic and deep-set as Scleroderma requires a persistence that often taxes the patience of anyone faced with this particular disease whether it is the one who suffers or the one who applies therapy.The necessity of a consistent application, however, is there and Cayce emphasizes it in a variety of means.One of the best examples of his emphasis is as follows:
Do not make the applications merely as a routine, - either the rubs, thediets, or the appliance.Let these be done with the continuous spiritual purpose tobe healed of the disturbances FOR a definite purpose, that is to be constructive and helpful to others.
Keep optimistic.Pray often; seeing, feeling, asking, desiring, expectinghelp - from Him, who is the way, the truth, the light.He faileth not those whokeep His purposes. (2514-1)
III.Suggested Therapeutic Regime
Therapy for Scleroderma must be initiated according to the severity of the individual case. Among those cases given readings contained in this file,  obviously is the most critically ill. Thus, the basic therapy used in all cases of Scleroderma is closely joined to procedures designed to control and reverse some of the most distressing complications in her particular instance.
In this 28 year old woman, the Atomidine either by mouth or through the Wet Cell Appliance is designed to cleanse and purify the glandular system as well as "supplying to the system those forces or influences that will add to the blood stream in such a way and manner as to give that resistance in the hemoglobin and the effluvia of the blood itself, those abilities to destroy or throw off the conditions." (528-3, par. 4).These were not used at first.Rather  was kept at bed rest; given fresh air or allowed to breathe oil of pine or eucalyptus and benzoin burning in her room; her eliminations were insured to be adequate through the use of enemas - not cathartics; her assimilations were improved through the use of ventriculin without iron (see attached note about ventriculin), beef juice frequently (see attached note about beef juice), and egg occasionally mixed with whiskey which has been burned to remove the toxic portion of the alcohol, and a diet which includes no starches whatsoever, designed to bring an alkaline condition to the body; and hot castor oil packs daily over the abdomen and also the back extending from the level of the diaphragm down to the sacrum portion, as a factor to disseminate energies to the body - this preceded by a thorough sponging off of the body with a saturated bicarbonate of soda solution.The soda would remove from the skin substances that otherwise would apparently be disseminated through the system and create unfavorable results.A review of readings 528-3, 4, and 5 would be instructive and helpful in understanding those changes that were needed in this particular case.
Later on enemas were suggested with two tablespoons of Glycothymoline added to 1 1/2 quarts of water at body temperature to prevent "reinfection from the tendency of the system to exhume this disturbed circulation through the alimentary canal." (528-5).Also at this time,  was given instructions to use the pure apple brandy in a charred oak keg.The keg was to be at least a gallon or a gallon and a half in size with one half to one gallon of the brandy added. It was to be kept close to the radiator or warmth of some sort, so gasses could be inhaled from the charred oak as well as from the brandy.She was instructed to inhale once a day at first, but when aching or feeling shaky, two or three times a day, "for this will assist the circulation in healing tissue that has been impaired by the effect of the condition as given." (528-6)
Further strengthening of the body was sought through the use of red wine taken with some black bread or rye crisp some time in the late afternoon.In other references through the readings this apparently strengthened the blood and corrected to some extent anemia. Alcohol rubs were also designed as a strengthening factor, if grain alcohol were used and not rubbing alcohol.These were especially to be used on the limbs and across the shoulders and "this will also tend to make for a better lymph circulation." (528-5)
Primary therapy however, in all cases that have been reviewed, is directed at bringing iodine into the system in the form of Atomidine, designed to bring about a better functioning of the glandular system through a cleansing and purifying action.In  and  the Atomidine was given by mouth first and then the Wet Cell Appliance was used thereafter. did not use Atomidine by mouth until much later in her recovery period.Instead she was given the Wet Cell Appliance at the first.
Still another variation is seen where  was given Atomidine by mouth, one drop daily for five days and then off five days; then one drop daily for five days, then off, etc.;at the same time she was to use the Wet Cell Appliance with only gold chloride in the solution jar.At the beginning of her therapy however, she used Atomidine one drop daily for two days, then two drops daily for two days, then three for two days, four, and then five.At the end of this ten-day period she was to stop the Atomidine and then take an Epsom salts bath in 30 gallons of tepid water with 15 pounds of Epsom salts in it for 30 minutes, while massaging the body thoroughly over the lower limbs. Following this, a peanut oil massage was directed from the base of the head downward, especially around the thyroid, then down the spine and particularly over the lower part of the spinal system;the whole of the sacral area and down the limbs both the under side and the over side as Cayce described it.As much oil was to be massaged in as the body would absorb. This procedure was to be repeated once with a slightly warmer bath, and then the Wet Cell was to be begun.
The Wet Cell Battery and its application was part of the therapy in every instance.For  a double charge was suggested, except for the willow charcoal.Thus, her battery was charged with 1 1/2 gallons of distilled water, 3 pounds of copper sulphate, 2 ounces of sulphuric acid, 6 drams of zinc, and 1/2 pound of willow charcoal. Separate solution jars were to be used for the three different substances that were recommended. The gold was suggested for the nerve energies to be supplied; the camphor for healing forces; and the Atomidine for cleansing. Four ounces of each solution was to be used, the Atomidine and spirits of camphor to be used as usually obtained, and the gold chloride to be one grain per ounce of water.The three solutions were to be alternated with the negative electrode attached over the lacteal center, which was described as being three finger breadths to the right and three up from the umbilicus.The positive electrode or the small copper electrode, attached first, was for the gold to be attached at the fourth lumbar vertebra; the spirits of camphor next at the ninth dorsal vertebra; and the Atomidine solution at the second and third dorsal area, which would "aid in governing the assimilative forces from the nerve forces in the body." (2514-1)
The solution jar is always attached to the negative lead.
The diet to be used is always that of an alkaline forming diet with many leafy vegetables as the main portion.Fish, fowl, and lamb are alright, but fried foods should never be used. Vegetable soups and other foods easily assimilated are recommended, vegetables cooked with patapar paper or the equivalent parchment paper which may be purchased in most Health Food stores.Meat should not be cooked with the vegetable soups.Other instructions about diet may be obtained from the A.R.E. booklets, A Normal Diet or A Diet Recipe Guide.
Stimulation to the superficial circulation and the lymphatic circulation of the skin is brought about through massages and fume baths.The massage already described for  is essentially the same as that used in the other cases.Apparently the sacral area, the legs and hips, need more massage than other areas.This may have to do with reflex influences to the glands or to the nerve plexuses in those areas. A witch hazel fume bath (described in 2526-4) which could be done at home, was to be followed with peanut oil and olive oil massage.
Local areas of hardening are treated in various ways. Suggested were castor oil packs over hardened areas every other day over a long period of time for .Ichthyol was to be used over the sore places until the area was cleansed and then cuticura after that. Unguentine was suggested to be massaged in the skin for soreness and pain through the shoulders.These seem to be palliative measures for the most part.
A rather comprehensive therapeutic regime then, would include the Atomidine and the Wet Cell Appliance to work on the glandular system, the nerves, and the bringing into the body those energies needed; a dietary regime and care for the organs of assimilation to provide that which is needed through the alimentary canal; local therapy of the skin through massages and applications such as castor oil; and those other factors such as cleansing of the bowels with enemas, and aiding in more extensive complications of the disease process.it is perhaps of most vital importance to emphasize that persistent, patient, consistent adherence to the applications be maintained.
Do these, as we have indicated.....Not as rote, but knowing that withinself must be found that which may be awakened to the building of that necessaryfor the body, mentally and physically and spiritually, to carry its part in this experience.For the application of any influence must have that which is of thedivine awakening of the activative forces in every atom, every cell of the living body.(726-1)
[Note: The preceding overview was written by William A. McGarey, M.D. and is excerpted from the Physician's Reference Notebook , Copyright © 1968 by the Edgar Cayce Foundation, Virginia Beach, VA.]