Nature Cure: Chapter 32

Chapter XXXII
Manipulative Treatment

Massage has very much the same effects upon the system as the cold-water treatment. It accelerates the circulation, draws the blood into the surface, relaxes and opens the pores of the skin, promotes the elimination of morbid matter and increases and stimulates the electromagnetic energies in the body.

  We have learned that one of the primary causes of chronic disease is the accumulation of waste matter and systemic poisons in the tissues of the body. These morbid encumbrances clog the capillaries, thus obstructing the circulation and interfering with or preventing the normal activity of the organs of elimination, especially the skin.

  The deep-going massage, the squeezing, kneading, rolling and stroking, actually squeezes the stagnant blood and the morbid accumulations out of the tissues into the venous circulation, speeds the venous blood, charged with waste products and poisons, on its way to the lungs and enables the arterial blood with its freight of oxygen and nourishing elements to flow more freely into the less-obstructed tissues and organs.

  Through manipulation of the fleshy tissues, the blood is drawn to the surface of the body and in that way the elimination of morbid matter through the relaxed and opened pores of the skin is greatly facilitated.

  Very important are the electromagnetic effects of good massage upon the system. The positive magnetism of the operator will stir up and intensify the latent electromagnetic energies in the body of the patient, very much like a piece of iron or steel is magnetized by rubbing it with a horseshoe magnet. The more normal and positive, morally and mentally as well as physically, the operator, the more marked will be the good effects of the treatment upon the weak and negative patient.

Magnetic Treatment

  The beneficial effect of magnetic treatment is not so much due to the actual transmission of vital force from operator to patient as to the arousing and stimulating of the latent, inactive electromagnetic energies of the latter, the polarizing of his magnetic forces.

  The horseshoe magnet does not impart its own magnetism to the piece of iron which is rubbed with it, but the electromagnetic energies in the magnet arouse to vibratory activity the latent electromagnetic energies in the iron. This is proved by the fact that both magnet and iron will remain magnetic as long as they are used for magnetizing other substances, but through disuse both will lose their magnetic qualities.

  I am often asked by my operators and others: "How can I best develop my magnetism?" and "Is there danger of losing my vitality and becoming 'negative' by treating the sick in this way?" It is true that manipulative work, like everything else, can be overdone and produce harmful effects upon the operator. But within reasonable limits, massage and magnetic treatments will not deplete the person giving them, providing he keeps his system in good condition. His own vibrations must be harmonious on all planes of being, the physical, mental, moral and spiritual. He must be inspired and actuated by the faith that he CAN heal, by the positive will to heal, and by sympathy for the one he is trying to benefit.

  Such an operator makes himself the instrument for the transmission of life force, which is healing force, from the Source of all life. "As he gives, so he receives"; for this is the basic law of the universe, the Law of Compensation. If he gives the treatments in the right spirit, he will gain vital force instead of losing it. He will actually feel his own intensified life vibrations and after treating he will experience a feeling of buoyancy and elation which nothing else can impart to him. "He who loses his life shall find it."

  Like a musician who tunes up (puts in harmonious vibration) the relaxed strings of his instrument, so the magnetic healer tunes up and harmonizes the weakened and discordant vibrations of his patient.

Good massage will produce electromagnetic effects even though the operator is not aware of it and does not understand the underlying laws; but his work will gain in power and effectiveness in direct proportion to the conscious efforts he makes to benefit his patients by the influence of these higher and finer forces.

  I have frequently noticed in my own manipulative work how much the conscious and concentrated effort of the will has to do with its effectiveness. Often, when I had given the usual massage or osteopathic treatment and the patient still complained of pain in a certain locality of the body, I would lay my hands on the affected area and concentrate my will upon dissolving the congestion in that particular part or organ and upon harmonizing its discordant vibrations. Very shortly, usually within a few minutes, the congestion would be relieved and the pain would subside.

  The electromagnetic energies of the organism can be controlled by the will and either concentrated to or sent away from any part of the body, just as the circulation of the blood can be controlled. The latter I saw done by a hypnotist who made the blood flow into and out of the arms and hands of one of his subjects simply by the power of his will.
  While this was accomplished by means of a destructive process, it taught me a most valuable lesson regarding the power of the will to control physical conditions.

  Try it yourself. Next time when you have one of your annoying headaches, recline comfortably in a chair or on a couch, relax completely and then Will the blood to flow away from the brain in order to relieve the congestion and the attendant pain. Many of my patients have learned to treat themselves successfully in this way.

  It is obvious that magnetic treatment will not remove pain permanently if the latter is due to irritation caused by a subluxated bone or by some foreign body or by local accumulation of morbid matter and poisons in any part or organ. In all such cases the local cause of the irritation must be removed before the pain can subside or disappear. 

Spinal Manipulation and Adjustment History

  In many European countries "bonesetters" have, in a crude way, been treating strains and sprains of the spinal column since time immemorial. These bonesetters usually belong to the peasantry and the art has been transmitted in the same families from father to son for many generations.

  Incidentally, these simple people observed that their treatment relieved not only sprained, tired and painful backs--the result primarily aimed at--but frequently exerted a favorable influence upon disease processes in remote organs and parts. This empirical discovery has gradually led to a wider application of this method of treatment.

  The various modern systems of spinal manipulation, namely, osteopathy, chiropractic, naprapathy, neuropathy, spondylotherapy and our own neurotherapy, are all of distinctly American origin.

  During the last quarter century millions of Americans through personal experience have become staunch adherents to one or more of these systems of treatment. This fact has been instrumental in directing the attention of numerous sincere and scientific investigators to the spinal column with its associated structures as a mechanism through which to apply therapeutic measures. It therefore behooves every health seeker to acquaint himself with the theories and claims of these various systems of manipulative treatment.


  The autobiography of Dr. A. T. Still contains the following interesting statement:

  "In the year 1874 I proclaimed that a disturbed artery marked the beginning to an hour and a minute when disease began to sow its seeds of destruction in the human body. That in no case could it be done without a broken or suspended current of arterial blood, which by Nature was intended to supply and nourish all nerves, ligaments, muscles, skin, bones and the artery itself. … The rule of the artery must be absolute, universal and unobstructed or disease will be the result. I proclaimed then and there that all nerves depend wholly on the arterial system for their qualities such as sensation, nutrition and motion, even though by the law of reciprocity they furnish force, nutrition and motion to the artery itself."

  It may be argued that as early as 1805 the Ling System of Swedish Movement was founded on the same principle, namely, "permanent health through perfect circulation." The evidence at hand, however, strongly suggests that the founder of osteopathy arrived at his conclusions independently.

  The further claims of Dr. Still as to the cause and cure of disease are briefly as follows: Partial displacements of any of the various bones of the body exert pressure on neighboring blood vessels, thereby interfering with the circulation to the corresponding organs. These displacements, called "bony lesions," are best "reduced" by manipulations called osteopathic "moves."


  In 1895, Dr. D. D. Palmer put forth the following claims as to the cause and cure of diseases: Sprains of the spine result in partial displacement of one or more of the vertebrae which go to make up the spinal column, thus exerting pressure on the neighboring nerves. This shuts off the vitality of the organs supplied by the affected nerves, hence disease results. These displacements, called "vertebral subluxations," are best "adjusted" by means of manipulations in the form of chiropractic "thrusts."

  As soon as osteopathy and chiropractic were properly established, the more broad-minded exponents of both systems began mutual investigation and amalgamation. As a result, we find that only seven years after the birth of chiropractic, osteopathic literature began to mention vertebral subluxations as pressing on nerves, thereby causing disease. On the other hand, advanced chiropractors soon began to realize the importance of relaxing tense muscles prior to delivering their thrusts. They also began to pay attention to the bony lesions other than those occurring in the spine. Many of the chiropractic principles and much of its technique of today has been gleaned from osteopathy, while the reverse statement holds equally true.


  The "connective tissue doctrine of disease" was first proclaimed by Dr. Oakley Smith in 1907. It may be briefly stated as follows: A vertebra does not become misplaced without being fractured or completely dislocated. What is called a bony lesion by the osteopath and a subluxation by the chiropractor, is in reality a "ligatight," that is, a shrunken condition of the connective tissue forming the various ligaments that bind the vertebrae together.

  Ligatights are best "corrected" by means of naprapathic "directos." These differ from chiropractic thrusts in that they aim not at adjusting subluxated vertebrae but at stretching definite strands of shrunken connective tissue. Ligatights occur not only in the spine but also in other parts of the body.


  This system of manipulative treatment was originated in 1899 by Drs. John Arnold and Harry Walter of Philadelphia. Their claims may be briefly stated as follows: Morbid matter, poisons and irritants of various kinds, acting upon the vasomotor nerves which control the blood vessels, produce abnormal changes in circulation which, if perpetuated, finally lead to disease manifestations. The nerve impulses coming from diseased parts travel to the spinal cord and, like all other nerve impulses, are transmitted along those branches of the spinal nerves which supply the structures (muscles, blood vessels, etc.) along each side of the spine. Here these impulses bring about abnormal circulatory changes similar to those found in the diseased organs or parts.

  Since nerve impulses are transmitted from diseased organs to the spine, it is evident that they can be made to travel also in the reverse direction. Neuropathic treatment, therefore, consists of manipulations and thermal applications which aim at correcting the abnormal circulatory changes as found in the spine, thereby correcting corresponding abnormal processes in the organs or parts supplied by the nerves coming from that region of the spine.

  These men also emphasized the fact that the circulation within the blood vessels, being propelled by the heart, needs less attention during disease than the circulation of the fluids in the spaces between the cells and through the lymph vessels and glands. Neuropathy, therefore, also lays great stress on applying manipulation and thermal applications to the lymphatic system.


  While the exponents of the above systems of spinal manipulation differ widely in their theories as to the cause of disease and the means of removing such cause, their methods of treatment furnish considerable evidence of satisfactory results. This seems to suggest that there must be some real value in each system and that a great deal of the difference between these apparently opposed methods of treatment lies in the claims of their exponents. It will be shown presently that, in their final analysis, the osteopathic spinal lesion, the chiropractic subluxation and the naprapathic ligatight represent one and the same thing.

  Natural Therapeutics is broad enough to embrace all methods of treatment, no matter what their source, provided they harmonize with the fundamental laws of cure.

  Gradually, therefore, after having gathered the constructive elements from all the various methods of manipulation, after considerable spinal dissection and, above all, after close observation of the results obtained in hundreds of obstinate acute and chronic cases, we of the School of Natural Therapeutics have evolved our own system of spinal manipulation and have named it neurotherapy.

The Relation of Neurotherapy to
Other Manipulative Systems

  Osteopathy, chiropractic, naprapathy, neurotherapy and spondylotherapy, as we have learned, are various systems of maipulative treatment which have been devised mainly to correct spinal and other bony lesions, shrinkage and contracture of muscles, ligaments and other connective tissues.

  Important as these methods are in the treatment of acute and chronic diseases, by themselves they are not all-sufficient because they deal only with the mechanical causes of disease, not with the chemical, thermal or with the mental and psychical. The most efficient spinal treatment cannot make good for the bad effects of an unbalanced diet which contains an excessive amount of poison-producing materials and is deficient in the all-important mineral elements or organic salts. Just as surely as mental therapeutics and a natural diet cannot correct bony lesions produced by external violence, just so surely is it impossible to cure dementia praecox, monomania or obsession, or to supply iron, lime, sodium, etc., to the system by correcting spinal lesions.

  The trouble with the manipulative schools and their graduates is that they adhere too closely to the mechanical theory and treatment of disease; that they reject practically all natural methods of treatment aside from manipulative and that so far as the osteopathic school is concerned its practitioners show a strong tendency to fall back upon the "Old School" methods of drugging and of surgical treatment. This is due to the fact that in many types of diseases manipulative treatment by itself has proved insufficient to produce satisfactory results.

  In order to do justice to our patients and not neglect our responsibilities toward them we must use in the treatment of disease all that is good in all the natural methods of healing. In serious chronic cases any single one of these methods, whether it be pure food diet, hydrotherapy, massage, spinal treatment, mental therapeutics or homeopathy, is not by itself sufficient to achieve satisfactory results or to produce them fast enough.

  To use an illustration: Suppose a wagon full of freight requires the combined strength of six horses to move it and suppose that number of horses is available, would it not be foolish to try to move the load with one, two, three, four or even five horses? Would not common sense suggest the saving of time and effort by putting all six horses to work at once?

  In Natural Therapeutics every one of the various methods of treatment is supplemented and assisted by all the others.

  The manipulative schools of healing maintain that practically all disease is caused by mechanical abnormalities of the spinal column or of muscles, ligaments and other connective tissues, due to abnormal strain or injury. The philosophy of Natural Therapeutics, on the other hand, points out that a large percentage of such spinal and other mechanical lesions are secondary manifestations of disease, not primary causes; that acute or subacute inflammatory conditions in the interior of the body may cause nervous irritation and thereby contraction of muscles and ligaments and, as a result of these, subluxations of vertebrae or of other bony structures.

  The naprapathic theory of disease postulates that it is the shrinkage and contraction of the connective tissues, which serve as a support and protection for the nerve matter contained in the nerve trunks and filaments, that cause interference with the normal nerve supply of cells and tissues and thereby abnormal function and disease.

  The philosophy of Natural Therapeutics points to the fact that this shrinkage and contraction of the connective tissues surrounding and permeating the nerve trunks and filaments is caused by certain acids and other pathogenic materials which are produced by faulty diet and defective elimination and that the same causes produce accumulation of waste and morbid matter in the tissues of the body which, all through the system, interfere just as effectually with nutrition, drainage and innervation of the cells and tissue as do spinal lesions and ligatights.

  While the other systems of manipulative treatment confine themselves almost entirely to the correction of bony and other connective tissue lesions, to "pressing the button," as it is called, neurotherapy, besides this, aims at other very important results.

  In disease the tissues are either in an abnormally tense and contracted or in a weak, relaxed condition. The functional activities are either hyperactive as in acute inflammation, or sluggish and inactive as in chronic atonic and atrophic conditions. These extremes can be powerfully influenced and equalized by manipulative inhibition, relaxation or stimulation.

  During an acute attack of gastritis, for instance, the neurotherapist would exert strong inhibition on the nerves which supply the stomach. This is accomplished by deep and persistent pressure on the nerves where they emerge from the spinal openings (foramina). This diminishes the rush of blood and nerve currents to the inflamed organ and thereby eases but does not suppress the inflammatory process and the attending congestion and pain.

  In case of extreme tension in any part of the system, relaxation of the shrunken tissues can be brought about by gentle but persistent stretching of the nerves and adjacent muscles and ligaments, in a manner similar to that of the naprapathic directos.

  When the vital organs and their functions are weak and inactive or when nerves, muscles, ligaments and other connective tissues are in a relaxed, atonic or atrophic condition, certain stimulating movements applied to the nerves where they emerge from the spinal column will energize the vital functions all through the system.

  Many patients imagine that such manipulative treatment is superficial. To them it is just "rubbing" and seems all alike. They do not realize that manipulative stimulation applied to the nerves near the surface of the body travels all along their branches and filaments like electricity along a complicated system of copper wires and thus reaches the innermost cells and organs of the body, making them more alive and active. This internal stimulation of vital activities is attained also by good massage through energizing the nerve endings all over the surface of the body.

The Fundamental Difference Between Neuratherapy
and Other Manipulative Systems

  The following paragraphs will explain the fundamental difference between neurotherapy and the older systems of manipulative treatment. The older systems, the same as the allopathic school of medicine, look upon acute diseases as destructive processes dangerous to health and life; therefore they endeavor to check or suppress them as quickly as possible by their various methods.

  Neurotherapy so far is the only system of manipulative treatment that bases its work on the fundamental laws of Natural Therapeutics. According to these laws every acute disease is the result of a purifying, healing effort of Nature. Therefore neurotherapy would not suppress acute processes by manipulative treatment any more than by drugs, ice, antitoxins, surgery or any other suppressive method.

  To illustrate: Supposing that spontaneously or as a result of natural living and treatment a patient suffering from chronic constipation, indigestion, etc., develops a vigorous purging, which we of the Nature Cure school would consider a splendid healing crisis. Under allopathic as well as under the treatment of other manipulative schools such an acute reaction would be immediately suppressed. This can be accomplished very easily by a few manipulative moves, but it would mean the suppression of a purifying healing crisis and this would result in throwing the patient back into his old chronic condition. The underlying causes of disease must be removed before we can cure chronic disease and bring about a normal condition of the organism.

  Suppose manipulative treatment should succeed in stopping a fever instantaneously. This would suppress Nature's purifying, regenerating efforts, the patient would continue to "load up" more morbid materials (especially since these schools do not teach the importance of natural living) and it would only be a matter of time until the morbid accumulations in the body would excite new acute reactions, necessitating more adjustments. This may be all right for the practitioner; but what about the patient? In the long run it can only have one result, and that is chronic disease.

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