NATURAL THERAPY AND THE FAST
AS ELSEWHERE expressed the fast in itself is primarily an eliminative agency, a process of purification, and therefore it must be regarded, not as the actual restorative, curative power, but as a means to this end. Ability to recover from disease, cure itself, resides within the individual organism, the fast, together with its accessories, permitting, and at times even compelling, gathered body impurity to be eliminated through the various natural, normal channels of evacuation. It prepares and furnishes a restored and renovated foundation upon which a new and healthy physical structure may be re-erected.
The accessories utilized in fasting have been in greater part explained and elaborated. But one important auxiliary agency that is daily brought into play during the regimen imposed is that of body manipulation, including adjustment and correction of bony lesions, be the latter located in the spinal column or elsewhere. In this connection two distinct schools of healing have arisen within comparatively recent time, those of Osteopathy and of Chiropractic.
Osteopathy, the theory of which was first propounded by Dr. A. T. Still in 1874, is defined as "that science or system of healing which treats disease of the human body by manual therapeutics for the stimulation of the remedial forces within the body itself, for the correction of misplaced tissue, and for the removal of obstructions or interferences with the fluids of the body, all without the internal administration of drugs or medicine." It may perhaps serve to make this definition more lucid if Dr. Still's own interpretation of his discovery is added. It is this:-- "Osteopathy deals with the body as an intricate machine, which, if kept in proper adjustment, nourished and cared for, will run smoothly into ripe old age. When every part of the machine is adjusted and in perfect harmony, health will hold dominion over the human organism by laws as natural and immutable as are the laws of gravitation. Every living organism has within it the power to manufacture and prepare all chemicals, materials, and forces needed to build and rebuild itself, together with all of the machinery and apparatus required to do the work in the most perfect manner, producing the only substances that can be utilized in the economy of the individual. No material other than food and water taken in satisfaction of the demands of the appetite can be introduced without detriment."
The name, Osteopathy, derived as it is from two Greek words, osteon, a bone, and pathos, suffering, is not such a misnomer as at first might appear. The osteopathic theory, it is seen, is based on the belief that disease is caused by some part of the human mechanism being out of proper adjustment, as in the ease of misplaced bone, cartilage or ligament, adhesions or contractions of muscle, any one of which results in unnatural pressure on, or obstruction to, nerve, blood, or lymph. Osteopathy, then, through the agency or use of the bones, especially the long ones which are employed as levers, seeks to adjust the misplaced parts. It pays attention to all portions of the organism, but it devotes much of its work to the spinal column, which, owing to its complex structure, is liable to several forms of sub-dislocation, depending upon the region in which they may occur. The most common of these is that of rotation followed by forward or backward displacement of a single vertebra. Compensation always succeeds these changes so that the disturbance is communicated to the vertebrae above or below, thus forming a group. These lesions and others are detected by the touch and are verified by tenderness of the surrounding parts.
Chiropractic is defined as "a system of therapeutic treatment for disease through the adjustment of the articulations of the human body, particularly those of the spine, with the object of relieving pressure or tension upon nerve filaments." As in osteopathy, the operations necessary are performed with the hands, no drugs being administered.
There is no doubt that mobility of the spinal column is of first importance, for in health there is motion between adjacent vertebrae. Lack of movement may be caused by muscular tension, by stretching of ligaments, or by a union of the parts because of bony deposit. Following any of these conditions, both osteopathy and chiropractic hold, are functional or organic disturbances, acute becoming chronic. Nerves are pinched or impinged, and, as circulation of blood to an organ depends upon its nerve control, organic mechanism is interfered with, and disease results.
That these two schools are closely related in theory is evident. But each falls short of its greatest possibilities when offered as a sole agency for the relief of human ills. Osteopathy has begun to recognize this fundamental fallacy in principle, but in doing so, it has to a degree departed from the vision of its founder, a departure which, in the opinion of the author, is vital error. At the time this is written osteopathy is leaning backward towards that profession which Dr. Still repudiated a half century ago, and only its leading members can save it from amalgamation with the dominant cult, a union which will surely prove its annihilation. Already in the osteopathic curriculum there have been introduced materia medica, pharmacology, and minor surgery, with side journeys into bacteriology. The official magazines of the profession now carry articles on subjects which, if not strictly medical in tone, are in essence applications of medical theory, as witness in a recent number of one of their journals a dissertation upon colonic therapy with the recommendation that strong cultures of certain bacteria be introduced into the bowel to combat other so-called pathological bacteria. And why should osteopathy concern itself, as it does in the same columns, with the use of insulin in the treatment of diabetes?
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