This section is from the "Nature Cure: Philosophy and Practice Based on the Unity of Disease and Cure" book, by Henry Lindlahr.
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.