This section of the book is from the "Handbook of Nature Cure Volume One: Nature Cure vs. Medical Science" book, by John L. Fielder.
Under this heading we can group all of the mechanical treatments, those which study and treat the body as a mechanical contrivance. The philosophy behind all of these treatments can be stated as "A place for everything. Everything in its place". They all strive to produce normality of the body structure. The best known are Osteopathy and Chiropractic. They commenced as entirely separate and distinct systems. Today, they have overlapped to such an extent that chiropractic schools teach many osteopathic movements, while osteopathic schools teach almost all of the chiropractic methods.
Chiropractic formerly concentrated its efforts on the examination and adjustments of the bony joints of the body, paying particular attention to the spine. Chiropractors now use hydrotherapy, electrotherapy, vitamins and many other adjuncts.
Osteopaths originally depended solely on manipulation of the soft tissues and bony structure, and declared that there was no room for anything else. Osteopaths today use chiropractic adjustments, dietetics, food supplements, massage, electrotherapy and several other methods. American osteopaths even use drugs and surgery.
Osteopaths claim that the osteopathic lesion is the main cause of ill-health. This is defined as a tissue-change in any part of the body which impedes nutrition, drainage and flow of nerve-force, blood and lymph.
Chiropractors claim that an impingement of a nerve by a slightly misplaced or abnormally fixed vertebra or joint (called a subluxation) can cause an excess or shortage of nerve-force and thus act as a cause of disease.
The osteopath uses a series of actions which he calls osteopathic movements. These are leverages on the bony structure and manipulation of the soft tissues. The chiropractor uses a quick recoil thrust against a maladjusted vertebra or joint and calls this an adjustment.
Unfortunately, much mumbo-jumbo has surrounded Osteopathy and Chiropractic. Exaggerated claims have been made for them and they have been grossly misused.
These manipulations are not always necessary. If there is no appreciable mechanical disability they are not needed. However, if there is interference with the normal flow of blood, lymph and nerve-force, it is wise to adjust these abnormalities. Many thousands of people have recovered their health without manipulation, which proves that in some cases it is unnecessary. Manipulation should only be used when needed.
When spinal discs are thinned or crushed, spinal traction is very beneficial.