THE BODY AS A MACHINE


Tie a string around your finger tight. What will follow? The finger will turn red then it will turn black. In time it will die, and perhaps in consequence you will die too. No treatment, internal or external, material or mental, can save your finger, so long as the string remains. The only thing necessary is the removal of the string. This in a crude way illustrates the principle which is the basis of osteopathy.


SOME MECHANICAL AND TECHNICAL FACTS.

Doctor of Osteopathy.

WHERE all parts of the human body are in line, we have perfect health. When they are not, the effect is disease. When the parts are readjusted disease gives place to health.

A. T. STILL.

THE human body is a machine, similar to a motor car, with a chassis, an engine, a driver, pedal extremities and steering apparatus and it requires fuel to keep it going and it should be examined and treated every six months, in order to be kept in condition and to be safeguarded against physical and mental distresses.

The average man or woman is not aware that he or she ought to be examined regularly for bony displacements and ligamentous thickenings and constrictions, and still less do they realize the great value of mechanical treatment to the machine in safeguarding its structural framework, organs, joints and tissues from injurious stresses and strains. In order to accomplish this it is necessary that the “body line” be preserved.

The body line depends upon gravity. The straight line of gravity should fall through the centre of the head to the centre of the foot. Any deviation of the chest, abdomen or hips from this gravitational line throws a definite strain upon the whole body mechanism, organs are displaced and certain groups of muscles must bear more than their share of tension. For example, if the weight is displaced backward toward the heels, flat feet often are the result.

The spinal column, which should have three graceful lateral curves when seen in silhouette, develops a “sway back” at times or a “hump” at others. This “hump” which is taken to be the natural consequences of middle and old age in men and women is usually not necessary and can be corrected.

The spinal column, when examined from the back, manifests spinal curvatures and or individual vertebral rotations as a result of walking on a short leg, which in turn is responsible for a pelvic twist or tilt. If the pelvis is twisted or tilted, the foundation, or base line, is no longer horizontal and the structures above it must compensate for this altered position.

The spine must assume a new position in relation to the forces of gravity, which are always perpendicular to the earths surface. This gravitational line having to be maintained regardless of the pelvic-position is responsible for distortions and malformations of the body.

A dressmaker or tailor will tell a customer that one hip is high or low, or that one shoulder is lower than the other, but they are unaware that anything can be done to correct this deformity. Health culturists engaged in beautifying the body notice the same thing, but it seldom occurs to them to recommend a specialist in “body line.”

Beauty salons are interested in the texture of the skin and its superficial circulation, but they can do very little for the deeper circulation which has to do with supplying the spinal cord and its nerves which determines the character and appearance of the skin through better ordered organic function which feeds the superficial as well as deeper structures. An effective way of aiding this deeper circulation is by the physiological manipulation of the spine toward the body normal, through a knowledge of the physiological movements of the spine.

If the main supports in a building fail, a strain is immediately placed upon the whole structure. Paint and plaster will drop off where the strain is felt most. The gas and water pipes and the electric light will eventually fail if the strain is great enough. Likewise an alteration in the “body line” weakness the whole body function. If a plant is drooping, a gardener does not squeeze it into a cast, as do some unprogressive specialists when treating spinal curvature, but ties it loosely to an upright support to encourage it to erectness.

Similarly it is no use placing a plaster cast or steel corset on uncomplicated spinal curvature cases, when proper manipulative support is required in preparation for structural adjustment, following which symmetrical exercises should be given to maintain the corrected position.

The systematic and periodic examination and manipulation from the standpoint of mechanics toward the normal avoids stresses and strains. Nature always tends toward the normal. All she asks for is some assistance. She does what she can herself, but if one has a flat foot or a sprained ankle, or a cartilage in the knee which has been inflamed and displaced, forced physio-mechanical changes will appear above the lesion, i.e. displacement, such as a tilted or twisted pelvis, and rotations of vertebrae which force the body out of line.

Ray M. Russell