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.

The body can only compensate for the trouble by creating a single spinal curvature or a series of small spinal curvatures or there will be rotations of individual vertebrae first to one side then to the other along the complete length of the spine.

Vertebrae have muscles attached to them which naturally are strained and become congested opposite the level where the vertebral rotation takes place. The blood in them becomes more or less stagnant and tends toward an acid reaction, an abundance of acid (sarcolactic acid) collects in these muscles. This acid is a product of fatigue and the nerve endings in the muscles are irritated.

For example, if the strain is long continued opposite the stomach area, the irritated somatovisceral nerve reflexes (nerve paths from the spinal cord to the digestive organs) induce a craving for sour foods, bitter foods, alcohol in excess, etc. because the nerve and blood supply of the stomach are interfered with, and the secretions are disturbed and blanched areas, i.e. bloodless areas, in the stomach also occur and make it possible for the increased acidity always present in the stomach to attack the low resistant stomach tissue area (in the same way that lemon juice attacks an ulcer or open wound) and this later may cause ulcers of the stomach and the duodenum and eventually cancer.

Hot baths, warm clothing, proper exercises relax these muscles otherwise there would be more serious and more widespread stomach trouble than exists at present. As in lumbago, the vertebra or vertebrae must be replaced to complete the cure, for quite apart from the spinal nerve reflexes sagging of the stomach will result if posture and muscle tone are not corrected.

If the rotations of the vertebrae have upset the area of the liver or spleen, pancreas, lungs, small or large bowel, or reproductive organs, changes may be expected in these organs. Although the changes may be small it must be remembered that all cancers and other pathological states have their small beginnings, but unfortunately the unprogressive practitioner only looks for, and recognizes, “gross” pathological changes.

If vertebral rotations occur at the base of the skull and impede the circulation to the brain itself, headaches, slow thinking, mental disturbances, and even insanity may result, as shown by the results of treatments given at Osteopathic Sanitariums for Nervous and Mental Diseases. See the British Osteopathic Review, November 1934, for my case of a deaf and dumb and partially blind youth, aged 22, who was cured by three adjustments of the vertebrae of the neck.

If one is too old or too crippled, or too bed ridden to take exercise, either temporarily or permanently, passive exercises in the way of manipulation must be supplied, for activity is life and passivity is death. It must be borne in mind, however, that when one exercises under normal conditions, bones move and articulations are exercised through active joint motion, so that it cannot logically be expected that the massage of muscles alone is any substitute for manipulation and passive movements of joints in their normal range of motion. Only youths are able to take sufficient exercise to secure motion in all of the joints of the body.

Adjustive treatment and passive exercises by a qualified osteopath thoroughly trained in body mechanics, whose architects eye permits him to know the proper silhouette and “body line”, according to size of bones, weight and the patients hereditary background, is indicated for those who wish to keep it.

The man or woman who realizes the necessity of keeping fit should remember that preventive medicine is more important than waiting until the advent of physical disabilities, and then expecting some magician or some magic fluid in a bottle to put him or her right again.

The natural immunity to disease acquired by this treatment through normalizing the nerve and blood supply to organs, tissues, the spinal cord and the brain is of course more favourable to longevity than the use of strong drugs and serums which often force reactions by insulting the bodys chemical laboratory, and the instinctive sense of balance which exists in the inter-relation and interdependence of the glandular and digestive systems and their functions.

The ability to resist disease or immunity is admitted by physicians of all schools to be the most potent factor in “good health”. Resistance to disease or immunity is the result which this mechanical treatment gives by preserving the “body-line” which suspends organs in their natural positions and permits normal organic and glandular function.

I would now quote some of the opinions of the founder of Osteopathy, Dr. A.T. Still, and of a few of his followers, relating to life, health and disease:.

“Man, the most complex, intricate and delicately constructed machine of all creation, is the one with whom the osteopath must become familiar.”- A.T. STILL.

“Osteopathy is the practical knowledge of how man is made and how to right him when he gets wrong.”- A.T. STILL.

“The osteopaths business is to know the plumbing of the house of life.”- A.T. STILL.

“Stills studies of the spinal mechanism led him to the conviction that virtual all so-called diseases, pains, symptoms and so on, were indirectly caused by these spinal lesions.”- M.A. LANE, B.Sc.

“In osteopathy not only was there an evolution but there was a revolution. Every system of treatment previously developed had been designed primarily to combat effects. Dr. Stills great work lies in the determination of cause, and through a knowledge of that cause, the application of an effective treatment.”-G. D. HULETT, B.S., D.O.

“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. This principle is that anything which interferes with blood currents or with nerve impulses must be overcome in order to secure health of the part affected.”- E. M. DOWNING, D.O.

“The osteopath knows the various nerve-centres and how to treat them, in order that the vaso-motor nerves can act upon the blood vessels, bringing about in a physiological manner a normal heart action and freeing the channels to and from the heart. The osteopath deals always with causes, has no rules of actions as such, but applies reason to each case according to the conditions presented, treating no two cases quite alike, he knows from past experience that the effect seen is produced by a cause with which he must deal in order to give relief”.

Ray M. Russell