In 1895, Dr. D. D. Palmer put forth the following claims as
to the cause and cure of diseases: Sprains of the spine result
in partial displacement of one or more of the vertebrae which
go to make up the spinal column, thus exerting pressure on the
neighboring nerves. This shuts off the vitality of the organs
supplied by the affected nerves, hence disease results. These
displacements, called "vertebral subluxations," are
best "adjusted" by means of manipulations in the form
of chiropractic "thrusts."
As soon as osteopathy and chiropractic were properly established,
the more broad-minded exponents of both systems began mutual
investigation and amalgamation. As a result, we find that only
seven years after the birth of chiropractic, osteopathic literature
began to mention vertebral subluxations as pressing on nerves,
thereby causing disease. On the other hand, advanced chiropractors
soon began to realize the importance of relaxing tense muscles
prior to delivering their thrusts. They also began to pay attention
to the bony lesions other than those occurring in the spine.
Many of the chiropractic principles and much of its technique
of today has been gleaned from osteopathy, while the reverse
statement holds equally true.
The "connective tissue doctrine of disease" was first
proclaimed by Dr. Oakley Smith in 1907. It may be briefly stated
as follows: A vertebra does not become misplaced without being
fractured or completely dislocated. What is called a bony lesion
by the osteopath and a subluxation by the chiropractor, is in
reality a "ligatight," that is, a shrunken condition
of the connective tissue forming the various ligaments that
bind the vertebrae together.
Ligatights are best "corrected" by means of naprapathic
"directos." These differ from chiropractic thrusts
in that they aim not at adjusting subluxated vertebrae but at
stretching definite strands of shrunken connective tissue. Ligatights
occur not only in the spine but also in other parts of the body.
This system of manipulative treatment was originated in 1899
by Drs. John Arnold and Harry Walter of Philadelphia. Their
claims may be briefly stated as follows: Morbid matter, poisons
and irritants of various kinds, acting upon the vasomotor nerves
which control the blood vessels, produce abnormal changes in
circulation which, if perpetuated, finally lead to disease manifestations.
The nerve impulses coming from diseased parts travel to the
spinal cord and, like all other nerve impulses, are transmitted
along those branches of the spinal nerves which supply the structures
(muscles, blood vessels, etc.) along each side of the spine.
Here these impulses bring about abnormal circulatory changes
similar to those found in the diseased organs or parts.
Since nerve impulses are transmitted from diseased organs to
the spine, it is evident that they can be made to travel also
in the reverse direction. Neuropathic treatment, therefore,
consists of manipulations and thermal applications which aim
at correcting the abnormal circulatory changes as found in the
spine, thereby correcting corresponding abnormal processes in
the organs or parts supplied by the nerves coming from that
region of the spine.
These men also emphasized the fact that the circulation within
the blood vessels, being propelled by the heart, needs less
attention during disease than the circulation of the fluids
in the spaces between the cells and through the lymph vessels
and glands. Neuropathy, therefore, also lays great stress on
applying manipulation and thermal applications to the lymphatic
While the exponents of the above systems of spinal manipulation
differ widely in their theories as to the cause of disease and
the means of removing such cause, their methods of treatment
furnish considerable evidence of satisfactory results. This
seems to suggest that there must be some real value in each
system and that a great deal of the difference between these
apparently opposed methods of treatment lies in the claims of
their exponents. It will be shown presently that, in their final
analysis, the osteopathic spinal lesion, the chiropractic subluxation
and the naprapathic ligatight represent one and the same thing.
Natural Therapeutics is broad enough to embrace all methods
of treatment, no matter what their source, provided they harmonize
with the fundamental laws of cure.
Gradually, therefore, after having gathered the constructive
elements from all the various methods of manipulation,
after considerable spinal dissection and, above all, after close
observation of the results obtained in hundreds of obstinate
acute and chronic cases, we of the School of Natural Therapeutics
have evolved our own system of spinal manipulation and have
named it neurotherapy.
The Relation of Neurotherapy to
Other Manipulative Systems
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
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?
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.
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
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.
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.
The Fundamental Difference Between Neuratherapy
and Other Manipulative Systems
The following paragraphs will explain the fundamental difference
between neurotherapy and the older systems of manipulative treatment.
The older systems, the same as the allopathic school of medicine,
look upon acute diseases as destructive processes dangerous
to health and life; therefore they endeavor to check or suppress
them as quickly as possible by their various methods.
Neurotherapy so far is the only system of manipulative treatment
that bases its work on the fundamental laws of Natural Therapeutics.
According to these laws every acute disease is the result of
a purifying, healing effort of Nature. Therefore neurotherapy
would not suppress acute processes by manipulative treatment
any more than by drugs, ice, antitoxins, surgery or any other
To illustrate: Supposing that spontaneously or as a result of
natural living and treatment a patient suffering from chronic
constipation, indigestion, etc., develops a vigorous purging,
which we of the Nature Cure school would consider a splendid
healing crisis. Under allopathic as well as under the treatment
of other manipulative schools such an acute reaction would be
immediately suppressed. This can be accomplished very easily
by a few manipulative moves, but it would mean the suppression
of a purifying healing crisis and this would result in throwing
the patient back into his old chronic condition. The underlying
causes of disease must be removed before we can cure chronic
disease and bring about a normal condition of the organism.
Suppose manipulative treatment should succeed in stopping a
fever instantaneously. This would suppress Nature's purifying,
regenerating efforts, the patient would continue to "load
up" more morbid materials (especially since these schools
do not teach the importance of natural living) and it would
only be a matter of time until the morbid accumulations in the
body would excite new acute reactions, necessitating more adjustments.
This may be all right for the practitioner; but what about the
patient? In the long run it can only have one result, and that
is chronic disease.