General Manual Therapy

General Manual Therapy

[NOTE: Various forms of manual therapy (e.g., osteopathy, chiropractic, neuropathy, massage, etc.) were recommended by Edgar Cayce.  Meridian Institute has done extensive research into the historical and conceptual foundations of manual therapy to better understand and apply the therapeutic approach advocated in the Cayce health information.  One of the important distinctions made in the Cayce material and traditional sources is the role of “general” and “specific” treatments.  While specific treatment is well represented in modern manual therapy, general therapy is less well understood.  The information on this page is an example of Meridian Institute’s attempts to research important concepts such as general manual therapy.  The following description of general treatment comes from a book entitled Principles & Techniques of Nerve Regeneration written by David McMillin, M.A., Copyright  © 1995, used with permission, all rights reserved.]

In certain respects, the distinction between general and specific treatments is merely an extension of the concepts of anatomical correction and physiological regulation into a clinical setting.  The practitioner provides specific treatments for specific structural defects.  For regulatory purposes, a general treatment may be useful to put the body through it paces and thereby increase coordination and improve eliminations.

In making therapeutic recommendations, Edgar Cayce often made the distinction between general and specific treatments. In the following excerpt, he recommended a general osteopathic treatment for relaxation:
“Once a week, or once in ten days would be preferable, have an osteopathic relaxation.  This does not mean that there are to be corrections attempted…. This should be a treatment not so much for adjustment as for a thorough, thorough relaxing, each and every segment, each and every muscular force of the body receiving special attention.  Use the limbs or the structural portions as leverage to make muscular reaction.” (3095-1)
Often, Edgar Cayce would recommend both specific and general treatments for the same person.  Sometimes these two types of treatment would be alternated:
“With the corrective forces as will be made through those of adjustments OSTEOPATHICALLY given, and the massage following same – two of the general treatments to one of the [specific] adjustment treatments should be given.  These should be given at least every week, two general, one corrective …”  (53-1)
“We would take, now, about twice each week, the osteopathic manipulations, – a general manipulation at one treatment and a specific adjustment at the next, as has been indicated.” (1844-2)
In other instances, Cayce would recommend that general and specific treatments be combined in the same session:

“After the condition is lessened, begin with deep manipulation, osteopathically given – a general treatment every other day, and the specific treatment in the region of the lower cervical, the upper dorsal and the sacral and lumbar.  These would be given together (the general and the specific treatment), that the whole system may be aroused to better elimination and better relaxation.”  (4999-1)

“We would have at least two treatments osteopathically each week, one of these being an adjustment treatment followed with a general manipulation – the other rather the massage over the whole system, keeping the coordination of nerve impulses from the ganglia in this area of the cerebro-spinal with the cerebro-spinal ganglia in the locomotory areas and the sympathetic areas.”  (3722-1)
The osteopaths of Cayce’s era were also well aware of the distinction between general and specific treatments.  Some practitioners focused mainly on specific treatment following A. T. Still’s admonition of “Find it, fix it and leave it alone” (in Brantingham, 1986).  Other early osteopaths were inclined to use general treatments as a regular part of their practice (e.g., Goetz, 1909; Riggs, 1901; Barber, 1898; Murray, 1925)….

The significance of the general treatment is that it provides a simple format for regulatory techniques such as coordination and drainages.  By its very nature, a general treatment will improve circulation which is a prerequisite for drainages.  Because the general treatment tends to stimulate all the nerve centers, it also has a coordinating effect that is lacking if only a specific adjustment is made.

Yet, the osteopathic literature contains certain reservations against general treatment.  The primary concern is that general treatment may lapse “into routinism, to be followed by carelessness or slipshod methods”  (McConnell, 1932, in Jordan, 1994, p. 58).  However, like the Cayce readings, McConnell does see a valid role for general adjustment when it is precisely and intelligently performed in conjunction with specific corrective adjustment….

Thus it is the careful integration of specific adjustment and general coordinating/integrating treatment that is the highest achievement of the osteopathic profession….


Barber, E. D.  (1898).  Osteopathy Complete.  Kansas City, MO: Press of Hudson-Kimberly  Publishing Co.

Brantingham, J. W.  (1986).  Still and Palmer: The impact of the first osteopath and the first  chiropractor.  Chiropractic History, 6, 19-22.

Goetz, E. W.  (1909).  A Manual of Osteopathy (With the Application of Physical Culture, Baths and Diet). Cincinnati, Ohio: Nature’s Cure Company.
McConnell, C. P.  (1932).  Soft tisse technic integration. Journal of the American Osteopathic Association, April, 1932. In T. Jordan (Ed.), Selected Writings of Carl Philip McConnell, D.O., (1994), Columbus, Ohio: Squirrel’s Tail Press.

Murray, C. H.  (1925).  Practice of Osteopathy: Its Practical Application To The Various Diseases Of The Human Body. (Sixth Edition).  Elgin, Illinois: Charles H. Murray.
Riggs, W. L.  (1901).  A Manual of Osteopathic Manipulations and Treatment.  Elkhart, Indiana: New Science Publishing Company.