[NOTE: The following selection comes from "The Treatment of Depression"
by David McMillin. Copyright © 1991 by David McMillin.
Used with permission. All rights reserved. "The Treatment of
Depression" is currently available from A.R.E. Press in Virginia Beach,
Now as we find, in considering the particular
disturbances which exist with this body - and these with the view of bringing
normalcy and a revivifying of purposes, desires or ambitions - the body
WHOLE must be taken into consideration; that is, the physical, the mental,
and the spiritual attributes of the body.
For while each of the phases of the body-development
is met within its own environ or phase, there are experiences which arise
within a body - as we find within this body - when all of these must be
considered as they coordinate or cooperate one with another. And
as is then to be understood, these MUST coordinate and cooperate - body,
mind, soul - if there is to be the best reaction in the physical, mental
or spiritual. (1189-2)
This excerpt exemplifies the holistic therapeutic
model advocated in the Cayce readings on depression.  was experiencing
depression as a result of an "exceeding upset in the ideals of the body-mind".
Even though the etiology in this case was primarily of a mental/spiritual
nature, the readings for this woman insisted that the physical disturbances
produced by these "disappointments" must also be addressed (see the treatment
plan in Chapter 3).
The holistic approach advocated in the readings sought
to treat depression by establishing health. The last sentence from
the introductory quote provides a definition of health which is the goal
of the therapeutic process - the coordination and cooperation of body,
mind and soul.
As an illustration of what holism is about, imagine
that a person is feeling depressed and seeks professional help. If
this person were to see a family physician or psychiatrist, there is a
very high probability that a somatic therapy such as anti-depressant medication
would be prescribed. Generally speaking, the physical dimension of
the condition would be emphasized. Physical disorders such as thyroid
and adrenal disease would be ruled out.
On the other hand, if this depressed person seeks
help through psychotherapy, it is very likely that the mental (or cognitive)
aspect of the condition will be emphasized. Obviously, this is a
generalization since there are many forms of psychotherapy currently available.
However, based upon the documented prevalence of cognitive and cognitive-behavioral
approaches in the treatment of depression, and for the purposes of the
present discussion, this is a reasonable assumption. The role of
dysfunctional attitudes and irrational beliefs might be discussed and cognitive
and/or behavioral interventions recommended to change these mental patterns.
Finally, if the depressed person was religiously
oriented and sought help through pastoral counseling, the spiritual aspects
of the depression might be explored. For example, the need for a
closer relationship with God (by whatever name) might be discussed.
Selections from the Bible or other inspirational materials might be recommended.
Prayer and/or meditation might be suggested. Altruism might be stressed
in terms of service to mankind, or simply being more loving in daily encounters
with others. The purpose and meaning of life, the role of values,
etc. would likely enter into the counseling process.
Now, to extend the illustration one step further,
imagine that the professionals in each of the disciplines just cited were
good friends and respected the expertise of each other. Further imagine
that each were to see the hypothetical client, make their assessments,
and then come together and discuss the case with the intention of providing
the best possible care for that individual. In a spirit of cooperation,
a treatment plan addressing each aspect of the condition - body, mind and
spirit - would be produced. This approach would be an excellent example
of holism. Presumably, Edgar Cayce performed this service each time
he provided a reading for a person experiencing depression.
The good news is that there appears to be a recognition
of the need for an integrated approach to the problem of depression.
This realization is being manifested in the trend for combined modalities
and the increasing frequency of cross discipline referrals. In this
context of progressive therapeutic applications, the Cayce approach is
offered as an extremely comprehensive perspective on the treatment of depression.
A Therapeutic Model
There are two distinct approaches for the application
of the Cayce material. Since the death of Edgar Cayce in 1945, the
case study approach has been used extensively for numerous disorders which
the readings addressed. The basic idea of this approach is to try
to match one's condition (as nearly as possible) with a reading given by
Cayce for a similar problem. Persons utilizing the case study approach
may use the Circulating Files on a given topic (which contain a few exemplary
readings) or visit the A.R.E. Library in Virginia Beach, Virginia for a
more extensive study of all the readings on their particular condition.
The sample of case studies in Chapter 3 and a more extensive collection
(McMillin, 1991b) are provided to make the readings more accessible for
anyone wishing to apply the case study approach to the treatment of depression.
An alternative approach is to seek a general understanding
of the problem by studying all the cases on a given topic (statistics are
helpful here). The idea is to find the basic patterns of pathology
and treatment which can be condensed into a therapeutic model. The
Research Bulletins produced by the Edgar Cayce Foundation are an excellent
example of this empirical approach to the readings. These bulletins
cover a spectrum of disorders and can be particularly helpful to the health
care professional desiring an in-depth view of the readings on a given
Obviously, these two approaches are not mutually
exclusive. One may develop a basic treatment plan, based on a consideration
of all the readings on a subject, and then "fine tune" it with information
from a specific case. This hybrid approach serves as the basis for
the therapeutic model developed in this chapter and is based upon the need
for a flexible, yet comprehensive approach to the treatment of depression.
Since depression is diverse in its etiology, clinical
presentation, and response to treatment, an effective therapeutic model
must address variations in type (e.g., unipolar, bipolar, secondary) and
severity (i.e., mild, moderate and severe). The model presented in
this chapter is structured enough to guide the therapeutic process yet
pliable so that the clinician can make adaptions for each particular case.
Dis-ease and Disease
In order to address the varying levels of severity
found in disorders such as depression, the readings make a distinction
between dis-ease and disease. Dis-ease refers to relatively mild
distress, usually brought on by systemic imbalance. If the condition
is not addressed and balance restored, disease may result.
For, in each physical organism there are those
conditions that enable the organ to reproduce itself - if it has the cooperation
of every other portion of the body. When these suffer from mental
or physical disorders which make for repressions in any portion of the
system, then dis-ease and distress first arise. If heed is not taken
as to the warnings sent forth along the nervous system ... that certain
organs or portions of the system are in distress - or the S.O.S. that goes
out is not heeded - then disease sets in ... (531-1)
In regards to depression, dis-ease may be manifest
as mild symptoms, such as feeling "down" or "blue" for no apparent reason.
A person may experience periods of gloomy thinking and feeling, occasional
insomnia, tendencies for listlessness or restlessness, etc. The relatively
mild expression of these symptoms may not interfere with one's lifestyle
to the point of being debilitating, and yet life is not as full as it should
be. Body, mind and spirit are not quite in coordination. At
a physical level, perhaps there is a tendency for toxemia due to poor eliminations.
Possibly negative attitudes and cognitions are having a depressive effect
upon the nervous systems resulting in mild physical symptoms or somatic
complaints. These descriptions fall within the domain of dis-ease.
On the other hand, disease is full blown clinical
pathology. There is so much incoordination in the systems that symptoms
are no longer an inconvenience - they are debilitating and they hurt badly.
The pathology may be functional or organic. Regardless of the etiological
pattern involved (i.e., whether it is produced by mental or spiritual factors),
disease necessarily involves major physical pathology.
From a treatment standpoint, the readings provide
variations in therapies which address these varying levels of severity.
Preventative treatments address the mild systemic dysfunctions associated
with dis-ease and provide a health maintenance program to prevent relapse.
The hallmark of the preventative treatments is their universality - the
readings state they would be good for everyone on a regular basis.
Preventative recommendations include: balanced diet, daily exercise, hydrotherapy,
osteopathic treatments, massage, use of the Radio-Active Appliance, working
with ideals, and service to others. The emphasis at this level is
personal involvement in balanced living. Professional services are
required for certain therapies, however the bulk of the application is
simply a matter of lifestyle. It is important to note that these
preventative therapies are also the most frequently recommended treatments
for depression. Hence, the basic treatment plan for depression consists
of these preventative measures which are essentially health maintenance
The importance of preventative measures is emphasized
in the following excerpt which also stresses the mental and spiritual ramifications
of maintaining a healthy body.
Much may be said as respecting that of preventative
conditions for a body such as this, rather than neglecting seemingly minor
conditions [dis-ease] until curative forces are necessary [disease].
An ounce of prevention is worth many pounds of cure. Then, so adjust
the conditions in the physical forces that, that of the mental and spiritual
may have that channel to manifest through. (1731-1)
In contrast to preventative measures, curative treatments
are needed to correct the major pathology associated with disease.
Here the emphasis shifts to more professional involvement, sometimes to
the point of hospitalization. The physical dimension is accentuated
and the nature of the interventions reflect this shift.
For example, the Radio-Active Appliance may be used
in either mode; however, in the curative mode certain modifications are
required (such as changing the type of metal attachments and the addition
of a solution jar). For more severe cases, a Wet Cell Battery may
be required (the readings state that it works on the same principle as
the Radio-Active Appliance except that it is more powerful). Thus,
there are gradations in the potency of the interventions to meet the requirements
of varying degrees of pathology.
The variations between preventative and curative
applications will be dealt with in more detail in Chapter 6 which explains
the various treatments which the readings recommended in cases of depression.
For now, it is only necessary to point out that the readings do provide
a comprehensive approach to treating the various manifestations of depression.
In summary, the proposed therapeutic model is a hybrid
approach which utilizes a basic treatment plan composed of therapies commonly
suggested for the treatment of depression. These treatments may be
viewed as preventative since they promote systemic coordination through
balanced living. The preventative application of the model addresses
mild depression in its manifold forms. The therapeutic model also
incorporates specific curative treatments to address more severe cases
of depression. The curative applications require increasing professional
involvement and allow clinicians to customize the treatment plan for each
individual. The actual treatments involved in the model will now
be discussed briefly and some specific applications noted.
The Basic Treatment Plan
The basic treatment plan forms the foundation of
the holistic therapeutic model. It is suitable for most cases of
depression and may entirely suffice for low level depression. It
is also appropriate as a maintenance plan to reduce the likelihood of relapse,
hence it is inherently preventative in nature. Since it is basically
a health maintenance program, it has the added benefit of being relatively
safe producing few, if any, harmful side-effects.
The components of the basic treatment plan are listed
in TABLE 4.1 and will be briefly described here. A more thorough
explanation of these therapies will be provided in Chapter 6.
* Improving eliminations is a high priority since the readings
cite toxemia as one of the most common etiological factors associated with
depression. Hydrotherapy, manual medicine (osteopathy and chiropractic),
massage, and diet are the main therapies in this regard.
* Manual medicine and massage also assist in establishing better
coordination between the central and peripheral nervous systems.
This is important since the readings consistently portrayed the pathophysiology
of depression as a "lapse in nerve impulse".
* The Radio-Active Appliance may prove helpful in cases where
restlessness, fatigue or insomnia are significant symptoms.
* The readings also consistently stressed the importance of moderate
outdoor exercise for relaxation, improving eliminations, and in certain
cases, as a form of phototherapy.
* The ideals exercise is an important intervention for establishing
priorities, not only within the therapeutic regimen, but also for long-term
health maintenance. This cognitive-behavioral intervention is also
an excellent means of recognizing and correcting dysfunctional attitudes
* Finally, the spiritual phase of the basic model encourages persons
to take a broader perspective on their immediate situation. Altruistic
service provides a sense of interpersonal connectedness which can be extremely
therapeutic in the treatment of depression.
Additional Therapies for Specific Cases
While the basic treatment plan provides a foundation
from which to approach the treatment of depression, supplemental or adjunct
therapies of a curative nature may be helpful in specific cases.
In these instances, the basic treatment plan is modified to address the
needs of the individual. Some examples are provided here; keep in
mind that these are merely suggestions which clinicians may wish to utilize
at their discretion:
* The readings noted sensory system involvement (i.e., disturbed
hearing, taste, sight or smell) in many cases of depression. This
was linked to conjoint innervation of the sensory organs and certain visceral
organs. Thus assessment and treatment should focus on the possibility
of cervical and upper dorsal pathology. The pneumogastric and hypogastric
plexus were also frequently cited in these cases and may require manipulative
* When depression is severe, therapeutic milieu is a necessity
- the environment must be conducive to healing. If the home situation
is not appropriate, hospitalization may be required.
* Companion therapy may be helpful for cases where the individual
is unable to follow the treatment suggestions and requires supervision.
* In cases presenting with oppositional or noncompliant behaviors,
suggestive therapeutics may be utilized to increase cooperation.
* A blood and nerve building diet may be helpful for individuals
suffering from general debilitation.
* The wet cell battery with gold may be useful for persons who
exhibit cognitive impairment (or other deficit symptoms).
* Glandular dysfunction may present as disrupted biological
cycles and/or abnormal results on endocrine tests (e.g., nonsuppression
of dexamethasone, blunted or exaggerated TSH response to TRH). In
such cases, Atomidine may be useful to normalize glandular functions.
The addition of Jerusalem artichoke to the diet was also recommended in
several cases involving glandular imbalance.
* Somatic complaints should be taken seriously for they can provide
valuable clues to the systemic dysfunctions associated with depression.
In particular, back pain can be extremely helpful in locating and treating
somatic dysfunction in relation to the spine.
* Extreme toxemia may present as constipation, skin blemishes,
and/or foul breath. Improvement of eliminations would probably be
helpful via hydrotherapy and eliminative diet.
These suggestions are presented merely as possibilities to assist the
clinician in forming hypotheses. They should not be used in a "cookbook"
fashion. To the contrary, it is important that clinicians interested
in applying this material become intimately familiar with the case studies
and therapeutic modalities recommended in the readings. This depth
of inquiry is necessary to become sensitive to the subtleties of this information
and provide customized treatment plans for the more severe cases.
Chapters 5 and 6 provide further discussions of these principles and techniques
to assist clinicians in becoming knowledgeable in their application.
In order to apply the Cayce material to the treatment
of bipolar disorder, one must be intimately familiar with the cases in
the readings. The section on bipolar disorder in Chapter 2 is essential
in this respect. The cases carrying a medical diagnosis of manic-depression
(the old term for bipolar disorder) and additional cases with bipolar features
are listed there for further study. All these cases are included
in Chapter 3.
The basic treatment plan is appropriate for most
cases of bipolar. Additionally, many of the suggestions for adjunct
curative therapies presented in the previous section are also applicable.
From this foundation, a few further suggestions may be considered:
* Be alert for a "cold spot" or discomfort in the lacteal region
(a couple of inches above and to the right of the navel). This indication
is particularly significant in cases diagnosed as bipolar which respond
to anti-convulsants but not to lithium carbonate. Castor oil packs
and deep manipulations in the lacteal area were frequently recommended
by Cayce in such cases.
* Extreme lability of mood during manic phase (especially
excessive irritability and/or bursts of anger) may respond to violet ray
therapy in conjunction with massage or manual medicine. Treatment
should focus on the solar plexus region and along the entire length of
* Gold therapy (via the wet cell battery) may be appropriate for
chronic cases and especially when there is an indication of genetic factors
and/or enduring cognitive deficits.
* Cases presenting with manic psychosis may involve injury to
the lower spine or pelvic organs. Manipulative therapy may be required
to adjust the coccyx, sacral or lumbar regions of the spine. Be particularly
sensitive to somatic complaints or history of injury in this portion of
* Suggestive therapeutics was often suggested in these cases.
The spiritual aspect of the suggestions was emphasized.
Again, these suggestions are provided for clinicians
wishing to utilize the Cayce material in more severe forms of pathology.
The material should be viewed as hypotheses which clinicians may wish to
consider as possibilities in any given case. This information is
not intended for self-diagnosis or self-treatment. It should be used
in cooperation with a qualified health care professional.
It should be apparent from the preceding discussion
and the case summaries provided in Chapter 3 that the treatment of "secondary"
depression does not differ radically from "primary" depression. The
same nonspecific modalities which address "physical" illness are appropriate
for "mental" or "emotional" illness. This is a natural outcome a
holistic perspective - everything is connected and interactive. Therefore,
primary health care providers wishing to use the Cayce approach should
become familiar with the readings on any particular condition from which
a client may suffer and apply the principles and techniques appropriate
for that patient. In most cases, the treatments will be congruent
with the model presented in this chapter and the depression will be addressed
from a holistic framework.
As an example, consider case  (McMillin,
1991b). The reading for this adult male is directed at his depression
as indicated by the question which initiated the reading ("What causes
depressed mental condition?"). In describing the pathophysiology
of the condition, the reading notes disturbances in the circulatory system
and states: "Hence the nausea as produced in the organ and the reflex from
this through the cardiac plexus gives palpitation, or heavy quick breathing,
gasping in the diaphragm and lungs ..." The reading explicitly describes
the systemic interactions which are producing these symptoms and trace
them all back to "congestions" in the nerve centers of the 6th, 7th, 9th
and 10th dorsals.
In view of the research that has been done in the
area of secondary depression and primary care service, it is quite likely
that if this man were alive today and sought help through his family physician
his depression would be ignored.
A number of studies have demonstrated that the
most commonly encountered psychiatric disorders in the primary care practice
are depressive disorders. In addition, these studies have also shown
that depression is under recognized or misdiagnosed in the primary care
practice. Clearly, any strategy that will improve this problem will
benefit the patient, the physician, and the problem of cost containment.
(Zung, 1990, p. 72)
Thus, in today's medical system, Mr.  would
likely leave his doctor's office with a handful of prescriptions to suppress
the cardiovascular symptoms and nausea. If the depression were addressed,
it would likely be considered a psychological reaction to his "physical"
disorders and he might be given an additional prescription or an anti-depressant.
If the depression in this case were severe enough
to warrant a referral to a psychiatrist, the anti-depressant would come
first and the somatic complaints might be regarded as somatization (hypochondria).
He might receive psychotherapy for his "psychological" problems.
If his physical symptoms were severe enough, he might also exit this doctor's
office with a handful of prescriptions for his somatic complaints.
Cayce's recommendation for this man was to relieve
the pressures in the nervous system and viscera through manual medicine
("massage and manipulation of the cervical and dorsal region, with the
diaphragm and gastric region manipulated to empty and to equalize circulation
and assimilation in the body"). Small quantities of lime water and
elm water were also suggested to "equalize and neutralize conditions in
The philosophy is "cure by removal of cause" (an
old osteopathic dictum echoed in the readings). The body is assisted
in healing itself and the depression, nausea and cardiovascular symptoms
are addressed from a systems perspective. If the therapies are successful
in helping the body to achieve equilibrium, this fortunate man might never
have to be concerned about relapse to his diseased condition. On
the other hand, a failure to deal with the underlying cause could result
in chronic debilitation and a dependence on increasingly powerful drugs
to relieve the wide range of symptoms. Obviously, if one accepts
the Cayce readings as valid glimpses into the human body and its pathologies,
some changes in the health care system are in order.
The major problem with applying the therapeutic model
to primary health care as it currently exists in this country is the heavy
reliance which the model places on manual medicine. While many osteopaths
and chiropractors may feel comfortable with this approach, most M.D.s will
not. So realistically, unless the widely acknowledged economic crisis
in allopathic medicine changes the current health care system, the therapeutic
model proposed in this chapter will have limited application to secondary
For those M.D.s who are interested in this model
and wish to make contact with practitioners with the expertise to provide
manipulative therapy, the North American Academy of Musculoskeletal Medicine
may be of assistance. (2875 Northwind Drive, Suite 207, East Lansing,
48823). This organization is composed of osteopaths, physical therapists
and M.D.s who recognize the need for incorporating manual medicine into
mainstream health care.
There are also a couple of excellent books available
which explain Cayce's perspective on a wide range of illnesses which are
common in primary health care. The Physician's Reference Notebook
by William A. McGarey, M.D. (1983) and Keys to Health: The Promise and
Challenge of Holism by Eric Mein, M.D. (1989) provide an introduction
to the Cayce readings which most M.D.s will find helpful. These books
are available through the A.R.E. bookstore in Virginia Beach, Virginia.
Depression need not be "underrecognized or misdiagnosed
in the primary care practice". Neither is it necessary to devalue
it with the label of "secondary" depression. The readings provide
an integrated approach for understanding and treating depression in the
primary setting. However, to apply this model, clinicians must have
a working knowledge of the Cayce readings on the various diseases and syndromes
which present in the physician's office. Furthermore, client's must
be willing to cooperate in the therapeutic process by making lifestyle
choices compatible with this approach.
The Importance of Cooperation
Just as body, mind and soul must coordinate to maintain
health, the therapeutic process is an exercise in cooperation. Even
in mild cases of depression, the readings did not expect the afflicted
individual to simply "pick themselves up by the bootstraps." The
participation of sympathetic health care professionals were required to
provide certain treatments. Quite often, copies of the readings were
provided directly to the health care provider in each case. Interestingly,
Cayce often had no conscious knowledge of the professional to whom the
referral was made.
In the most severe cases of depression, the patient
might be referred to an institution such as the Still-Hildreth Osteopathic
Sanitarium. Even in these extreme cases, the readings encouraged
the depressed person to participate in the treatment plan to whatever degree
possible. Thus, therapy was viewed as a cooperative venture between
a suffering individual and one or more professionals open to the readings'
holistic perspective on healing.
The therapeutic model proposed in this chapter emphasizes
health maintenance as a prerequisite for the treatment of depression.
Therefore, it inherently addresses both treatment and the prevention of
relapse. A basic treatment plan has been presented which forms the
foundation of the model. This plan consists of the most frequently
recommended interventions in the Cayce readings on depression. Generally
speaking, these recommendations fall within the designation of preventative
measures which address mild systemic imbalances (dis-ease). The elements
of the basic treatment plan were briefly listed and the purpose of each
stated. Lifestyle choices play a major role in the basic treatment
plan. While professional assistance is necessary for certain therapies,
emphasis is placed on personal involvement.
The basic treatment plan may be adapted for particular
cases requiring specialized attention. For example, bipolar disorder
or psychotic depression may require more powerful interventions involving
therapeutic milieu and more intense somatic therapies. Obviously,
the emphasis in these cases shifts toward increased professional involvement
with the clinician augmenting the basic plan with supplemental (curative)
interventions. A thorough knowledge of the case studies of depression
and the therapeutic modalities involved is necessary to customize the treatment
plan in these cases.
The importance of cooperation between the various
health care professionals and the individual suffering from depression
cannot be emphasized too strongly. This is especially true in cases
of "secondary" depression. If the primary care physician is unsympathetic
and uncooperative to the Cayce perspective on the linkage of depressive
symptoms to underlying systemic pathology, the application of the therapeutic
model is seriously compromised. On the other hand, if the physician
is in sympathy with the Cayce approach, both the "physical" disorder and
depression can often be addressed with the same treatments.
The therapeutic model proposed in this chapter is
of necessity only an outline. Just as the readings were hesitant
to discuss diseases as a class (with a rigid treatment plan for each illness),
the approach of this chapter has been to provide guidelines and direction
rather than specific recommendations. The reason for this is simple.
The lifestyle choices which are inherent in the basic treatment plan are
best left to each individual. Likewise, when the assistance of a
health care professional is required, the specifics of treatment are usually
determined by that professional. However, the professional needs
to be an informed practitioner. It is the purpose of the next two
chapters to provide detailed information to assist the professional and
layperson in their cooperative contributions to the healing process.