Edgar Cayce A.R.E. Dove with Olive Branch

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Chiropractic is a healing profession which utilizes the hands to diagnose and treat illness, particularly illness associated with the spine. Although chiropractic was recommended in numerous Cayce readings, in general, the preference was for osteopathic treatment. However, just as osteopathy has undergone significant changes since Cayce’s era, chiropractic has evolved into a major treatment option. In particular, chiropractic has expanded to include a more holistic perspective. Its practitioners often provide a wide range of services including dietary counseling, acupuncture, massage, and electrotherapy.

The readings’ recommendations for osteopathic treatment over chiropractic, in most cases, may have been due to the stature of chiropractic during that era. Gladys Davis Turner, Cayce’s secretary for many years, provides insight on the role of chiropractic in the Cayce readings. She reports that a chiropractic member of the A.R.E. (Dr. J.E.F.) was disturbed by Cayce’s apparent disregard for chiropractic:

“Being a chiropractor, naturally I wondered why osteopathy was preferred and why such a statement was made as was in case 3041, where it says: ‘Chiropractic treatment is adjustment, not relaxation of the muscular forces”. We chiropractors have been taught that chiropractic treatments do relax muscles, and I know it does. But if we go into the past a little on chiropractic and osteopathic history, we can see why the statement was made at the time of the reading …”

“I have no way of comparing the standards between osteopathy and chiropractic as they existed at that time, but osteopathic schools had at least a six year head start over chiropractic schools and therefore very likely were of better quality than chiropractic ones. Then, too, B. J. Palmer was more interested in turning out chiropractors and it made no difference to him as to what type of a person took his course. He was interested in quantity and not in quality and length of time at the school was short. Finally after a number of years (about 1926), some of the faculty from the Davenport School broke away from school and started their own because they were “fed up” with some of B. J.’s ideas…. In the meantime other schools were springing up all over the country because this or that individual developed, in his private practice, a special type of adjustment or technique, and he became so enthused with it, he thought the word ‘chiropractic’ meant his own method of treatment so he started a school to teach ‘Chiropractic’ centered around his techniques.”

“So the reading #52111 where it says: ‘But there are chiropractors and chiropractors” could well mean this period when so many schools of different chiropractic thought were in existence. Also reading #52291 saying ‘… but there are few chiropractors who make them properly” could mean this period when there were so many chiropractors being ‘milled’ out of the Davenport school, and only a few being ‘good adjusters’….

“As I said for a while I was irked, but now I’m not, for again considering the time (1924) when the reading was taken, the advice given, and the status of chiropractic at that time, no doubt the reading was right.”

“With 3,300 graduates from the Palmer school in 1921, which was the largest class to graduate of all the healing arts of that period, it is quite possible that the most noted chiropractic adjustment (at that time) was what is known as the Palmer recoil, a type of adjustment developed by B. J. Palmer and taught to all his students. Without going into detail to describe a recoil adjustment, it is sufficient to say that it is a harsh type of adjustment, and if one were witnessing a recoil adjustment being given in the cervical region, one might think the neck would break by such a thrust. They definitely were not the kind of adjustments to bring about relaxation …”

“However, thank goodness, other methods of adjusting were being developed in the chiropractic profession which were not so severe, which accomplished the same result and were relaxing to the patient. So now I’m quite confident that very likely if readings were taken today and the question asked as was in reading 3041, the answer would not be so much against chiropractic.” (Turner, 1957)

John Pagano echoes this sentiment by noting that in certain respects, chiropractors have assumed the role formally served by osteopaths.

“Today the role of chiropractor, as I see it, encompasses the full role formerly practiced by the osteopath relative to the Cayce readings, and the osteopath has, for the most part, followed the path of medical practice. By these standards one would have to reevaluate the profession of choice as they pertain to the Cayce readings. The answer may be simply to find the right individual practitioner, whether chiropractor or osteopath, who will exercise the therapy called for in the readings.” (Pagano, 1987, p. 14)

Edgar Cayce sometimes recommended the hand-held vibrator as an adjunct therapy to be used with chiropractic. Presumably, the vibrator not only helps to relax muscles and stimulate circulation, but may also assist in coordinating the nervous systems.


Pagano, J. (1987). Chiropractic: Beyond back pains. Venture Inward, 3(4), 13-17.
Turner, G. D. (1957). Chiropractic, electrotherapy and hydrotherapy from the Edgar Cayce Records. Presentation at the A.R.E. Congress Class on Physical Balance. Virginia Beach,VA: unpublished.

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