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The Readings Approach to Health

The information from the readings on health includes simple suggestions that each of us can do to stay well. The nature of many of these recommendations indicates that Cayce's understanding of health care was really ahead of its time. These basic health principles include such items as: maintaining a well-balanced diet, the need for regular exercise, the role of attitudes and emotions in achieving and maintaining good health, the importance of relaxation and recreation as part of a balanced life style, and the desirability of keeping our physical bodies cleansed - both on the inside and on the outside. Cayce's approach to staying well had its roots in health maintenance and preventive medicine rather than simply treatment of illnesses as they arose. He was one of the first individuals in the Western Hemisphere to recommend a nutritious diet consisting mainly of vegetables, fish, and fowl, plus sufficient water each day to promote internal cleansing. These guidelines and others were recommended by Cayce while much of the country had a diet consisting of great quantities of red meat and starches. Yet, Cayce's contribution to health and physical well-being was not limited simply to proper diet and regular exercise.

Decades ago, he emphasized the importance that attitudes and emotions play in physical well-being. In support of this idea, only relatively recently has clinical medicine discovered how positive attitudes enhance the healing process. Both Cayce and modern medicine agree that humor and joy play key roles in facilitating wellness. It's also been found that certain kinds of negative attitudes or stresses can lead to illness. For example, Cayce's readings suggest that persistent anger - conscious or unconscious - may play a part in the onset of disease.

Even critics of other segments of Cayce's work agree that the information on health offers important insights into how each of us can stay well. The readings make recommendations for a variety of health concerns - from acne, diet, hemorrhoids, longevity, and warts to arthritis, cancer, epilepsy, mental illness, and psoriasis. Nearly every condition that existed between the turn of the century and 1945 - whether it was childbirth, fractures, or a vitamin deficiency is represented in the files of the Cayce material. Interestingly enough, modern-day researchers have found that many of the recommended treatments - given decades ago by the sleeping Cayce to specific individuals - seem to be applicable today on a much wider scale. The information on psoriasis and scleroderma are two of the most notable examples. For both of these diseases, the Cayce regimen involves specific dietary changes, particular spinal adjustments, and other natural remedy procedures. In recent years hundreds of people with these two ailments have been helped by following a similar program.

The readings were given between 1901 and 1944 and many were ahead of their time in foreseeing future approaches to health care. In addition to insights into energy medicine, the role of attitudes and emotions, and the effects of prayer and spiritual healing, Cayce often saw advances in the way we treat "disease." For example, in 1927 he stated that "The day may yet arrive when one may take a drop of blood and diagnose the condition of any physical body," (2832) and certainly today this is commonplace.

Cayce also saw total health as involving coordination among the physical, mental, and spiritual components of life. Any complete approach to health needed to consider an individual's entire being rather than simply the illness. Because of this concept, it has been said that the beginnings of present-day holistic health started from the readings of Edgar Cayce.

For a person asking for physical help the reading was given much like the others. Cayce would put himself to sleep on his couch while his secretary, Gladys Davis, sat nearby with her steno pad and prepared to write down everything that was said. The one conducting the reading, usually Cayce's wife, Gertrude, would give him the proper suggestion for obtaining the information that was needed. For physical readings her suggestion to the sleeping Cayce went something like this:

"You will have before you the body of [Gertrude would then say the person's name], who is located [the city and address]. You will go over the body carefully, examine it thoroughly, and tell me the conditions you find at the present time; giving the cause of the existing conditions, also the suggestions for the help and relief for this body. You will speak distinctly at a normal rate of speech. You will answer the questions that may be asked."

Then, while he was sleeping, Cayce would generally respond with "Yes, we have the body here." If he had ever given a prior reading for the person, he would add, "This we have had before" - even if the individual's last reading had been thirty years earlier! Cayce would pick up right where he had left off, as if no time had passed. He spoke in his own voice and referred to the person as if the individual were in the same room, even though Cayce was usually in Virginia Beach and the patient could be a thousand or more miles away. He would then give a general description of the person's condition, including information about the blood supply, the nervous system, and the organs involved in the difficulty. Finally, he would outline detailed methods to bring about relief and respond to questions as they were asked.

If the person getting the reading was in the room with Edgar Cayce, it was found that he or she only needed to think of the question and Cayce could answer it without it even being asked.

Although nearly 9,000 readings deal with the principles of healing and holism, the major components of the readings' approach to wellness can be incorporated into the acronym "CARE": circulation, assimilation, relaxation, and elimination. The importance of each of these components is as follows:

Without proper circulation, the body's ability to heal itself is severely impaired. The natural healing process is bolstered by facilitating the blood circulation - through exercise, massage, and manipulative therapies, such as chiropractic and osteopathic adjustments.

Assimilation is the second key word. It is the body's ability to digest and distribute food. One aspect of assimilation takes into account an individual's diet - which the readings suggest should consist of 20% acid-producing to 80% alkaline-producing foods, as well as eight glasses of water daily. But assimilation is also influenced by the methods in which our foods are prepared and the ways in which we combine them. For example, although both grain cereals and citrus fruits are to be included in a healthful diet, the readings suggest that they are never to be eaten during the same meal because of their effect on the body's digestion.

The third key word is relaxation, which includes not only getting enough sleep but also setting time aside for the purpose of recreation. Cayce said to one person:

" . . . these [conditions] arose as a result of what might be called occupational disturbances: not enough [time] in the sun, not enough of hard work. Plenty of birain work, but the body is supposed to coordinate the spiritual, mental and physical. He who does not give recreation a place in his life, and the proper tone to each phase - well, he just fools self and will some day... be paying the price." (3352-1)

The final component is elimination. Proper eliminations are necessary for the body to rid itself of toxins, cleans the internal organs, and function normally. Long before people were joking about their regularity, Cayce advised individuals not to let a day pass without having thrown off their waste products. Ways to do this would be with such practices as proper diet, exercises (such as walking), sweat baths, colonies, correct breathing, and plenty of water.

These four items - circulation, assimilation, relaxation, and elimination working together in cooperation can promote healing, wellness, and longevity.

It should be emphasized that Edgar Cayce never provided "magic" formulas or cures. While it is true that miracles of healing can happen, the readings usually recommended an overall regimen of therapies involving the whole system. Cayce was not a psychic healer; he claimed no special power. Instead, he gave psychic counseling for total health, instructing people in what they could do best to bring about their own healing. Following the regimen took a lot of effort. Often, when someone requested medical assistance for a condition, Cayce would respond with, "Why do you want to get well?" In other words, if after health improvement the patient would simply return to the same life style that had led to the sickness in the first place, then the person was simply looking forways to alleviate symptoms rather than getting to the real heart of his or her illness.

Recommended Reading:

  • The Edgar Cayce Handbook for Health Through Drugless Therapy
    by Harold J. Reilly, D PhT, DS
  • The Edgar Cayce Remedies by William A. McCarey, MD