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Notes on Dr. J.M. Littlejohn’s Principles of Osteopathy

Notes on the Principles of Osteopathy Front

Notes on Dr. J.M. Littlejohn’s Principles of Osteopathy

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Notes on Dr. J.M. Littlejohn’s Principles of Osteopathy, John Martin Littlejohn writes: “In discussing the theory of the treatment of disease we must differentiate between the condition of disease and the state of disease.  If treatment is to be successful it must be based on the relation of cause and effect and the diagnosis must cover every aspect and sequence of that relationship.  We deal with vitality as the sum total of all the activities of the body, and we distinguish between health that is vital and that which is merely nutritive.  Here are included:  (1) The supply of materials on a nutritive basis; (2) the power of reception and rejection of the proximate principles so provided, and (3) the power of assimilation to its own substance after the body has received, digested and absorbed the food materials.  In vital health, however, we have to consider: (4) the adjustment of all the different parts of the body on a structural basis, and (5) the adjustment of all the functional activities of the body on the basis of vitality.

“Vital unhealth as distinguished from vital health means that some impairment or deficiency is present in any one or more of these five points.  This disturbing element is expressed in the term ‘Osteopathic Lesion’ which, in its widest sense, may have its origin in the food supply; in the power to receive or assimilate and in the structural or functional activities of the body.  Disease is an effect and not a cause.  It is an effect from the disturbed vital health and the state that we call disease is always a result of a previous condition of un-health.  If we take disease as a starting point and attempt to trace it backwards, there are three topics which emerge for discussion, namely, the Etiology, Symptomatology, and the Effects, or results of disease.”

In the Notes on Principles of Osteopathy, Dr. John Martin Littlejohn further writes about the Principles of Treatment where he states that…..“Osteopathic work is palliative or curative.  Palliative treatment aims at the mitigation of pain, or the relief of some inflammatory condition, exudation, accumulation, etc.  It is accomplished mainly by the relaxation of muscular contractures and through the sensory nerve connections.  The curative work is corrective of irritability, having a three-fold object in view.  All treatment is, or ought to be, directed to the vital force through the property of the irritability of tissue, of which nerve tissue is the most highly irritable.  Every lesion involves some modification in the irritability so that the principles and practice of treatment should appeal to the irritability or to the vital force through the irritability.  In appealing to the irritability we first correct the condition of the muscles, bones, ligaments, nerves, blood vessels and so on in order to alter, or modify the irritability.  Secondly, hyper-irritability at a particular local point is lessened by inhibitory pressure over that point.  The inhibition equalises the impulses of their irritability and distribute them equally among all the different parts of the body, using the vital force as the governing principle of the distribution.  Similarly, equal distribution may be obtained by a moving pressure to stimulate when the irritability is sub-normal.  The curative work appeals more largely to the motor or efferent side of the nervous system. While the palliative work is valuable to check pain and inhibit the excessively stimulated processes which are tending to the pathological condition, the curative work employs the three methods described to restore the adjustment, coordination and cooperation of the structures and tissues through the efferent side of the nervous system.  The corrective appeals to the body as an animated mechanism based on physiological mechanics.”

To read more of “Notes on Dr. J.M. Littlejohn’s Principles of Osteopathy” you can purchase a copy from the JWCCO Bookshop for £10.00 here: http://www.johnwernhamclassicalosteopathy.com/notes-on-dr-j-m-littlejohns-principles-of-osteopathy-centenary-edition/

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