Principles and Practice of Naturopathy:
A Compendium of Natural Healing (1925)

E.W. Cordingley, A.M., Ph.D.



Spondylotherapy is a method of eliciting reflexes at spinal nerve centers for the relief of morbid conditions in the body. These reflexes are elicited usually by concussion, although pressure and sinusoidal electricity are also used.

This system was founded by Dr. Albert Abrams, but has been elaborated upon by Dr's. George Starr White, Alva Emery Gregory and Joe Shelby Riley.

By spinal concussion we either soothe or stimulate the spinal centers. Slow concussion, generally, has a soothing or quieting effect upon the organs or tissues related to the spinal segment, while rapid strokes have a tendency to excite or stimulate.

For Spondylotherapy a mallet or plexor and an applicator or pleximeter are used. These instruments are also known as concussors and concussodes, respectively. The plexor is usually a wooden or metal mallet, six to ten inches long, while the pleximeter can be made of a piece of rubber five-eighths of an inch thick by two and one-half inches square, hollowed out on one edge so that it will set astride the spinous process of a vertebra, and the legs formed by such "hollowing-out" are placed one on each transverse process of a vertebra. There is a concussion machine on the market that can be used with go or results, which is built somewhat on the order of a vibrator, but having a hammer, instead of an oscillating stroke.

Concussion is applied by striking the pleximeter, which is first carefully placed upon the vertebral segment related to the organ or tissue it is desired to affect, with the plexor. The strokes are made :-It the rate of about two per second, are given rebounding, and are continued for from twenty to thirty seconds. Then there should be a period of rest for thirty seconds to permit of the response of the reflex, when the concussion is repeated for from twenty to thirty seconds. Ordinarily the period of concussion should be repeated three or four times.

In order that there may be no mistake in the application of Spondylotherapy, we will re-state the above:

Concuss, twenty to thirty seconds.
Rest, thirty seconds,
Concuss again, twenty to thirty seconds.
Rest, thirty seconds.
Concuss a third time, twenty to thirty seconds.

In using the sinusoidal current for the same effect, place the in-different electrode over the sacrum, and the active electrode over the selected vertebral segmnent. [sic] Apply for twenty to thirty seconds, remove for thirty seconds, and continue thus three or four times.

The author's favorite method of using Spondylotherapy is with a two-pronged "spongio" electrode, each prong of which is connected with a pole of a Faradic Coil by conducting cords, This electrode is placed astride a spinous process and the current turned on for periods of 20 to 30 seconds, with 30-second rest periods. The advantage of the two-pronged electrode is it convenience, and the advantage of the Faradic current is that it does not produce the unpleasant stinging sensation where the pads are applied, as is so often the case with the sinusoidal.

Where pressure is used at spinal centers, a two-pronged instrumcnt with rounded points about two inches apart is placed with a prong' on euch side of the spinous process, between the transverse processes. Pressure applied for five seconds, then releasd [sic] for ten or fifteen seconds, and continued thus for thirty seconds at a seance, with thirty-second rest periods, seems to have a stimulating effect, while steady deep pressure produces sedation.

I am confident that the Naturopath can greatly increase his efficiency by a proper application of Spondylotherapy, and thereby oftentimes render services to his patients beyond his most sanguine expectations. In fact, I believe that the possibilities of this system have only been tapped. Many cases of heart lesions, particularly dilitations, have been found to respond to this method much quicker than to any other, while stomach disorders in which there has been a fermentation of food show a response little short of marvelous.

By a considerable amount of experimentation it has been found that concussion, sinusoidalization, Faradism, or pressure at certain definite regions of the spine produce certain definite results in. related viscera. The following table shows the visceral reflexes of contraction and dilitation, with the spinal segments associated therewith:

ORGAN Contraction Reflex Dilitation Reflex
Heart 7 Cervical 0-19-11-12 Dorsal
Lungs 4-5 Cervical 3 to 8 Dorsal
Stomach 1-2-3 Lumbar 5 and 11 Dorsal
Liver 1-2-3 Lumbar 11 Dorsal
Gall Bladder 1-2-3 Lumbar 9 Dorsal
Spleen 4-5-6 Dorsal 11 Dorsal
Kidneys 12 Dorsal 7-8 Dorsal
Pancreas 4-5-6 Dorsal 10-11 Dorsal
Ovaries 7 Cervical, 3 Dorsal 1-2 Lumbar
Uterus 4 Lumbar 10- Dorsal
Vascular System 7 Cervical 10-11-12 Dorsal
Thyroid Gland (in goitre) 7 Cervical  

In cases of "sick" stomach, or nausea, where it is advisable to empty the stomach, concussion on the fifth dorsal vertebar [sic] will often produce phenomenal results.

Spondylotherapy can be used in nearly every ailment to which the human organism is subject, and it is an important adjunct treatment that should never be forgotten when giving a naturopathic treatment.

Since it seems that stimulation applied to the seventh cervical segment of the spine produces a particularly marked influence over the junctional activity of the entire organism, we will quote in regard thereto Dr. Alva Emery Gregory.

Dr. Gregory says that stimulation of this segment (7th Cervical) produces:

  1. Increased cardio-motor activity.
  2. Increased temperature of the body.
  3. Increased temperature of the extremities.
  4. Contraction of muscles of the heart.
  5. Correction of dilation and valvular lesions of the heart.
  6. Relief of angina pectoris, which is due to cardiectasis.
  7. Cure of exophthalmic goitre surely and very rapidly,

Before concluding this chapter I will list a few diseases with the points of concussion for them. I include these disorders because of the very pronounced results I have been able to obtain in their relief and cure by Spondlylotherapy in my own practice.

Visceroptosis 7.8 Dorsal.
Bronchial Asthma 4-5 Cervical.
Mammary Insufficiency 3-4 Dorsal.
Gastritis 5 Dorsal.
Bright's Disease 10 D.
Locomotor Ataxia 10 D.
Tuberculosis and Chlorosis 10 D.
Catarrhal Jaundice and Cholycystitis 4, 5, 6 D.
Enuresis 3-4 D.
Asthma 3-4 D.
Hiccough, pressure between 2 and 3 D.
Gastric hypotonia and dilitation, atonic constipation, congestion of liver, enlarged spleen and displaced uterus 1-2-3 Lumbar.

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This page was posted on September 15, 2004.

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