Edgar Cayce responded to questions from over a hundred individuals regarding the causes of depression, and recommended relatively simple, natural therapies to address it.
Essentially, Cayce viewed depression as a literal "depressing" or inhibition of nerve impulse. In particular, he emphasized the visceral organs (i.e., stomach, liver, etc.) and sensory nervous system as playing key roles in some of the symptoms of depression, including disturbed sleep and appetite, sluggishness and listlessness, headaches, backaches, and more. Toxemia and glandular dysfunctions (most often the adrenal, thyroid and pineal) were also associated with depression.
Traumatic life events, loss of meaning in life and hopelessness are also cited in several cases as a cause of depression. Cayce typically referred to these factors as a failure to establish a spiritual ideal around which to center one's life. This sense of spiritual malaise could lead to despair, negative mental patterns and eventually to the mild physical symptoms linked to depression.
To treat depression, the Cayce material recommends such therapies as osteopathic or chiropractic treatment, hydrotherapy, constructive mental attitudes, dietary suggestions, and exercise. A major strength of this treatment approach is that it tends to be relatively safe. The following basic treatment plan is suitable for most cases of depression as well as an appropriate maintenance plan to reduce the likelihood of a relapse.
- Improving eliminations is a high priority since toxemia is as one of the most common factors associated with depression. Hydrotherapy (such as colonics and steam baths), osteopathy and chiropractic adjustments, massage, and a diet rich in fresh vegetables and fruits, whole grains, and clean water are the main recommendations in this regard.
- Use of osteopathic or chiropractic adjustments and massage also assist in establishing better coordination between the central and peripheral nervous system. This is important since Cayce consistently portrayed the pathophysiology of depression as a "lapse in nerve impulse."
- Moderate outdoor exercise for relaxation and improving eliminations.
- Setting ideals is an important intervention for establishing priorities. It is also an excellent means of recognizing and correcting dysfunctional attitudes and beliefs.
- Finally, the spiritual phase of the basic model encourages taking a broader perspective on the immediate situation. Altruistic service provides a sense of interpersonal connectedness which can be extremely therapeutic in the treatment of depression.