Oxygen is a prime element, necessary for
the existence of all living animals and vegetation. No living thing can exist
more than a few minutes without it, and no living thing can function normally
without an adequate supply of it.
In 1774 Priestly isolated some gas from
the atmospheric air. In the years following, Lavoisier studied this gas
and named it oxygen. Up to the present time experiments and tests have
revealed the following: that oxygen is a colorless, odorless, tasteless
gas, its atomic weight is 16; it is the most important and abundant element
discovered and is essential to life. Its combination with other elements
forms oxides. Free in the atmosphere and by weight, it constitutes 3/4
of the animal, 4/5 of the vegetable, 1/2 of the mineral kingdoms, and by
volume 1/5 of the atmosphere, and 8/9 by weight of water. It is the only
element that enters the animal organism in a free state. It is absorbed
by plants in the form of water and carbon dioxide, being converted by them
into organic substances utilized for the food of man, and in turn being
returned to the atmosphere by man in form of waste products of water and
carbon dioxide, thus maintaining the balance of oxygen and carbon dioxide
in the atmosphere. It represents 65% of the elements in the body, 12% in
the venous, and 20% in the arterial blood.
Priestly and others conducted experiments
on animals, and discovered that the life of an animal, like the life of
a candle flame, was dependent upon the continued removal of oxygen from
the atmosphere and an equivalent return of carbon dioxide, and that the
amount of oxygen consumed was related to the amount of heat developed,
and to the amount of work performed, and that the chemical changes that
took place in the body were in the nature of combustion and this combustion
was termed oxidation. It was the oxidation of carbon to carbon dioxide
in the body. From these experiments was laid the foundations of biochemistry
and it is still supposed to be, by definition at least, the foundation
axiom of the science of metabolism, i.e., that the energy required by the
animal for growth, maintenance, and function is derived from the oxidation
of organic nutrients and that oxygen is the prime oxidant. But biochemistry
in the last decade has gone far from the original concept of the necessity
of oxygen as the prime oxidant in oxidation. We are now told that oxygen
is no longer a prime necessity in oxidative reactions, but that it is only
one of a great host of oxidants, many of which contain no oxygen whatever.
This is based on the theory that both oxygen and the metabolites are inactive,
and that the facility of the reactions of oxygen and the metabolites are
brought about by the presence of catalytic enzymes capable of activating
both oxygen and the organic molecules. Once this theory was expounded,
it was readily accepted for its commercial value, and a wild search was
started for organic substitutes. The biochemist, along with the electrochemist,
has followed the lead of, the bacteriological chemist in searching
for substitutes for natural body enzymes, catalyzers, serums, antitoxins,
and other substances, and the search goes on now with more zeal than ever.
Physicians receive stacks of literature from commercial chemical business
houses. While the literature does not say so, the inference is that the
correct anatomical structure of the human anatomy, and the physiological
functions of the body are insignificant and that chemistry will solve all
one's problems. Then is told the story of certain laboratory experiments,
the resulting product of which may be a catalyzer or an enzyme or a serum
that will do what the body mechanisms have failed to do. Or it may be electrochemical
literature expounding the chemical changes that a certain electrical apparatus
will perform. There is some virtue in all the claims made by the chemists,
but not in all they claim. They expound a long list of theories and give
captivating names to the various catalyzers and enzymes recommended as
substitutes for correct breathing, eating, and drinking of liquids, proper
hours of working, sleeping, and other sedentary habits.
Some of these are the Hydrolytic Oxidation
Reduction Theory, the Electrochemical Oxidative Theory, the Kinetic, the
Hydrogen, the Hydration and the De-hydration Oxidation Theories, the Psycho
Chemical, Oxidative Theory, Autooxidation Theory, Reductase, Dehydrase,
Hydrogen Transportase, Oxidase, Dehydrogenase Oxidoreductase, Anahydrase,
Hemochromogen Compounds, et al.
This name calling of vital elements
of the body and the search for substitutes may be one of the causes for
the great increase in the number of chronics. While we accept some of the
claims of body chemistry as of some value, we are still old-fashioned enough
to cling to the old instruction that man is governed by five fundamental
laws first of which is the
law of oxidation that oxygen is the only oxidant. The proof of this is
the fact that if a living organism is put into a vacuum, and a substitute
of any nature provided for oxygen, the organism cannot live for more than
a few minutes.
The manipulative physician's continued
existence and success has been built on the hypothesis that if the body
mechanisms are put into their proper relationships, and the body is given
a proper quantity and quality of foods and liquids, and if obstructions
are removed from the respiratory system, the body mechanisms, with the
aid of natural oxygen create not only oxidation out of which comes the
metabolic substances for energy, growth, maintenance of functions, and
repair, but also create their own by-products such as catalyzers, enzymes,
and immunizers. If the manipulative physician continues to make his labratory
the anatomical, physiological and neurological behavior of human bodies
under the varying conditions of environment, dietary and sedentary habits
of life, then his success will grow even greater. More and more of, the
"chronics" who have been told after elaborate laboratory research: "Nothing
more can be done for you", will find their way to him.
Oliver Wendell Holmes must have felt
strongly about this when he declared, "I firmly believe that if the whole
materia medica could be sunk to the bottom of the sea, it would be all
the better for mankind and all the worse for the fishes". The body of man
is still the fundamental study for the healing arts, and the medicine manufactured
within the body of man is still the best medicine. The following techniques
were written for those who still cling to that hypothesis with the hope
they will give even greater success to the manipulative physicians than
they have hitherto enjoyed.
OXYGEN REQUIREMENTS OF THE HUMAN
Estimates of the oxygen requirements
of the body in health and the extent of the surfaces for the diffusion
of gases are extensive and varied. Experiments of many descriptions have
been carried on, and various results in weights and measures have been
tabulated. Some of these are not only confusing but in many cases contradictory.
Calculations of the air-bearing surfaces
of both lungs, on full inspiration for the diffusion of gases, go from
70 to as high as 140 square meters, and to as low as 50 square meters.
But we can rest assured, however, that the alveolar surfaces of the lungs
are well suited to permit free diffusion of gases going in both directions.
Putting the matter in a more simplified
form, and striking a medium somewhere in all
the other calculations, we are convinced that the lungs of the average
normal adult in health has a maximum capacity of four to eight pints of
air in each lung. To maintain that maximum there should be an ever-changing
residual in the lungs of from three to four pints. This requires the person
to breathe at least eighteen times per minute, and with each breath inhale
one pint of air; and for health each pint of air must contain at least
twenty units of oxygen.
The oxygen which enters the body from
the atmospheric air must diffuse unhindered into the alveolar air spaces
in the lungs where it goes through a process of exchange. The venous blood
passing through the lungs deposits carbon dioxide, in the carbonic gas
form, which is expelled on exhalation, and the hemoglobin of the blood
takes on oxygen by inhalation; then, by the proper circulation of the blood
the oxygen is carried via the hemoglobin to all the cell tissues. Therefore,
to attain or maintain a harmony of functional activities of the body, there
must be, first, a sufficient amount of oxygen in the atmospheric air to
fulfill the demands of the body, and second, the removal of obstructions
of every nature that would interfere with the free passage of air and oxygen
into the alveolar air spaces of the lungs whence it passes through the
blood stream to the tissues. Oxygen enters the body in three ways, first,
through the pores of the skin; second, through the ingestion of foods and
liquids; third, through the respiratory system. The last is the important
one. It is doubtful if more than seven to ten percent of the required oxygen
is obtained by way of the skin, or more than ten to fifteen percent by
way of foods and liquids. We are certain of this, that no person could
live for more than a few minutes if they depended on foods and their skin
to give them the required amount of oxygen.
OXYGEN TRANSPORT, THROUGH, AND POSSIBLE OBSTRUCTIONS
IN THE OPEN CAVITIES.
When we speak of open cavities we refer
to those cavities that are in direct communication with external air. The
closed cavities are those supplied indirectly by the open cavities and
through the blood stream. All the open cavities are found in the head and
Now let us name the parts of the open
cavities, their functions and some of their abnormalities. The open cavities
of the head are the nasal canal from the anterior to the posterior nares,
the soft palate, the maxillary, frontal, ethmoidal, sphenoidal and mastoidal
sinuses, the inferior, middle, superior and supreme turbinates, the tear
ducts, eustachian tubes and the mucous membranes that cover all the parts
named. Then there are the pharyngeal cavity and Fossa of Rosenmuller, tonsils,
tongue, trachea, and epiglottis, and all the tissues that come in direct
contact with atmospheric air and that receive their largest supply of oxygen
freely from that source.
Taking up the functions of these parts
in the order given we will also discuss what discomforts may arise by any
interference with their functions.
The function of the nasal canal from
the anterior to the posterior nares is to contract and expand in unison
with the contraction and expansion of the lungs and diaphragm. If the walls
of the nasal canal have lost their resiliency or expansile qualities and
become narrowed or obstructed, sufficient air is not inhaled. In health
they are filled with everchanging air, but deprived of air they cause painful
symptoms. These symptoms are diagnosed as sinusitis, headache, and dizziness.
The function of the tear ducts is to
carry secretions from the eyes, and in health are filled with oxygen that
keeps the ducts open and the secretions in a solution possible of drainage.
They also keep the eyes warm. Interference with the air getting in the
duct causes running or watery eyes, red eyes, and granulated eyelids.
The function of the turbinates is to
make the air travel in a zig-zag course through the nasal canal, at the
same time sieving and warming it. If the turbinates are bent, twisted,
broken, or fallen in such a manner that they obstruct the nasal canal or
cannot perform their functions, one of two things can happen: first, little
oxygen is passing through the nasal canal; second, the air which is passing
through is dirty and too cold, resulting in coagulation of the mucous,
and mouth breathing.
Now we come to the mucous membrane.
It is a fine lining of sheath-like tissue that covers all the nasal canal
and cavities like the paper on the wall of a room. The function of the
mucous membrane is to protect the tissues underneath and establish a method
of drainage for those tissues. This mucous membrane has thousands of tiny
glands that secrete enough to keep the membrane moist and allow free drainage.
If they become irritated by a lack of oxygen caused by obstructions in
the nasal canal or more toxic matter than oxygen can take care of, they
secrete great quantities of colorless mucous which if not thrown out quickly
from the nose will become thick and if infected by germs will become white,
yellow, and streaked with blood. This condition is known as
"catching a cold." Should this mucous dry lip and form a hard surface
over the membrane, causing pressure on tiny nervelets, then the condition
is called rhinitis. When the membrane is irritated by pollens and dust,
a sneezing and burning takes place, and we have the condition called "hay
Congestive catarrhal conditions in the
tonsils are one of the greatest etiological factors in closing the eustachian
tubes, causing inflammation of the middle ear, and often progressive or
complete deafness, because of a fixation of all vibrations and oscillations
of the ossicles and membrane. When the trachea becomes subluxated or the
epiglottis becomes inflamed they act as barriers to the proper intake of
oxygen. In addition to being impediments to the ingestion of oxygen, they
experience difficulty in performing functions of their own, especially
that of swallowing and speaking. Within the skull and the branchial walls
of the neck are some tissues that, according to their anatomical positions
and relative size, may hinder the intake and utilization of oxygen. They
receive their total oxygen supply directly from the blood circulation via
the hemoglobin. To mention some of them, leaving the explanations of their
functions to the chapter on techniques, they are: the respiratory center,
the parasympathetic nerves, the carotid glands, the thyroglossal duct (if
any is retained), the thyroid, parathyroid and thymus glands; and the ten
sutures that are built around the front of the face, and the lambdoidal,
occipital, and mastoidal sutures, all have a direct bearing on the intake
of oxygen and its utilization.
The soft palate in health is like a
door that opens on inhalation and closes on exhalation. It serves three
important purposes: First, it opens to allow the air to go down the trachea.
Second, it closes so that foodstuff will not block up the nasal canal,
and of even greater importance it prevents carbonic gases, which should
come out of the mouth, from going up into the head in large quantities.
Third, it always maintains a residual amount of air in the nasal canal
so that the eustachian tube and mastoidal sinuses will be kept supplied.
If this soft palate adheres to bones and tissues that form the boundary
of the posterior nares ring, then serious complication will result, since
air is not going into the eustachian tube in sufficient quantities to keep
it open and pass through to the middle ear and mastoidal sinus. If, on
the other hand, the soft palate performs its functions and the eustachian
tubes are prolapsed, atrophied, twisted or hypertrophied with waste matter,
then serious difficulties will arise in the middle ear and the mastoid
process. One result may be the drying up of the mucous membrane, causing
ankylosis of the small bones or the gathering of catarrhal mucous which
soon becomes infected, and when inflammation sets in there is the possibility
of abscesses, mastoiditis, deafness, vertigo and tinnitus aurium. Again,
we repeat, there are many causes, but it is the lack of air and oxygen
that is the basic reason for these troubles.
Then there are the sinuses. The function
of these cavities is to give lightness and balance to the head and to act
as a sounding board for the voice.
OXYGEN TRANSPORT AND OXIDATION IN THE CLOSED CAVITIES.
We can do no more here than attempt
to give a brief sketch of the outline of the method whereby the body receives
its supply of oxygen. Hemoglobin is the main carrier of oxygen to all parts
of the body. The content, dissociation, quantity and quality of the hemoglobin
in the blood are extraneous to our purpose here. It is sufficient to say
that the hemoglobin has an affinity for oxygen and that as it passes through
the lungs it becomes about 96% oxygenated.
After the air has passed through the
nasal canal it enters the lungs. Here an exchange takes place, the venous
blood loses its blue color and becomes red in the membranous plexuses of
the alveoli of the lungs. The gaseous exchange in the lungs takes place
in accordance with the physical laws of diffusion. That is, if a permeable
membrane separates two volumes of gas at different pressures the molecules
of gas will pass through the membrane in both directions until it is equal
on both sides. It goes from a higher to a lower pressure and both become
Oxygen in the body must be of a higher
pressure because when the medium of oxygen around the cell falls it must
replenish it in order to keep at an equilibrium the cell rate activity.
After this exchange of carbon dioxide and oxygen has taken place in the
lungs then the largest portion of oxygen is taken up in chemical combination
with the hemoglobin of the red corpuscles of the blood. The smaller portion
is held in solution by the plasma. These make two compounds, Oxyhemoglobin
and Oxyplasma and these compounds possess the important property that when
pressure of oxygen in the cell surrounding medium falls sufficiently they
begin to dissociate themselves and give off free oxygen to the tissue cells.
The process of dissociation is increased by exercise and by increased temperature
providing it does not rise to a point of coagulating the hemoglobin.
The arterial blood enters the capillaries
nearly saturated with oxygen, and as the blood passes through the capillaries
which only takes about one second the blood loses, it is estimated, about
64% of its oxygen. The loss of oxygen is due to the dissociation of the
oxyhemaglobin owing to the fact that in passing through the capillaries
the blood is brought into exchange with a surrounding lymph cell liquid
in which the oxygen pressure is very low.
After the chemical change has taken
place, then it has long been recognized that a certain small percentage
is held in simple physical solution in the plasma and the capillaries and
that a certain larger additional amount is chemically combined with the
alkali of the blood as a carbonate, most probably a bicarbonate and that
carbon dioxide forms a dissociable compound with hemoglobin and a similar
compound is formed with the proteins of the plasma. We then have this picture.
The arterial blood passes to the tissues of closed cavities nearly saturated
with oxygen as far as the hemoglobin is concerned and the oxygen is held
under tension. The carbon dioxide is less in quantity than on entering
the lungs and exists under smaller pressure which may be assumed to be
the same as that of the carbon dioxide in the alveoli of the lungs.
On the other hand, in the systemic capillaries
the blood comes into diffusion relations with the tissues and direct examination
of the latter shows that the oxygen in them exists under a very small pressure
while a CO2 is present under tension. A high tension of CO2
is explained by the fact that it is being formed in the tissues constantly
as a result of cell metabolism, while the low tension of oxygen is due
to the fact that on entering the tissue this substance is combined in some
way in a chemical compound too firm to dissociate entirely. The physical
conditions are, therefore, such as would cause a stream of CO2
from the tissues to the blood and a stream of oxygen in the other direction.
The method in which the carbon dioxide
is held in solution in the blood has long been a matter of conjecture,
but now it is generally accepted that the conversion of the solids of CO2
into a gas is brought about by an enzyme known, as carbonic anahydrase.
This enzyme is derived from the erythrocytes of the blood.
With the rise of carbonic acid or gaseous
content in the blood the sensory nerve endings in the aortic and carotid
bodies are stimulated and these in turn send impulses to the respiratory
center in the floor of the fourth ventricle of the medulla, which in turn
is stimulated and breathing is quickened to an extent sufficient to meet
the requirements of equilibrium. Thus the perpetual movements of respiration
and expiration are maintained.