《指尖上的思想》頭醫始創人William Garner Sutherland的故事

夢幻研究的開始,是驚人、危險和冒著生命危險的 – 就是以自己的頭顱骨結構作實驗…


Passages from the book With Thinking Fingers: THE STORY OF WILLIAM GARNER SUTHERLAND by his wife Adah Strand Sutherland.

One morning, on his way to class, he stopped before a display cabinet in North Hall. He always did so when time permitted. In the cabinet were bones from Dr. Still’s collection. His attention centered, as it often did, on the articulated bones of the skull. There were mounted so that they were shown in correct relationship, but slightly separated, to make the nature of the joints more observable. But this morning was unlike other mornings. As he looked at these bones a peculiarly arresting, compelling quality held him. Recalling it, he told:

“ As I stood looking and thinking in the channel of Dr. Still’s philosophy, my attention was called to the beveled articular surfaces of the sphenoid bone. Suddenly there came a thought—I call it a guiding thought—‘beveled, like the gills of a fish, indicating articular mobility for a respiratory mechanism.’”

He told of asking himself, “How crazy can a fellow’s thinking get? Mobility? In the bones of the skull? A dome such as that?” And how, even as the incongruity of the thought annoyed him, it did intrigue him. But he shrugged it aside and hurried on to class and things important to the increase of learning.

To his disgust, riddance was not so simple. The “crazy thought” kept encroaching: Beveled…like the gills of a fish…indicating articular mobility…for a respiratory mechanism. Its persistence was irritating. he told of resorting to self-ridicule and self-argument as a means of self-discipline. “Forget it, you chump, and get yourself back into line. You know the texts all tell you the bones of the skull are immovably jointed or knit, except for the mandible.” Yes, he knew…”but why that beveling, if not for a purpose? Couldn’t that purpose be provision for movement?”

He was stern with himself. “It is not and you know it. Why try to reason at cross purposes with sounds information?” He finally subdued his controversial questionings, rammed his thoughts back into more orthodox grooves, so he supposed, passed his tests with proficiency, and received his coveted degree. -p13

Quit hedging and get going!…With that mandate issued to himself Dr. Sutherland finally admitted that no longer could he dismiss the challenge of determining that there is no mobility in the bones of the skull by acting as though the challenge did not exist. The skull being a unit in a total mechanism, nothing that was concerned with it would be without reason, according to his thinking. If so, then why the beveling of those skull bones if not for a purpose?

The fact that each bone throughout the skull was beveled reciprocally, and that such arrangement could permit gliding movement, and allow motion at the serrations fo the skull, assumed great significance in his reasoning. -p18

Although the project had commenced with the expectation of proving that there is no mobility between separate bones of the skull, innumerable mechanical features were detected that seemed to indicate exactly the opposite. In amazement Dr. Sutherland realized that the idea of possible movement no longer seemed entirely absurd. The impact of this broke into his absorption with a jolt that caused him to ask of himself, “Have I been carried away by the novelty of this? Am I simply deluding myself? Has this any practical purpose?” Even as he questioned he knew he could not halt nor turn aside. His directional signal implacably pointed: Forward!

The rigid thoroughness of Dr. Sutherland’s investigative procedures is shown in this self-imposed requirement. In his scrutiny of each serration, of each plane and angle on each cranial and facial bone, he had at hand an illustrated mechanical text as a source for reference. With it, and the bone, he sought, checked and familiarized himself with applicable mechanisms. The task resembled a stock-taking inventory. From this scrutiny he sighted such services as corrugations running transversely, diagonally, friction gears, ball and soccer, pintle, pulley, fulcrums, and other designs that would seem to be without purpose in an inflexible dome.

The question has been asked, “Was it necessary or even reasonable to carry investigation that far? To consider mechanisms so minutely?” For Dr. Sutherland it was. He seemed not to be satisfied with less.

Even the least mechanically-minded person would assume that various mechanical devices that display provisions for movement would work together to provide varieties of movement. As Dr. Sutherland studied that phase he found provisions for gliding movements, for rotations, rocking movements, shuttle movements and many other types. This microscopic study resulted in a sharply delineated lens-like mental picture of the cranium that permitted visualization by segments, by units, and as a whole. -p19

Suddenly a door opened through the medium of a textbook, and a familiar sentence came to life teeming with significance because of the new trend in his thinking…. The text statement that confronted him so startlingly through the new meaning he saw within it pointed out that the bones at the base of the skull originate in cartilage. But those of the skull vault originate in membrane. This knowledge was not new to him. Its application was. In it he now spied a provision for flexibility. The logic of his personal reasoning appeared to be mechanically sound. It followed this channel: If there is articular mobility at the base of the skull, it has to be compensated for somewhere, somehow. And the vault bones could provide that compensation because they are formed in membrane. The result of such a coordinated service would be: Flexibility. -p20

The Bone Period

Although it was present, my reference to the early years of our marriage as The Bone Period, will not convey the element of romance. Almost every unplanned moment found Will occupied with cranial and facial bones, disarticulating, assembling, studying them. The sphenoid bone became a household pet. Or was it the temporal? Perhaps they all did. -p32

For investigative purposes Dr. Sutherland decided to consider the frontal bones of the adult skull as two bones rather than one…. This led, for a time, to the sleuth like activity of scouting for midlines upon various brows in dining places, hotel lounges, terminals, in fact wherever there were people. There were few dreadful instances when a problematic forehead was sighted and Will forgot that an animate person was attached to it. Then the victim’s evident uneasiness, or my not-so-gentle prod would reduce the observer to a similar state of discomfort. It probably was the most unintentional rudeness to which one could plead guilty.

Fo quite some time during this period a puzzling circumstance occurred quite frequently at the office. Often when I arrived there, if Dr. Sutherland was not occupied with a patient, there would be a subdued commotion in the treatment room and he would appear, his unconcern too studied to be convincing. His hair would have the look of slapdash grooming. No questions were asked and no information volunteered. It was very strange.

Then one day, under the same conditions, Will appeared but this time not quite as usual. His head was lavishly swathed in a weird combination of heavy terry towels and clumsy leather straps. He resembled a foreign potentate and the effect was terribly funny. Realizing that his turban had not been removed he confided, “I’ve started some experiments that I hope will verify some of my cranial theories. They are peculiar and I’ve said nothing about them. But if you have time, you could be of help.” -p33

This request was a beginning step that was to lead to an undreamed of period of experimental cranial research. Research that eventually acquired alarming, dangerous and threatening proportions. Experiments upon living structure—the cranium of my husband!

My minor participation commenced when Will placed my fingers upon his cranium in the manner he wished, supplying pertinent anatomical designations for my enlightenment….His most frequent admonition, as it was in subsequent instruction to others, related to tactile application, to those thinking fingers which are an integral part of authentic osteopathic procedure. He emphasized the need for lightness of tough: “Lighter, lighter…gentle…like the lighting of a bird upon a twig.” Or, bringing it within the range of my experience, “Delicately, as when you play ‘To A Wild Rose.’” -p34

In Dr. Sutherland’s self-termed “crazy idea” he had heard “beveled like the gills of a fish” and had paced his step to a study of bevelings. He had heard “indicating articular mobility” and had found evidence of it by steps both visual and factual. He had heard “for a respiratory mechanism” and wondered to what unfoldments his next steps would be alerted because of it.

Convinced that the reciprocal tension mechanism hypothesis played a conspicuous role in the respiratory mechanism, he saw it as necessary to the articular movement that is required in the alternating changes from inhalation to exhalation in the service of breathing. “But where,” he reflected, “are the indications for a primary respiratory mechanism?”

It was not his custom to ask himself hypothetical questions, shrug them off, and walk away. He did not do so now. Instead, he again turned to familiar texts…. -p35

He appeared with a textbook in hand. This is what he read aloud:

All the physiological centers including that of respiration, are located in the floor of the fourth ventricle.

To him that statement indicated that here was the primary physiological center of respiration. If so, he would be compelled to regard the diaphragmatic respiratory mechanism as secondary, a thought not in accord with general acceptance. -p36

He gave to the strategic area of the fourth ventricle the same analytical study accorded all preceding steps. As a result he came up with a theory that would have to be tried out if it was to achieve credence, and this would have to be done upon his cranium…. Because provisions for articular mobility now were so apparent and acceptable to him, he believed he might, through some suitable appliance, succeed in compressing the fourth ventricle—his own! -p37

Snip, snip, as moleskin bandages are cut. Stitch, stitch, as moleskin appendages are sewn to them. Shears crunch thought resilient rubber, leather, felt: a football helmet is reduced in thickness and depth. Chips and dust mingle. Huffing and puffing Will saws into a wooden chopping bowl: its contour must be changed. Catcher’s mitts are laced together for purposes no manufacturer intended. Lenthy strips are stapled, eyelets punched, buckles added. Leather pads and pillows—small, large, flat, round, are filled, and their edges laced with thongs.

With no accurate understanding of the use to which they would be put, I helped in lacing together two catcher’s mitts, and observed as a buckle was attached to one, and an adjustable strap to the other. Will then rested his head upon the laced mitts to test their contour which was similar to the V-shape headrest of a dental chair. -p39

“I wonder what Will will be doing if not busy with a patient?” That was my thought each time I turned office ward. One day upon arriving there I learned with startling abruptness that the “doing” had been done. That it had involved the catcher’s mitts and their leverage strap. But Will, not the apparatus, was my concern. His color was unnatural, his appearance feverish, and his manner disturbingly preoccupied.

He explained that the experiment to compress the fourth ventricle had just had its initial tryout. He told of lying down, his head in the V-shape headrest; of imposing compression by gradual tension of buckle and strap. He described the sensations he had experienced as he approached near-unconsciousness. And that although weakened he had succeeded in releasing the leverage strap. “A sensation of warmth followed,” he explained. “And also a remarkable movement of fluid, up and down the spinal column, throughout the ventricles, and surrounding the brain.”

During this experiment two surprises had occurred. One seemed to be a fluctuant movement of the cerebrospinal fluid as opposed to the orthodox belief that the movement is circulatory.

Of the other surprise he exclaimed, “Believe it or not, there also was movement of my sacrum! What are we getting into? Is there no end to this?”

To recheck and verify its effects, this compression experiment was performed several times. The repetitive pattern that was sustained made it impossible to dismiss the results as coincidental or imaginary.

Next he decided to experiment with restricting the mobility of his sacrum….

Having acquired an “extension” sacrum by the use of pads in studying effects, Will decided to acquire, temporarily, and “extension” head, if possible. Many of the heads which he observed he classified as “extension type”— long, narrow, with high vault. -p44

He used for this experiment a catcher’s mitt with a leverage strap arrangement similar to the one used for the compression of the fourth ventricle. As compression was applied laterally, gradual change did occur. Although extremely slight, almost minimal in fact, it was perceptible even to my inexpert observation. A narrowing of the orbital cavities was evident, and it was necessary for the mirror to be drawn closer than ordinarily would be the need, for Will to see clearly.

Once more new findings led to new appraisals of familiar things. One was reconsideration of a bone which Dr. Sutherland had supposed he was sufficiently familiar, that irregular wedge-shaped bone at the base of the skull: the sphenoid bone. Now that he saw this bone as having probably participation in the service of cranial mobility the implications became so exciting, and Will’s reactions to it so contagious, that the sphenoid bone took on a personality all its own. What it does do, or what it does not do the it should do, involves us all.

For one thing, it articulates with eleven other bones. This takes on tremendous importance when one considers the service of mobility, and that these bones are meant to combine into a harmonious working unit. Will reasoned that if through some circumstance the sphenoid bone was in apposition, or subjected to a portion of fixation, it then could influence the facial bones, including the orbital cavities and contour of the face, in detrimental ways. -p45

Sutherland’s Fulcrum

There was a type of cranial lesion, or strain, which according to Dr. Sutherland’s theory, frequently “occurred, through falls and other forces” contacting the back of the head.” That is my unprofessional way of stating it. Will correctly spoke of it as the “supra occipital area of the skull.” Believing that this accounts for numerous traumatic effect, he felt compelled to put his conjecture to test. The following experiment is typical of others that followed.

One end of the treatment table was pushed against the wall. Next, a formidable looking hook was inserted into the wall a short distance above the table and leather straps were attached to the butter bowl mechanism on Will’s head, and fastened securely to the hook in the wall. When these were pulled taut they led in an inclined direction to the head mechanism. Will said of it “…while lying on my back with the supraocciput in contact with the butter-bowl-strap mechanism, and while holding the mastoid portions firmly with the palms of my hands, I gradually pushed with both feet against the wall.”

We had no concept of time as it relates to this experiement. Our reasons, however, were not identical. To watch the toughness of those straps increase as foot pressure increased was frightening. As subtle changes occurred Will had me reinforce his hands with mine. But more difficult by far, was his insistence in weakened voice, that tension upon the straps must be increased….

Probably no great period of time actually lapsed until Will said in a voice shaky and remote, “That’s enough.” Evidently his goal was achieved. He had acquired the type of membranous articular strain (occipito-mastoid type) that he had intended, with “serious complications” accompanying it. -p56

During the reaction that followed Will was not himself in several ways. He realized this and discussion of the symptoms was possible. He was extremely nervous, tense, and sharply irritable. A striking contrast to his usual poise, calm and thoughtfulness. His color was variable, quite drained at times, and his facial expression was altered. Telling of it later he said, “Yes, I began ‘seeing things.’” Because he wished to analyze reactions and effects unhurriedly he did not reduce the strain immediately. The sense of unreality associated with those days is present each time that strange interval is recalled.

Among his own experiences following production of a self-imposed strain, nasal sinuses that had always behaved as they should flared up. Vision, too, varied with restrictive tests. Concentration, which was outstanding, was noticeably disturbed. Headaches, almost unknown to him as a personal experience, often were nagging and intense. Occasionally, and this was most unnatural, brusqueness and irritability were almost intimidating, and he was strangely remote. -p56

Listening to the Silence

Each day, and this was frequent, he turned to what he alluded to as “pause-rest” periods; periods of silence with no outward evidence of activity. This was done with utmost simplicity and naturalness. From these contemplative oases there came some of his most productive reasoning and results. It is why he said with entire sincerity, “This cranial thought is not mine.” He liked the phrase “listening to the silence” and used as an analogy the composer who makes as powerful use of silences as he does of sounds—of “communicative silences.” -p66