The Mind has a great Influence upon the Body and Health - Any Cult that Denies the Existence of Disease is a Danger - The " New Thinker," however, Cultivates Optimism and a Healthy Mind, which are invaluable Adjuncts to Medical and Surgical Treatment
Faith-healing and mind-curing is a subject which has aroused a great deal of interest during the last few years, and medical men are utilising suggestive treatment for the relief of pain, for the treatment of nervous diseases, dypsomania, and the drug habit.
Apart from the scientific aspect of the case, however, it is generally recognised that a healthy optimism is one of the great powers for good in the world, and that mind influence can be utilised to relieve suffering. Indeed, the mental attitude of a patient will influence the course of a disease to a greater extent than the drugs which he swallows.
Influence of the Mind ...
Associated with "spiritual healing," however, there is much quackery, and the majority of educated people regard the whole question with considerable and justifiable suspicion. To say, as the Christian scientists do, that disease does not exist, is an erroneous and almost criminal mis-statement of fact. Faith-healing can never take the place of medical and surgical science, and can only be supplementary to medical treatment. At the same time, mind-curing, moral treatment, or psychotherapy are potent weapons for dealing with disease, and in nervous cases especially it is part of the doctor's work to encourage and strengthen the moral fibre of his patient.
Many people suffer from what is called "functional nervous disease." In such cases the body is healthy in the sense that the organs are sound and that no trace of physical disease is apparent, but, none the less, the patient may be very ill. Certain cases of neurasthenia and hysteria, depression and "nerves," may be classified commonly as "functional nervous diseases."
Every form of faith-healing is, in a sense, suggestive. All great doctors possess suggestive power over their patients, and a sick person often shows signs of improvement immediately after seeing the doctor, and before " treatment " which he prescribed has had time to take effect. The sick person requires moral treatment and influence as much as drugs and diet. The Christian scientist is, however, a danger, because he declares that by faith alone he can cure organic disease. Unfortunately, moreover, he induces many ignorant people to believe in him. Hundreds of deaths per annum, therefore, are the direct result of delayed treatment in serious cases which have drifted into the pathway of the spiritual healing quack. A germ of truth, however, does underlie the faith-healing principle, for the mind has power over physical suffering, and does influence the body. Faith, or the lack of it, therefore, will affect the vitality for better or for worse.
"New Thought" and the Power of "Suggestion"
For this reason the so-called "new thought" movement is gaining ground in England as well as in America. Its advocates do not deny the existence of disease, but they emphasise the influence of auto-suggestion. They say that we can suggest to ourselves that we are well; we can cultivate optimism and healthy-minded-ness; we can educate our will.
In this doctrine, undoubtedly, there is both sense and truth, for many people are ill and unhappy mainly because they regard life from a wrong mental attitude; because they dwell upon their ailments and, by mere force of self-suggestion, degenerate into a state of chronic ill-health. They give way to worry, morbid thoughts, and foolish fears, and soon deteriorate in mind, body, and soul.
The effect of emotion upon bodily health is well known to every student of medicine.