This section is from the book "Handbook Of Suggestive Therapeutics, Applied Hypnotism, Psychic Science", by Henry S. Munro. Also available from Amazon: Handbook of Suggestive Therapeutics, Applied Hypnotism, Psychic Science.
It goes without saying that a good clinician has a wonderful advantage over the individual who has not had sufficient training and the necessary experience to interpret the symptoms of a disease, and quickly couple those symptoms with its etiology, pathology, prognosis, and treatment.
As has been stated in previous pages, suggestive therapeutics should be applied with an understanding and comprehension of the anatomical and physiological relations of the organism as well as of the pathological conditions to be alleviated.
Good men in our profession who do not sufficiently appreciate the psychic factor in therapeutics are frequently so engrossed with pathology that they forget to tell the patient what he can expect in the way of recovery and to keep this idea constantly impressed upon him. They do, however, often impress him with the seriousness of his condition in a detailed explanation of its pathology, but they fail to inspire him with a conviction of recovery. Such physicians leave the patient depressed, and if, forsooth, he happens to fall into the hands of a quack who has sufficient personality to lift him out of the depression thrust upon him, and recovery is not incompatible with the pathology of his disease, the patient "is cured" and the physician's reputation is injured.
As bearing upon this subject, in a discussion of a paper read by me in one of our larger cities, one of the best known men in the medical profession thus expressed himself: "Now, gentlemen, you know as well as I that there are a great many people in this city that have been treated by some of our very best physicians for months and years, but satisfactory results have failed to be attained by them. Yet, those same patients, after going the rounds from one physician to another, finally land in the office of some one of the notorious quacks in the city, and do obtain the relief so vainly sought at our hands. When we know that such things as this exist all about us, it seems the time has come when we can afford to study some of the secrets of the quack, for what they can do for morbid processes we also can do."
At that same discussion another physician, in the course of her remarks, said: "Doctor Munro dares to speak out aloud what all thinking physicians have recognized, but do not express, except at low breath when among themselves."
This line of therapeutics is undergoing a rapid evolution, and the true, and useful, and good that are in it are being sifted from the false and useless. Those of our profession who take a stand against it are doing much to encourage the followers of the modern "creeds" and "cults," "ists" and "paths," who go to extremes in their views of the influence of the mind over the body.
People easily believe that which it is to their interest to believe. Physicians are educated to their view that medicine is the natural recourse of the sick man, and it is hard for them to recognize the psychologic factor because it happens to be the basis of all forms of quackery. Yet, the thinking portion of the American people are on the alert, and they are ever ready to accept and support anything true and useful, it matters not how strong their prejudice may have been. Christian science, Weltmerism, etc., have served a useful purpose. They have stimulated the people to reflect and exercise more self-control, but they have made, and are destined yet to make, many gross and painful blunders before their fanatical zeal is quelled.
In several instances within my knowledge disastrous results have followed the vigorous methods of those who use massage as a means of suggestion. In a case of acute articular rheumatism in a little boy of twelve, the inflammation which followed this treatment by vigorous massage was such that an amputation of the limb was necessary to save the little fellow's life.
In a case of diphtheria the methods employed served only to increase the inflammatory exudate, and a speedy death followed, whereas the timely employment of antitoxin in diphtheria has reduced the mortality of that disease to a very small death rate.
A case of acute mastoiditis, resulting from a neglected middle-ear disease, was treated by the methods of the Christian scientist, whereby surgical intervention was withheld until too late to be effective.
In several instances it has come to my knowledge where appendicular abscesses were ruptured by massage with fatal consequences, to say nothing of children with gastroenterocolitis who died under Christian science psychotherapeutics, while legitimate, prophylactic, antiseptic, medicinal, and dietetic methods were withheld.
I once witnessed the removal of sixty-five stones from the gallbladder of a woman who had been taught to ignore such "errors of mortal mind," but, after becoming weak, jaundiced, and anemic, with all bodily functions disturbed, she at last yielded to the rational advice of her friends in time to resort to surgical procedures for relief and recovered.
At a Christian science service not long since, just in front of me sat a young man who was rapidly losing his hair as a result of an infection of the hair follicles with the germ which causes seborrheic eczema. The psychic effect of his religion upon him was great, but the germs went on with their work just the same Christian science was held before the attention of the audience by readings, songs, and prayer as a sovereign remedy for sin, sickness, and death. Over on my left sat a lady in mourning. With her head drooped and lips closed tightly, she sat there, not at all receptive, and took her medicine, though her expression showed a consciousness that realized the mockery of all that was receiving her attention. Her face was sad because her husband was dead, and this experience was setting up a mental reaction to all the negations that fell upon her ears.
Over on my right sat a gentleman with eyes open like full moons, and his lower jaw dropped as if it had no muscles to support it, with a well-fixed gaze upon the reader of the suggestions that had been prepared to hypnotize the audience. He was suffering with locomotor ataxia, and, though credulous, receptive, and suggestible in the most complete sense, he walked away upon two "errors of mortal mind," usually called crutches.