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.
He took my advice kindly, and two weeks afterward informed me that he felt like a new man. He had been so completely occupied in getting individuals to "save their souls," that he had forgotten the present salvation of his own character sufficient to control his bodily appetites.
I was once introduced to an aged physician, then ninety-one years old, who had just returned from a six-mile ride on horseback on a visit to a patient in the country. I inquired why he did not leave such trips to "the boys" in the profession, pointing to two physicians who were themselves between sixty and seventy years old. I shall never forget his answer. He died of pneumonia several months afterward, but that answer of his contained a fine lecture on psychotherapeutics. His reply was: "I don't want to die. Don't you know that as long as a man is at work he is thinking, and that when he is working and thinking he is using his brain cells, and that the brain cells, kept in constant use, give strength to every part of his body?"
For sixty-five years this physician had kept in harness, frequently making trips on horseback for sixty miles in the early part of his professional career, and he furnished a good illustration of the salutary effect of continuous exercise and useful employment.
The only safe way to control our emotions, appetites, and passions is to direct our energies into channels of wholesome and useful effort, whether it be physical or mental effort. The result is strengthening to both mind and body, provided it is done cheerfully and with a purpose.
The emotional part of our nature, when guided by reason, is expressed in enthusiasm, a quality which is essential to success in any line of effort. Be it man or woman, the continuous and persistent pursuit of some steady work or useful employment will react as health and strength-producing factors to both mind and body. This very effort conserves our energy, guides and controls the emotions, and cultivates all the positive qualities of human character. The proficiency which comes from continuous persistent effort achieves a self-reliance that eradicates fear.
Worry is only our own recognition of our inadequacy or inability to be equal to the exigencies of life. It shows a lack of self-reliance, without which man is but the plaything of chance, a puppet of circumstances.
Envy, and anger, and jealousy are all characteristics of weakness and incompetency. Such negative qualities can find no place in the life and character of a real man or woman.
There is a retroactive degeneracy of wealth which, as history has shown, proves the destroyer of the idle, the proud, and the self-conceited.
The sooner every human being can learn that the real elements that create health, and strength, and happiness, and success in life are inherent within him, and that reason should be the guiding star by which he should direct, and control, and develop, and use the potentialities within his own organism, the sooner will he realize that upon him alone depends the responsibility of so living that he can maintain sufficient resistive power in the cells of his organism for health to become a habit, and happiness and success the rule of his life.
We have only a few medicines that can be relied upon in their application to the treatment of disease, and in some instances it is really remarkable how well people get along without any medicine at all.
In one little city of 25,000 inhabitants the physicians informed me that a nonmedical practitioner in that town was doing more work than any two physicians in the place. He had taught school for a good many years, and had gained quite a fund of general information in regard to psychotherapeutics, dietetics, hydrotherapy, massage, exercise, etc., which, coupled with a good personality, enabled him to practice with remarkable success.
Now, I am not a therapeutic nihilist. We should use medicine when indicated, and there are conditions in which it is absolutely indispensable, but in the great majority of cases that come to us for aid we should display more confidence in our patient's brain plasm and in the recuperative powers inherent in the cells of his organism under proper conditions to re-establish a condition of health.
Without the co-operation of the patient, it matters not what be our therapeutic measures, we are handicapped very seriously. It is not what we do for the patient with materia medica agencies that is the greatest factor in therapeutics, but the environment which we create for him and what we get him perhaps unconsciously to do for himself. If his brain cells do not respond to the sense impressions made upon them so as to get him to act upon and execute our ideas both consciously and subconsciously, then may we expect very little benefit to be derived from the administration of medicine. It is what he eats and what he drinks, how he acts and the way he thinks, together with breathing and relaxation, fresh air, pure water, work, and sunshine, that are the real helps to get a sick man well.
Thousands of the ablest physicians place little or no confidence in more than a few medicines aside from the confidence that the patient has in their efficacy. Is it not time that we should deal with our patients squarely and honestly, and, while giving medicine when indicated, either for its physiological or psychological effects, let them know that the real source of health and happiness depends upon their own control and direction of their conscious and unconscious psychic activities into normal, healthful lines of thought and conduct? Where an individual needs such advice, and the majority of them do, I should deem myself untrue as his physician and false to my Hippocratic oath, did I not express my honest convictions relative to the real elements that contribute to his health and well-being.
Thousands of American people today are magnificent examples of what intelligent, systematic, physical exercise can do in the way of developing a vigorous, robust, healthy body. A large percentage of our most successful physicians are physical athletes as the result of intelligent physical training.
As yet not one person out of five knows how to breathe, or realizes that sufficient oxygen taken into his lungs from the inspired air is as important as the food that he eats.
Water - pure, wholesome water - as a functional stimulant, a toxin eliminant, and health-producing agent, has not occupied the place it deserves in our therapeutic armamentarium, or in the appreciation of the people, whose privilege it is to use it without our advice.
Most of our people still overtax their nervous systems with an excess of meats as an article of diet, and thus maintain a lowered power of both mind and body on account of such indiscretions and excesses. The tests at Yale University, made by Professor Irving Fisher, have proved beyond all question that "a low protein, non-flesh or nearly nonflesh dietary," is conducive to a greater mental and physical endurance than the ordinary American diet.
The use of the corset as a fruitful source of disease yet needs to be impressed upon the minds of our women.
Intemperance or lack of self-control, and the use of reason in eating, dress, business activities, religious worship, and sexual matters, and emotions of all kinds and passions of every description, should all be kept in mind by the physician who intends to make such suggestions as will redound to the greatest benefit of his patients. Self-control is humanity's greatest, highest, noblest achievement.