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.
"Good morning; what seems to be the trouble," said I to a negro girl, aged about 30.
"Got de fallin' of the womb, Doctor."
"How do you know that is your trouble?"
"Doctor Blank said that was what was the matter with me."
"I see; how long has Doctor Blank been treating you?"
"Off and on for five months, Doctor."
"And what has he done to relieve your womb trouble?"
"Put some medicine in my womb on an instrument with some cotton on it, and put some cotton rolls to hold my womb up, and gave me medicine to take every three hours."
1 I was at the time living in the South.
"Do you ever use a hot douche - use hot water with a syringe?" Yes, sir; I use that layin' on my back for fifteen minutes twice a week."
On examination I found a decidedly retroflexed and retroverted uterus, bound down by adhesions, with heat, pain, and tenderness, and her general temperature was 100.5° F.
"Have you been able to work any at all for the past several months?"
"Powerful little, Doctor. I tries to do the cookin' for a small family and only cooks two meals a day, but I gets awful tremily and weak, and I don't sleep at night."
This woman was neurasthenic, suffering with insomnia, but little appetite and poor digestion, anemic and improperly nourished.
She needed her time to make a living; to give her scientific gynecological and surgical treatment was out of the question, for the facilities were not at hand in that locality to care for such patients. I attempted to lift the uterus from out of its impacted position, having put the patient in the knee-chest position, and applied a Hodge-Smith pessary to hold it. Yes, I displayed bad judgment by attempting to use a pessary in that case, but the Woman needed help, and this was a step toward giving her a little more permanent relief than the continued use of the tampon. My effort to correct the displacement and introduce a pessary gave her much pain, and caused her to be extremely nervous, whereupon I hypnotized her and she went into a profound state of suggestibility.
Here was an ignorant colored woman, and my suggestions to her were about as follows:
"Now, Mary, you are sound asleep. Sleep on quietly and get the benefit of this treatment. As you lie here (stroking her forehead) your nerves are getting steady, and quiet, and strong all over. All nervousness and weakness is going away, and your nerves are getting steady, and quiet, and strong all over. By the time I count ten your nerves will be steady, and quiet, and strong from your head clear down to your feet. One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten, and your nerves are steady, and quiet, and strong. You are perfectly easy and comfortable all over.
"Now, as you lie here and as I stroke your abdomen you feel all pain, or soreness, or tenderness, or congestion about your womb and ovaries going away. The blood vessels that carry blood to your womb are shrinking and drying up, getting smaller and smaller. After this, every minute, and every hour, and every day you will become stronger and stronger, the blood will circulate freely in your stomach, and you will be hungry and enjoy eating, and your food will be digested, and you will get stronger and stronger every day. You will drink water freely, a glassful at least every two hours. Your kidneys, and liver, and bowels will act freely. Your bowels will move every morning after breakfast. Whether you feel like it or not, you will go to the toilet after breakfast and your bowels will move freely.
"You will have no more pain; be easy, sleep well, enjoy eating, and improve in health every day. Whenever you think of yourself, you will find that you are getting better, growing stronger, that you are perfectly easy, and you will not be troubled any more."
Do you ask me if I had confidence in those suggestions to believe that they would be effective? I answer that question by saying that I had sufficient desire to benefit that poverty-stricken unfortunate outcast for me to exercise the will to give the suggestions that I wanted to be effective. The confidence was all on her part. She had had faith enough in me to save the whole, of the previous week's hard-earned money and send it to me, with a request that I come to see her, "please."
I easily awakened her from the treatment, with the parting suggestion, "you will get better every day now, Mary."
I fully intended calling to see her again after two or three days, but the pressure of my professional engagements for the following week caused me to forget her until about ten days afterward. Then I thought to myself that I had treated her kindly, and, if she wanted me, I should have been notified.
Eleven and a half months after that visit I received a call to another house in another portion of my town, and found a colored girl suffering with malarial fever. As I removed the thermometer from her mouth I remarked, "I have seen you before. Where did I see you and what was your trouble then?"
"You done forgot me, Doctor? Nobody ever did do as much good for any one as you did for me with that one visit you made me most a year ago."
Further questioning recalled to my memory that this was the girl whom I had hypnotized nearly a year before. I had often reproached myself for the unscientific procedure in attempting to use a pessary under such conditions and of my neglect of the case afterward. I had supposed that she or some physician had removed the hard rubber pessary and that was the end of it so far as I was concerned.
"Why, girl, have you worn that instrument all the while and did not consult me about it ? Don't you know that is liable to do you great injury?"
"Fo' God, Doctor, I ain't had a speck of pain since you walked out of that house, and I been doin' my work regular up to yesterday."
On examination I found that the pessary was transversely across the vagina, with the uterus sharply retroflexed over it, acting only as a foreign body, but that all congestion, soreness, tenderness, hyperplastic condition, etc., were gone. A very careful examination proved that there was no erosion or ulceration caused to the parts by the instrument, which had served to keep up a most unsanitary condition. Sexual intercourse, she informed me, had not been painful in the least, but, on the other hand, was attended with normal gratification, whereas the act had been intolerable prior to my first visit.
I removed the pessary and gave her another treatment by hypnotic suggestion, suggesting to her that she would never have the slightest pain or inconvenience from her womb after that, since the instrument was removed. Her malarial fever rapidly yielded to treatment by calomel and quinin, and when this woman was last seen, about two months afterward, she had experienced no more inconvenience.
After that experience, ten or twelve years ago, it fell to my lot to treat a great many gynecological cases, the majority of which, on account of poverty and lack of necessary facilities for radical surgical intervention, were treated conservatively.
I recall a number of cases among both whites and colored where I have relieved by hypnotic suggestions all the painful and nervous symptoms accompanying a retrodisplaced uterus.
These poor unfortunate women, who did not have money to afford radical, scientific surgical and gynecological assistance, were enabled to meet all the exigencies of life and be comfortable and happy, carrying a dislocated organ whose reproductive function was not a necessity to their happiness.
As showing the far-reaching effect of hypnotic suggestion in a class of cases usually not considered amenable to benefit by psychological methods of treatment, I report the following three cases: