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.
This is a condition that leads to general physical disease. It has innumerable causes, all of which should be considered and treated according to indications, which calls into exercise the complete resources of the physician. It more or less accompanies all diseased conditions, acute or chronic, functional or organic, surgical and otherwise.
It is useless to attempt to break up the habits of a nervous, wakeful person by suggestion when the individual lives in open violation of all the known laws of health, or where the system is overloaded with toxic products due to indigestion, caused by overeating, with fermentation, deficient elimination, etc.
Meet every indication in the individual case at hand, and, in conjunction with other sane, sensible, rational advice or suggestion, hypnotic suggestion will prove indispensable in many cases.
Make it a rule to regulate your patient's diet, his drinking, and his habits as well as his thinking. The question of food and drink habits, etc., will be briefly considered in a separate chapter.
There are, however, numerous individuals among all classes upon whom the cares of life have borne heavily, who, try as they will, with their imperfect knowledge of self-control and lack of self-reliance, can not keep back subjective impressions which crowd themselves upon their consciousness when they retire for sleep, and the darkness renders them more conscious of their trials.
Many there are who are still waiting for special divine intervention to satisfy them that their souls are saved. Doubt hovers over them and disturbs their peace of mind. Others have not learned the beauty, and glory, and salutary effects of work and useful employment as a means of strengthening and developing both mind and body.
An unoccupied, idle brain is the reflector of a morbid imagination, upon which flit and dance all kinds of annoying mental pictures, to the discomfort of the individual who fain would find relief in sleep.
In rare instances an overexpenditure of nerve energy, through work, or worry, or dissipation, prevents the individual from possessing that inherent quality of nerve force sufficient to exercise self-control. Uncontrolled emotions, in the form of sentiments both selfish and altruistic, also contribute their influence to keep awake the restless neurotic.
An irritable nervous system, either hereditary or acquired, is transmitting constantly afferent and efferent impulses to and from the brain, and throughout the entire human frame subjective sense perceptions are interpreted by the individual as nervousness, sickness, pain, disease, etc.
Nutrition is disturbed, and toxins of metabolism - or, more properly, catabolism - are being manufactured to interfere with all bodily functions and render the sufferer miserable.
In conjunction with dietetic, medicinal, and hygienic treatment, suggestion in the hypnotic state should be used if necessary.
Get your patient to relax every muscle, and breathe deeply and rhythmically for several times in succession, and then with one or two drops of chloroform or any other placebo - or without them, as you choose - tell him that you are "going to put him to sleep; that, as you apply this remedy, he will get quiet all over, get drowsy and sleepy, and go to sleep, and awake feeling better."
Then, to hypnotize him, make suggestions as advised in the chapter on the technic of inducing the hypnotic state. After he is hypnotized, while you sit beside the unfortunate whose nervous system you have soothed into quietude and passivity, talk to him, using suggestions somewhat like these:
"You are resting quietly, sleeping soundly, breathing deeply, perfectly relaxed and passive all over. Now, as you lie in this passive state, with all tension relieved, while I am talking to you, you feel your nerves getting steady, and quiet, and strong. All nervousness is going away, and by the time I count ten your nerves will be quiet, and steady, and strong all over; your nervous equilibrium will be completely re-established from head to foot. One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten; your nerves are steady, and quiet, and strong all over.
"Now, after this treatment, whenever you think of yourself, you will find that your nerves are steady, and quiet, and strong.
"At bedtime you will relax, close your eyes, and think only of sleep. You will go to sleep, and sleep soundly all night long You will awake in the morning feeling refreshed and rested.
"After this you will be thirsty, and drink more water than ever before in your life. Every two hours from morning until you retire at night you will drink a glass of water. The increased amount of fluid will cause an increased action of all your bodily functions. Your skin and kidneys, liver and bowels, will eliminate more freely.
"You will be easy and comfortable all over. You will enjoy eating, and work, and exercise, and gain in weight, and be happier, feel stronger, and be glad that you are living."
I then awake the patient, and give him conscious advice how to eat, how to drink, how to exercise, and how to relax so that he can go to sleep. I give him a reason for all the advice that I have given, as well as a reason for the suggestion given him in that induced condition of passivity.
I am often asked, "Do you mean to say that the suggestions will be effective just because they are made to the patient who is hypnotized?" I say we make sense impressions on the brain cortex while the patient is in the hypnotic condition, that are reproduced in the individual's thought habits. The reproductions of these ideas are autosuggestions. When you substitute helpful autosuggestions for adverse and harmful autosuggestions, you have been of the greatest help that one human being can be to another. You have put your patient in control of himself. You have changed his habits of thinking, and by this means new habits of thought and action in every-day life are formed. You have put your patient better in possession of himself, and better enabled him to meet the exigencies of every-day life.