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.
The success of psychotherapy in the general treatment of disease is due to the fact that we can influence the functional activity of every cell in the human body, and that such can be done the author has demonstrated to the satisfaction of five thousand well-known American physicians.
According to Hammond, of New York, 75 percent of the patients that consult the nerve specialists are neurasthenics. A well-known western pathologist remarked in the presence of the writer that 75 percenl ofall neurasthenics had sufficient degenerative changes in the structural dementi of the appendix to justify operation, and he farther remarked that fully 75 percent of the American people are neurasthenics. If he had let his estimate include also the psychasthenics and other persons living minus that degree of resistive power in the cells of their organism commensurate with a normal healthful state of mind and body, it is quite likely that his estimate is not too high. It is from the neurasthenic and psychasthenic class that the great army of tuberculous victims are being recruited; they furnish the great majority of patients in our surgical wards; from them pneumonia reaps its greatest harvest; it is from this class that the stomach specialist, the gynecologist, and even the general practitioner have their greatest following.
1 Edmund J. A. Rogers: Medical Psychology. - Journal of the American Medical Association, June 12, 1899.
Inherent within the protoplasmic elements of the human organism is latent unrecognized, available energy, that, by the judicious employment of psychotherapeutic methods, can be turned into self-control, both consciously and subconsciously, and by its guidance and direction the individual can achieve a quality of physical resistance commensurate with a condition of mental and physical well-being - a condition of perfect health. We thus develop the fighting capacity of the cells of the organism, and fortify the individual against the invasion of pathogenic germs and other etiological factors of disease.
As our comprehension of the scope and usefulness of psychotherapy becomes broader, the more do we appreciate its application as an adjunct to all branches of professional work.
The surgeon finds in psychotherapy a most efficient ally. By its employment the dangers of ether and chloroform anesthesia are minimized, and the possibilities of better results from surgical work enhanced to a marked degree, due to the wonderful conserva-tion of the patient's reserved energy by the employment of the minimum amount of the anesthetic.
The general practitioner finds in psychotherapy an effectual method of relieving the nervousness and insomnia accompanying any disease, acute or chronic, organic or psychoneurotic, and an effectual method of increasing his patient's resistive powers by the effect produced upon the patient's involuntary physiological processes as well.
Psychotherapy does not seek to supplant the employment of quinin in the treatment of malaria, of mercury in syphilis, of antitoxin in diphtheria, or of iron and arsenic in anemic conditions; neither does it seek to replace antiseptics, eliminants, and those materia medica agencies which act by chemically antagonizing the effects of morbid conditions, but it does enable the general practitioner to dispense with narcotics, analgesics, and anodynes to a wonderful extent, and saves the patient from the necessity of taking such remedies that depress and retard functional activity and lessen the resistive power of the organism to diseased processes. In other words, by its employment we not only quiet nervousness, relieve pain, and induce sleep, but bring about a re-establishment of perverted function, and in this way increase the fighting capacity of every cell in the human organism. We help the patient to secure and maintain a condition of health.
We have, as a profession, too long neglected the higher evolutionary factors of human personality. Man is a being with intelligence, desires, aspirations, memory, will, reason, perception, and judgment; these psychic qualities can not be found with the microscope, or the test tube, or the dissecting knife, but they functionate in perfect correlation with the brain cell elements, constituting the dynamics of the human organism, and their employment in therapeutics constitutes the most potent curative agent at our command.
In all classes of disease, psychotherapy finds an important field of application as a therapeutic adjunct, for all sick people need to be taught how to exercise their capacity, physical and mental, conscious and subconscious, voluntary and involuntary, in lines of healthful thought and action, so as to maintain a degree of resistive power in the cells of the physical organism commensurate with a condition of health.
While we shall unceasingly fight the bacterial origin of disease with every available resource, we can employ psychotherapy to make a direct impression upon the brain, the organ which concentrates and distributes our energies, and, in response to well-accepted laws of physiological psychology, increase the functional activity of every cell contained in the human body, and thus render it less vulnerable to the ravages of pathogenic germs and other etiological factors of disease.
Then the question which very naturally suggests itself in relation to so potent a curative agent is, Why is it not employed more generally by the medical profession? The answer is they don't know how to employ it. The method must of necessity appeal most strongly to the highly educated classes of people, and, since the medical schools have, except in the instance of a few of our leading universities, regarded the psychotherapeutic branch of medicine almost with absolute indifference, the people are seeking aid from all kinds of modern healing faddists, who most crudely and unscientifically make employment of psychic methods of treatment and who also ignore other rational therapeutic expedients. The medical profession is being awakened from its long sleep over its rights, the people are demanding something more substantial than the usually recognized therapeutic methods, and the day is not far distant when a chair of psychotherapy will be in all first-class medical colleges.