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.
All those psychic activities which are found below the threshold of consciousness correspond to the functions of all the involuntary physiological processes - the functions of the lower neuron systems, the functions of the ganglionic and sympathetic nervous systems, and the functions of the lowest cell in the body as it plays its part in the game of the life of the entire physical organism. These functions we designate the subconscious mind.
Moreover, the subconscious mind, which corresponds to the functions of the vegetative brain and nervous system, perceives by intuition; it is the storehouse of subjective memory, and is greatly influenced by the emotions. It presides over the functions, conditions, and sensations of the body; over all the vegetative or nutritive processes - over digestion, secretion, excretion, nutrition, waste, respiration, calorification; in short, over all cell life function and development.
When the conscious mind is inhibited or soothed into passivity, as in the hypnotic state, this subconscious mind is amenable to influence by suggestion. It can be influenced by suggestion without hypnotism, but in the hypnotic state there is an increased amenability or susceptibility of the subconscious mind to suggestion, and also an increase in its power to execute an idea or suggestion through its control over the physiological processes of the body.
In the hypnotic state we can influence and make such impressions upon the subconscious mind as will be fully carried out in its influence over the physical organism, and the fact that the subconscious mind does preside over the functions, conditions, and sensations of the body, and is more amenable to suggestion when the conscious mind is inhibited, gives us in a nutshell the reason why the results are obtained from hypnotic suggestion or suggestion in the hypnotic state.
How do we prove that the subconscious mind is amenable to suggestion ? For upon the truthfulness of this proposition is based the entire structure of the science of suggestive therapeutics.
First, we use suggestion upon the conscious mind. This we do when we hypnotize a man, as was demonstrated in a previous chapter. Then, by suggestion in the hypnotic state, we can better reach and influence the deeper thresholds of consciousness.
After an individual is hypnotized, you will remember that we held up his arm and suggested to him that when we counted three that arm would be stiff and that he could not take it down. We challenged him, "You can't take it down." The arm remained stiff, showing that voluntary function was here influenced or inhibited by suggestion; that the conscious mind which presided over this motor function was amenable to our suggestion.
Then it was suggested that after the medicine had been applied to his arm it would be dead and would have no feeling in it; and a pin was thrust into his arm without the slightest evidence of pain, showing that the subconscious mind, which presides over the sensations of the body, was also amenable to suggestion.
Then, that both the conscious and subconscious minds were amenable to suggestion was proved by suggesting to him that when he stood up and we counted three he would be stiff - so stiff that we could lay him across two chairs and he would not bend. We then caused him to sustain the weight of from two to four hundred pounds without the slightest inconvenience.
A further demonstration that the subconscious mind presides over sensation and is amenable to suggestion was given when we suggested to the individual that his lip was dead and had no feeling in it, and a pin was thrust through his lip, not only without the slightest evidence of pain, but without producing bleeding.
So we see that the mind of man, both conscious and subconscious, both voluntary and involuntary, is amenable to suggestion, and that suggestion to the voluntary waking consciousness is as much hypnotism as is suggestion in that increased condition of suggestibility usually referred to as the hypnotic state; that any influence brought to bear upon the mind of any individual by any means whatsoever is hypnotism; that the individual is hypnotized by suggestion, and that an individual with his eyes wide open, thinking he is in possession of all his conscious faculties, is frequently as much amenable to suggestion as is the subject in that sleeplike condition usually referred to as the hypnotic state.
The conscious mind presides over the voluntary functions; it corresponds to the functions of the gray matter, the motor area of the brain, the higher intellectual faculties; but in the presence of a stronger personality, be it an attorney at law, a minister, a teacher, a salesman, or a physician, it is amenable to influence and is controlled by suggestion.
The hypnotic state, when induced by the method that we employ with the medicine, is always induced with the consent of the voluntary waking consciousness. We always get the consent and co-operation of the will of the individual to be hypnotized; but by suggestion without a sleeplike condition, as is used by all classes of individuals, the conscious mind may be stealthily and subtly dominated. Hypnotic suggestion, however employed by the medicine method which we have demonstrated and described, is always used with the individual's consent.
The subconscious mind presides not only over the involuntary functions, but over all cell life function and development. I have frequently produced copious emesis by suggesting to an individual that he had taken ipecac, thus showing the effect of suggestion upon the involuntary physiological processes. In a number of instances I have had physicians accomplish this result in my class work by suggestions made by them to the subject that they had hypnotized.
I say by suggestion we can influence cell life. In not less than one hundred instances have I taken a hat pin from a lady's hat and without sterilization thrust it through a large fold of the cheek of a person without the slightest ill results following. In several hundred instances have I thrust a smaller pin without sterilization through the face or an arm of an individual without the least untoward. results.