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.
But the significance of the employment of suggestion as an adjunct to the administration of anesthetics goes far beyond the danger to the patient directly and immediately during the course of the operation. The surgeon who does not have his patient's reserved energies so weakened and exhausted, and the patient's brain and nerve centers presiding over all physiological processes so seriously and permanently injured, as is the case with the Mayos, on account of the employment of suggestion to obviate the necessity of such enormous quantities of the anesthetic, simply has more recuperative power left in the cells of the organism upon which the hope for a favorable outcome from a major- operation is based, and surgical operations upon patients with the minimum amount of poison from the anesthetic to combat are unquestionably attended with better results than where larger quantities of the drug are used.
Inherent within the protoplasmic mechanism of the human organism is an untapped reservoir of available energy, which is either utilized by the judicious employment of suggestion for the welfare of the patient, or it is exhausted, perverted, or wasted by the indiscreet use of the anesthetic.
By suggestion intelligently employed as an adjunct to surgery during the administration of the anesthetic, all involuntary physiological processes can be influenced, the normal resistive powers of the patient conserved and utilized, and the amount of shock from a given operation reduced to comparative insignificance.
Instead of the excitement, muscular resistance, respiratory and circulatory disturbance that are occasioned by the usual method of administering anesthetics without the employment of suggestion, where suggestion is properly employed, all these manifestations are absent. Instead of increased neuron activity, which must be paralyzed by large quantities of the anesthetic, the dendritic processes of the neurons are persuaded to retract; both motor and sensory functions suspend, and with the addition of a small amount of the anesthetic "a comfortable narcosis" is induced, which answers every purpose of the surgeon from the standpoint of complete anesthesia.
In the article cited Alice Magaw farther says: ' From experience we know that a patient can be brought under ether in from three to five minutes, and, when ready, patients do better if the operation is started at once." She here recognizes the psychological moment at which the operation should be started for the best interest of the patient. The significance of this remark can be appreciated only by those experienced in the employment of suggestion for the production of anesthesia.
From three to five minutes is also the time required by Miss Henderson to produce surgical anesthesia with ether, employing suggestion as an adjunct. I challenge any anesthetist to produce such satisfactory anesthesias as are exhibited by Miss Henderson and Alice Magaw in the clinic of the surgeons of St. Mary's Hospital by any other method than the intelligent employment of suggestion as an adjunct to the administration of the anesthetic.
These women employ the ether "drop method" and "the inhaler used is the improved Esmarch, with two thicknesses of stockinet, the frame boiled and stockinet changed after each patient." To show the small amount of ether employed where suggestion is used as an adjunct to its administration, I quote further from Alice Magaw's article:
"We use the dropper described, dropping as slowly and carefully in giving ether as though it were chloroform until the patient's face is flushed; then a few layers of surgeon's gauze are added, and the ether given a trifle faster until the patient is surgically etherized; then return is made to the same covering as at the start, and the regular drop method continued throughout the operation."
It has been within my experience, with suggestion employed as an adjunct to the administration of chloroform, to satisfactorily anesthetize a patient for a double amputation above the knees with sixty minims of chloroform, and another for a suprapubic cystotomy with as little as twenty minims of this drug.
Surgical patients, with but few exceptions, come to the operating table in a condition of voluntary self-surrender, and are particularly good subjects for the employment of suggestion. Their faith in the efficacy of the anesthetic employed is a powerful autosuggestion, and renders them pliable and easy in the hands of an anesthetist who is familiar with the principles of psychotherapy and the methods of its practical administration.
From eight years' experience with the medical profession, during which time I toiled, and plodded, and prayed for a recognition of psychotherapy as an adjunct to the generally recognized therapeutic agencies, by making a personal canvass from office to office until headway was made in organizing groups of physicians to witness the demonstration and elucidation of practical methods of the employment of suggestion, I learned to appreciate the great need to the profession of such knowledge as could be employed by the general practitioner as well as the specialist.
Many there were who did not doubt the efficacy of such measures in the hands of the few, who had what they deemed some peculiar power over people, but they doubted the efficacy of psychological methods in their own hands.
This lack of self-confidence, child of ignorance as it was, was everywhere in evidence, and was one of the greatest obstacles that I had to overcome in bringing a small group of physicians together. One such physician said to me, in perfect frankness, "Why, my dear sir, some people can not apply these methods successfully, and I am one who can not, for I have studied suggestive therapeutics for ten years; the past five years were spent in Europe, where I availed myself of opportunities to witness the practical employment of suggestion, both with and without hypnosis, in the great French and German universities; in my library are more than twenty volumes by various writers on Suggestive Therapeutics; could I get results like those you mention, I would gladly pay ten times the small fee that you demand."