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.
Our profession has had either no instruction in regard to the employment of the more efficacious application of suggestion, or it has been wrongly taught.
To every one of such doubting individuals I positively guaranteed that he and every other physician present should take an individual who was a stranger to me, taken at random from the passing crowds on the streets, and by a simple efficacious method of using suggestion which I would explain they each should by his own words and personal efforts demonstrate the efficacy of suggestion to induce anesthesia, each physician using a different subject.
As previously stated, approximately five thousand American physicans personally tested the efficacy of suggestion to produce anesthesia, using a small vial containing an antiseptic solution, a placebo, as a means of suggestion.
It requires but little chloroform, or ether, used in conjunction with the judicious employment of suggestion to surgically anesthetize a patient. The greatest essential is a comprehensive knowledge of the theoretical and practical features of suggestion as applied in multifarious ways to the general practice of medicine. The subject of psychotherapy comprehends hypnotism, for hypnotism is but the employment of suggestion efficaciously and systematically.
The individual is hypnotized by suggestion; he is then in a condition of increased suggestibility, and surely, if suggestion is of value as an adjunct in the administration of anesthetics, the most effective form of suggestion is of greatest value, for just in proportion to its efficacy is the amount of the anesthetic employed minimized.
To use suggestion as an adjunct in the. administration of anesthetics is simply to deal with the patient in such a humane, natural manner that the anesthetist becomes thoroughly en rapport with his patient, securing a conscious acquiescence, and then so directing the conscious and subconscious, the voluntary and involuntary functions of the nervous system, psychic states, or streams of consciousness, that, while administering the anesthetic, we persuade certain nerve and brain centers to suspend the performance of their functions, and others to increase, until the small amount of ether or chloroform being administered produces a more profound state of unconsciousness, a physiopsychological condition, in accordance with a natural law.
A little 5 year-old boy, in my office with his mother, needed to be circumcised. Everything was in readiness, and I called his mother to be present to see that I would not hurt him in the least. In a natural, pleasant manner I allowed him to smell a delicate extract which I had ordered especially for him, "because he was such a fine boy." I then informed him that he could lie on my operating table, and smell some perfume and go to sleep. This he consented to do, and, having secured a thorough relaxation, a few drops of the perfume was allowed to fall on the towel which had been placed over his entire face, and suggestions at once commenced, just as if I were telling him the effect was being produced by the perfume, followed in probably thirty seconds by chloroform, dropped on the towel, just below the tip of his nose, from a small homeopathic vial taken from my pocket, with a toothpick arranged by the side of the cork so as to allow a small drop to slowly trickle from the bottle, until additional suggestions appropriate to the understanding of the patient produced the desired result. He went into a comfortable sleep in from two to three minutes and remained so until I again sterilized my hands and did the simple operation while he appeared to enjoy his slumber.
By actual measurement twenty minims of chloroform were used.
On repeated occasions I have produced anesthesia by suggestion while holding an unopened bottle of chloroform in my hand, and have demonstrated to the surgeon that a pin could be thrust through the patient's face or arm. I proceeded to drop ten drops of chloroform on a piece of gauze of three or four thicknesses that had been placed in the bottom of my partly closed hand, and, placing the hand thus charged with chloroform over the patient's nose and mouth, I proceeded to administer it, using suggestion to get the patient to breathe naturally and rhythmically and go into a deeper sleep. By a small addition of chloroform, surgical anesthesia was produced in this way, and the amount of the drug used varied from 20 to 30 minims. The patient would sleep for twenty or thirty minutes after the operation and awake without nausea, as suggested.
The use of suggestion in conjunction with an anesthetic, where the patient has given his consent to the operation, is attended with no failures, though the amount of the anesthetic used necessarily varies, according to the individual idiosyncrasy of the patient, and the time required to produce surgical anesthesia varies from two to five minutes. In all such cases the amount of the anesthetic used is reduced to comparative insignificance, and the procedure may be regarded as absolutely devoid of danger.
A patient of mine had a visitor some years previous who died in her home from the administration of chloroform for an operation for intussusception, and the psychic effect of this experience had been the cause of her declining an operation for a badly lacerated cervix. I had resorted to suggestion for the temporary amelioration of severe headaches and other neurotic symptoms which existed in consequence of this pathologic lesion, and on one occasion gave her suggestions in the hypnotic state to relieve the fears of the anesthetic and to get her consent to the proposed operation. She readily consented to the operation after that suggestion, stating that she no longer feared the effect of chloroform. An hour previous to the operation I suggested to her in the hypnotic state that she would go soundly asleep as soon as the anesthetist began to let her inhale the chloroform, that she would breathe rhythmically and naturally, that her heart would become stronger from inhaling the chloroform, and her sleep sound and deep, so that she would have no feeling whatever.
Not over 30 minims of chloroform were required to do this operation, given by another physician, who co-operated with my suggestive measures, and the patient awoke at the time suggested without nausea or other inconvenience.
Invariably the anesthetist or surgeon who makes employment of suggestion as an adjunct to the administration of anesthetics with marked success is he who has taken a great interest in hypnotism as a means of using suggestion efficaciously.
Among other surgeons than the Mayos whose work has attracted attention on account of superior skill and large experience, who make employment of suggestion with success in the administration of anesthetics besides ether and chloroform, may be mentioned Bo-dine, of New York, in his herniotomy and other operations done with a 1/10 of 1-percent solution of cocaine, and A. W. Morton, of San Francisco, in the production of spinal anesthesia.
That Bodine employs more talk in his operations with his "1/10 of 1-percent solution of cocaine" is recognized by him and all physicians familiar with the practical employment of suggestion, and I know from Dr. Morton's own statement to me that his success with spinal anesthesia, both for the safety of his patients and in the completeness of his anesthesias, has been considerably augmented by the artful employment of suggestion.
A careful study of the chapter on Hypnotism Demonstrated will give the reader all the necessary additional information requisite to equip him to make employment of suggestion in conjunction with the administration of anesthetics.