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.
It may be that the light upon the landscape of the future is but a reflection from the luminous regions of my own hopes, but, if we take into consideration the broader and higher course of human events - such as the work done by the medical profession in problems of social vice, intemperance, hygiene, dietetics, preventive medicine, sanitation, pure food, etc. - we can but feel that we are at last coming to a conscious realization of a lofty ideal of the brotherhood of man, and that the day is not remote when the physicians will be found doing all within their power to help their patients to help themselves.
The indifference of science has always been the mainstay of charlatanism. When the intelligent scientific application of any therapeutic measure is adopted by the medical profession, charlatanism is robbed of its use. That these people effect cures of certain forms of functional ills right before our eyes, ills that had not been amenable to cure by our ordinary methods of treatment, is self-evident. In every city, town, and hamlet the followers of the different cults and "isms" are gaining in number, and thousands of dollars are reaped by them that should go into the pockets of the medical profession, while, on the other hand, thousands of innocent lives are sacrificed on account of the neglect of scientific medical treatment.
With the intelligent recognition and application of suggestion in therapeutics as an aid in the practice of medicine, conditions and symptoms can be relieved that can not be reached by any other remedy, and it is cases of this very class that are going from physicians and seeking aid from other sources.
The effect of the mind upon metabolism is now well established. Emotional conditions of a hopeful, optimistic, and cheerful kind encourage anabolism, or constructive metamorphosis. On the other hand, depressing emotional conditions that conduce to fear and despondency, and the like, encourage catabolism, or destructive metamorphosis. By suggestion we can produce such mental impressions as will increase the potential energy inherent in the cells of the organism, and thus render them less vulnerable to pathogenic germs and other etiological factors of disease. This is an effectual means of conserving energy and increasing the resistive powers of the individual, and lessening his susceptibility to disease.
Since the observation of Beaumont upon Alexander St. Martin, the Canadian who had a fistulous opening in the stomach sufficiently large for him to watch the physiological processes of digestion, the effect of certain emotions upon this function has been clearly recognized. Beaumont observed that mental conditions - such as worry, fear, and anger - diminished and sometimes entirely suppressed the secretion of gastric juice by the stomach. At times, under these conditions, the mucous membrane became red and dry, and at others it was pale and moist, showing the effect of mental impressions upon the vasomotor neuro regulation of the blood supply to the stomach through the involuntary nervous system. Under the conditions mentioned fluids were immediately absorbed, but food remained undigested for from twenty-four to forty-eight hours.
More recent discoveries by contemporary psychologists have shown that bad and unpleasant feelings create harmful chemical products in the body called catabolins, which are physically injurious. On the other hand, good, pleasant, benevolent, and cheerful feelings create chemical products called anabolins, which are physically helpful.
Quite frequently neurasthenic patients maintain a condition of autotoxemia on account of morbid emotional conditions that dominate their minds, giving rise to headaches, preventing sleep, conducing to insanity, and proving destructive to all physiological processes. In this class of cases, suggestion, both with or without hypnotism, is our most reliable therapeutic aid.
From the earliest periods in the history of mankind down to the present time there is abundant and sufficient proof, undoubted and acknowledged, going to show that in innumerable instances cures of manifold diseases and ills of the physical organism have been wrought by influences brought to bear upon the mind of the person afflicted. Physicians are too familiar with the history of these cases for me to make further mention of them here. One well-demonstrated fact, the result of honest investigation, is worth a thousand opinions prompted by prejudice. Having witnessed the efficacious application of suggestion in therapeutics, both with and without hypnotism, in thousands of instances, I should still feel confident of the inestimable value of this important therapeutic adjunct if every other physician in the world doubted its efficacy.
We must face the facts as they are - exact science has proved to us the correctness of the claim of the efficacy of this method of treatment as a therapeutic agent. The people who make use of it in disguised form are here, and the proposition that confronts us is, Shall we appropriate the laws that govern the influence of the mind to the intelligent and scientific treatment of disease and make use of them as therapeutic measures, or shall we leave these laws to them ?
My observation is that the members of the medical profession are ever ready and anxious to avail themselves of any therapeutic resource that will help to alleviate human suffering. All that is needed is a more thorough understanding on the part of the general profession of the theory and efficacy of suggestive therapeutics, and a better understanding of the technic and practical methods of its application.
The idea has been emphasized that only functional and neuropathic conditions are benefited by this treatment. But be it remembered that a functional disturbance or disease, so-called, if neglected, may result in an organic condition, and that the timely administration of suggestive therapeutics to correct or cure the functional disorder may prevent its resulting in an organic lesion.
Furthermore, suggestive therapeutics should be applied with an understanding and comprehension of the anatomical and physiological relations of the organism, as well as of the pathological conditions to be alleviated. It is not to be used to the exclusion of other therapeutic resources, but can always be used with them, for it is not antagonistic to or incompatible with any remedy which helps to cure disease.
It is evident that some physicians are afraid that if they should adopt this method of therapeutics, they would be counted as allies of the quacks and charlatans who misuse these methods. It is the duty of every medical man who is true to his Hippocratic oath to adopt and use every measure that will help to alleviate human suffering. This science, in the hands of a conscientious physician, is capable of curing diseases and reaching conditions that no other remedy can reach.