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.
In one of our cosmopolitan cities an ignorant Italian was treating in his office on an average sixty patients per day by laying his hands on them, and he had kept up this practice for three years at the time that he came to my notice. He stated that upon one occasion he went to see a "divine healer," who at once asserted, "You have too much power for me to treat you; you are a healer yourself." When he returned home he related his experience to his mother, who was suffering with a severe headache, and for three years had what her physician had diagnosed as diabetes. Her headache was dispersed as soon as he put his hands upon her, and in a short period all her diabetic symptoms had been relieved. On the strength of this result his neighbors began to call to see him for treatment, and when asked what he could do for them respectively he invariably answered, "I can only tell what I have done for others," and, with his hands placed on them, he began to relate his experiences with the wonderful cures he had made.
In one corner of his office was a pile of mechanical appliances that had been discarded by his patients as the result of his treatment. He believed that his ability to benefit people by placing his hands upon them was "a gift from God," and he could talk of nothing else, being a miserable psychoneurotic himself. His manifestations of irritability and weakness he regarded as being due to giving so much of his own strength to his patients. A well-known physician of that city, who had been impressed by the remarkable results of his work, both palliative and curative, insisted that I should interview him as a psychotherapeutic curiosity, and it was through his interest in his work that I obtained the facts that are here related.
In another place visited by the writer the monthly receipts of an old lady who employed "absent treatment" as a therapeutic means amounted to between eight and ten thousand dollars. She conversed intelligently about the value of suggestion as a therapeutic agent, and admitted frankly that her results were obtained by the combined employment of suggestion and deception. She had numerous letters from apparently intelligent people declaring their gratitude for the relief that they had received through her treatment, and she was undoubtedly bringing relief to hundreds and thousands of psychoneurotics when the United States government interfered with her game.
If people were credulous enough to pay her the price in advance, they were sufficiently amenable to her suggestions through letter to be benefited by her. Hen was one method of employing the normal potentialities of the physiological machinery of the human organization as a therapeutic resource.
In another city visited l>y the writer a physician was employing a small electric light to look down his patient's esophagus to diagnose stomach diseases. He ostensibly described all sorts of morbid conditions, frightened his patients into paying a good fee in advance, and then proceeded to produce a remedy that was supposed to give infallible results. A former classmate called his attention to the absurdity of his methods, and asked if he did not know that such procedures could appeal only to unintelligent people, He, in turn, asked what percentage of that city's population was intelligent people.
"About live percent," was the reply.
"Then you go on and practice for that live percent," said he, "I shall continue to work for the remaining ninety-five percent. "
This physician's answer, "I shall continue to work for the remaining ninety-five percent," indicates the proportion of the human race that is highly suggestible. In fact, all people are influenced by some method of suggestion. Some are amenable to reason, and others respond through credulity.
Such procedures are not limited alone to those supposed to be flagrant charlatans. If the employment of suggestion in disguise is an indication of quackery, it causes one to seriously consider the question, Where is an honest man to be found?
Consciously or unconsciously, all physicians make employment of suggestion in conjunction with the special therapeutic, surgical, and mechanical devices employed in the treatment of disease, and very frequently the benefit that resulted from some special method of treatment or surgical operation was due to the psychotherapeutic effect of the procedure as a psychophysiological stimulant, just as were the results obtained by the physician pretending to use the electric light as a diagnostic means.
Physicians in general have had but little or no training in psychotherapeutic principles, and consequently they are unprepared to appreciate the importance of such measures as an adjunct to the rasourees of the general practitioner. They do not mean to overestimate the importance of surgery, medicine, electricity, and other therapeutic devices. They are putting into application what they have been taught, for upon this branch of therapeutics they have had no training.
Here is a surgeon doing several operations upon a neurotic woman, consisting of a ventral fixation, an appendectomy, an ovariotomy, a curettage, and a perineorrhaphy. She was sufficiently amenable to suggestion to submit to his procedures just as were the patients of the physician who employed the innocent electric Because psychic treatment is abused by the quack, the charlatan, and even by some physicians, many pseudo-conservative physicians are disposed to turn a cold shoulder to it, as if the neglect of a potent and Legitimate therapeutic resource was more disgraceful and distasteful than its abuse. The announcement that Temple University, of Philadelphia, has completed arrangements for the establishment of a department for teaching methods of healing without drugs is significant. This department of "nonpharma-ceutic therapeutics," which will include radiotherapy, electrotherapy, massage, suggestion, baths, etc., is but the employment of suggestive measures in disguise, which are already employed by physicians and surgeons in general, under the pretense of something tangible.