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.
This form of suggestion to the student of psychotherapy is everywhere in evidence in the practice of medicine and surgery, though often used unconsciously by those applying it.
That medicine, surgery, hydrotherapy, radiotherapy, massage, dietetics, gymnastics, exercise, etc., have a definite field of their own, in well-selected cases, none but a tyro would dispute, but that the results that accrue by their employment are more frequently due to the psychic influence of these measures than to their own therapeutic potency is beyond question. It is time we should face this question squarely, and appropriate all measures that are of therapeutic value, whether employed singly or combined.
When it is considered that two million Christian scientists follow their leader on account of the psychotherapeutic value of her dogma of negation and affirmation, and that this form of disguised suggestion has been responsible for thousands of cures of real diseases, the facts are indisputable by a fair-minded observer.
That osteopaths, Weltmerites, Emanuelists, and others, who most crudely and unscientifically employ psychotherapeutic measures, obtain results by the employment of their special methods of treatment is conceded by thousands of physicians in all parts of the United States. Moreover, they bear testimony to the fact that the results have frequently been obtained in a class of cases which were not amenable to treatment by the methods generally employed by physicians. Why refuse, under the right name, the employment of the tools used by all forms of quackery, and by honest physicians and surgeons who use the same methods, in some degree, in disguise? Why continue the abuse of medicine and surgery in so many instances when intelligent people are demanding honest, rational treatment? Many methods of treatment are employed by physicians at the present time which are tolerated by the laity solely on account of their ignorance of more rational and effective measures. Is it right to impose upon innocence and ignorance simply because our medical schools have not equipped physicians in general to make employment of psychotherapeutic principles?
When we fail to employ rational psychic measures as an adjunct to all other forms of treatment, can we blame the people for seeking aid from sources where such treatment is employed, however injudiciously and unscientifically? That all but a few of the teachers of medicine occupying professorships in our medical colleges are mere babes in the art of making employment of psychotherapeutic methods, I know from actual experience in my association with those constituting the faculties of not less than thirty-five medical schools and universities. In my association with such men in the capacity of teacher of methods of employing suggestion, with and without hypnotism, they were eager to learn and were thoroughly convinced of the efficacy and practicability of such measures, but were often free to say that it was much easier to employ medicine and surgery, and they preferred to continue the old regimen.
Most certainly it is easier to remove the appendix of a neurasthenic, and collect a good fee for this simple operation, and leave all psychotherapeutic treatment to the unconscious employment of such measures by the environing factors of his treatment during recuperation for two or more weeks in a hospital. People arc driven by fear into the submission to all kinds of irrational measures that promise health in the place of disease. Surgery for the relief of gross pathological changes is indispensable, but most of the surgery done at the present time is for some minor structural change, attributed to some special organ, when the cells of the entire organism share in the degeneracy, the remedy for which is the general physical and mental reconstruction which follows a course of sane treatment by suggestion, dietetics, exercise, and gymnastics.
But suggestion is applicable also as an adjunct in the treatment of the acute, febrile, and infectious diseases found in the routine work of the general practitioner, as well as in functional nervous diseases.
(lowers tells us that our therapeutics were much more successful, in certain nervous diseases, before so much of its pathology was definitely understood. It is not enough to be able to tell a patient that a certain pathological process is present in the liver, kidney, stomach, lungs, nervous system, or other bodily organ. We should be prepared to teach him to so conform to the physiological requirements of health that such processes will be arrested, their function restored, and the health of the individual secured and maintained.
Here is a man with all the clinical symptoms of gastric ulcer. His physician, in accordance with the advice of our best medical authorities, is satisfied to prescribe bismuth subnitrate or magnesium carbonate, to be taken an hour before meals, when he should have explained to him the necessity of a complete rest to his stomach in the incipiency of his trouble, being given such rest for from five to ten days by a complete fast, and advised the necessity of keeping his stomach cleansed by drinking frequent draughts of hot water, and water at a normal bodily temperature every hour, with an enema every night, to give his nervous system an opportunity to be qualified to perform the function of digesting his food; and he should afterward have outlined a rational dietetic regimen, to conform to the requirements of his individual case.
Here is another physician who strives to maintain the nitrogenous and carbon equilibrium of certain patients by an examination of the stools, as if the calculation of the nitrogen and carbon in a food signified its value to the human body unless it could at the same time be demonstrated that it is assimilable. By psychotherapeutic measures we enable the patient to digest and assimilate a quantity of normal food products in such quantities as to promote the healthy nutrition of the body - quantities far beyond the ability of the patient without the employment of such measures.