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.
A patient of mine upon one occasion had worked very hard taking stock in a dry goods store and became fatigued. He had not slept the two nights previous, though he had taken fifteen or twenty grains of sulphonal. He said when he came into my presence that he just must have a good night's sleep or he could not undertake the heavy task before him the next day. After patiently going into his case, asking him in regard to appetite, elimination, digestion, amount of water taken during the twenty-four hours, etc., I remarked, "Well, you will sleep if you take a dose of this prescription at bedtime and follow other directions."
I advised him to at once drink two glasses of water, and repeat this in two hours and again at bedtime, and also insisted that he take a long walk before going to his home, all of which I explained was necessary both to encourage elimination and to drive the blood away from an overworked brain.
I then pave the following directions: "Now, take notice, Mr. Blank, if you are not willing to go to sleep tonight, don't take this medicine, for if you take it you are going to sleep. Be sure to explain to your wife that you are taking something to give you a good night's rest and that your bedroom must be kept as quiet as possible.
"After preparing for bed, shake the bottle thoroughly and take a tablespoonful of the medicine. Then put out your light, get in bed, and turn yourself loose" (showing him how to relax). "By slightly breathing through your mouth you will take into your lungs more oxygen, which greatly facilitates the action of this medicine. In less than a minute after you relax and breathe deeply you will feel your arms and lower limbs getting heavy, and experience a sensation as if you are sinking down in your bed. This is the effect of the medicine - don't resist it; and in less than three more minutes you will be sound asleep, and sleep soundly all night and awake in the morning feeling much refreshed. "
I then arose and turned to the door in a way that suggested to him to depart.
"See here, Doctor," said he, "there is no danger in this medi-cine!"
"It will put you to sleep, Mr. Blank; but if you had a weak heart, it would strengthen it and all bodily functions will be encouraged, and you will have the best night's rest you ever had in your life. Be sure to remember to relax when you get in bed; and breathe slightly through your mouth. Come tomorrow and tell me how well you slept."
I had prescribed 15 grains of trional in thirty-two doses of carbonated water, less than 1/2 grain of the medicine to the dose, when he had taken 15 or 20 grains of sulphonal at each dose the two nights previous and had but little sleep.
The next day he returned and asked if there was any danger of getting in the habit of taking that medicine, reporting that be had slept soundly all night long, and stating that his wife had said he had not slept so soundly before in thirty years.
"Some people are very susceptible to that dose, Mr. Blank, and I see you are one of them. Don't you notice what a sedative effect it has had upon you?"
"Yes," he replied, "I feel a little lazy."
"That is simply the result of a good night's sleep and the relief that the medicine has given to the nervous element in your case. You will not need another dose of that prescription oftener than once a week. You will be thirsty and drink plenty of water after this, and that encourages all functional activity. You will eat more, digest your food, and improve in health in every way, but you must relax at night when you retire and breathe through your mouth, for the increased amount of oxygen taken into your lungs which is secured in that way is very essential to the success of this treatment."
The fact that he did relax and breathe slightly through his mouth, with the idea having been strongly put to him that he would go to sleep, virtually amounted to getting him to hypnotize himself, or take a suggestion both consciously and subconsciously. In five weeks he reported that he had taken five doses of the placebo prescription, had slept well all the while, and had gained six pounds in weight.
Two years later he reminded me of the marked benefit of that prescription. "You know how I had for several years suffered with indigestion," said he; "now I can eat boiled ham, hard boiled eggs, and cheese for supper, and sleep well all night. I have gained thirty pounds, and am in better health than I have been in over thirty years."
I am personally acquainted with two physicians who have for some time been engaged in sanitorium work. One of these physicians secures a good night's rest for his patient by directing the nurse very seriously in the presence of his patient to give a "sleeping capsule" (a placebo) at nine o'clock, and, if his patient is not sleeping soundly by ten, to give another. "But in no event to give more than two; she will sleep soundly all night."
"In fifteen years," said he, "I do not remember that this has failed to secure a good night's rest in more than a half dozen instances."
The other physician instructs his nurse to prepare his patients for sleep by looking after all possible requirements, making the patient conscious that he is being prepared to get a dose of medicine that will make him sleep soundly all night, and then directs her to administer one drop of a solution of potassium bromide, instructing the patient that he will be asleep in five minutes and will sleep soundly all night.
Said he, "That is the last I ever hear from them. They sleep all night."
Hundreds and hundreds of physicians have reported to me that they secured a good night's sleep for their patients by giving a hypodermic injection of pure water.
A few days ago I came into the presence of a gentleman suffering with an acute pleuritis, with a rising temperature and a severe pain. He was walking the floor, holding a hot water bag to his painful side, and stated that he had been unable to lie down on account of the severe pain. I advised that he lie down, relax every muscle, breathe slightly through his lips, and stated that he would at once get ease and go to sleep.
He was left alone and conformed to the conditions, and did get ease and went to sleep promptly. I assured him before trying the method that the thorough relaxation would allow the blood to circulate evenly throughout his entire body, thus relieving the congestion in and about the inflamed area, and that he would get ease and go to sleep. He intelligently and consciously acted upon the suggestion and got good results.