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.
Upon one occasion I was called hurriedly to see a patient after several attempts had been made to secure my services. She was a neurotic woman who was reported seriously ill. I had seen that patient before, however, and picked up a bottle of avena sativa, a sample that had been left in my office, and carried it along with me. My patient was extremely hysterical, almost opisthotonic, and shaking convulsively; hands cold, feet cold, pulse rapid, and around her was a badly frightened family and friends. As I came into her presence I expressed a regret that I had been so long delayed, and, taking her hand sympathetically, expressed the hope that she had not suffered on account of my delay, whereupon she displayed all of her symptoms with exaggerated emphasis.
Her husband and the chief attendant had their say in describing the severity of the attack, and related the special incidents that had transpired during the past hour or so, and at the proper psychological moment I said to her strongly, "Now, be patient, and let me find out just what is the trouble."
I had seen that patient before, and my familiarity with her case did not require any further light to correctly interpret her symptoms. However, a physician must sometimes pursue the course that will best secure the accord of the patient in order to get best results. I took her temperature, counted her pulse, percussed her chest, listened to her respiration, examined her lips and the lobes of her ears, etc. I then said to her, at a moment when I had her attention, "Be patient, madam, I have just what I need to relieve you in a few minutes," holding the sample of avena sativa in my hand before her.
Turning to her husband, I requested him to bring me a glass of water, an empty glass, and a spoon. While waiting for this I said to her kindly, "Be patient, you will soon feel all right after you take a dose of medicine." I poured one spoonful of the medicine into the glass, followed by six spoonfuls of water, and stirred it briskly for at least nine seconds. Then taking a spoonful of the mixture, I put it to her lips and told her to swallow it.
Handing her husband the glass, I placed one hand over her eyes, closing them gently, and requested her to breathe through her mouth. "Now, breathe deeply; once again; now again, away down deep;" thus getting three full respirations. "There, now, you are relaxed perfectly all over. Now lie still and let the medicine have its effect, and in ten minutes you will feel all right, and be quiet and easy from head to foot."
She lay perfectly still, and her husband, with eyes as wide open as full moons, exclaimed, " See here, Doctor, that seems to be a very powerful medicine you are using. Is there no danger in that dose?"
"Just what she needs," I replied. "If her heart were weak, that medicine would strengthen it; her nerves will become steady, and quiet, and strong. Her muscles will completely relax. her hands and feet get warm and her head get easy, and her nervous equilibrium will be completely re-established."
1 walked out of the room, and requested that he follow me and Nave her quiet for ten minutes, stating that she would be completely relieved at the end of that time, and that then we would give her another dose and she would go to sleep and sleep soundly all night.
At the end of ten minutes we returned to her bedside. She lay as passive and still as a lake without a ripple. Taking her wrist, I found her pulse about seventy instead of one hundred and twenty, as it was upon my arrival. "Open your eyes, Mrs. Blank; you feel good, don't you ?"
"Oh, Doctor, I could feel the effects of that medicine coming over me just as you said it would. I never had anything make ..... feel so pleasant in all my life."
"It has had a delightful effect, but I never gave you a dose of medicine that did not have a good effect on you. You are one patient in whose case I know that every dose will produce the desired result."
"Because you understand my case so well, Doctor," was her suave reply.
That was all right. Throw bouquets at your patients, and they will throw them back at you. Blame them and find fault with them, and they will blame you and find fault with you.
In the case of the patient just described I advised that another dose of the medicine be administered, and for everything to be arranged to let her go to sleep, casually remarking that she would sleep soundly all night and be feeling all right in the morning. My patient remarked that she came near going to sleep anyway from that one dose, and that if she had not been afraid that I would have left her, she would have gone sound to sleep. I left instructions that she come to my office the next day, and gave her a prescription with several names that amounted to nothing on account of the smallness of the dose of each, instructing her to take a spoonful in water before meals and at bedtime, suggesting to her that this would keep her nervous system functionating prop erly; that it would make her sleep soundly at night and prevent another one of those attacks.
At least three-fourths of the adult population of the world are relying upon some therapeutic system or method. They are followers of some herd, school, or system that offers health in the place of disease. The self-conscious intellectual ego has not been sufficiently evolved within them to enable them to rely upon themselves. What these people really need is education, knowledge, and guidance - other names for suggestion - to give them the will to dare to do as well as they know how.
A large percentage of these functional and neuropathic conditions would get well of their own accord if the people were only level-headed enough to do as the dog does, who lies down and gives nature a chance to recuperate an outraged physical constitution.
Rest in a comfortable bed, deep inspiration of pure air, light, wholesome diet, copious draughts of water to encourage elimination, with unyielding faith in the powers inherent within the biological elements, would result in a cure of a large proportion of the usual ills of human beings without a drop of medicine.
Yet, suggestion begets faith, confidence, and belief, and is at the bottom of Christian science, osteopathy, patent medicine cures, electrotherapeutic quackery, magnetic healing, divine healing, mental science, metaphysical healing, faith cures, and such like. These people are here, and their methods are applicable to a large class of functional and neuropathic conditions. They are alert and active, and here to stay as long as time lasts, under some name or guise, to make use of this psychological method of treatment.
We, as a profession, should not lay aside one single therapeutic measure or device, but, in addition to our ordinary therapeutic measures in all classes of diseases and conditions, we have an opportunity to give our patients the benefit of this most powerful therapeutic adjunct. Honestly and earnestly convince thinking people of the utility of any good thing, and they will indorse it and give you their hearty co-operation, it matters not how strong their prejudices may have been.
Physicians frequently make a serious mistake by discouraging their patients with an unfavorable prognosis instead of relying with more confidence upon the psychic element, which would furnish them a rational basis for a more hopeful result.
There are many fatalities occurring daily all over our country for the lack of men with faith in this psychological law, and with courage and moral stamina to stand out against the popular prejudice to it, and apply it as a therapeutic aid.