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.
Whatever impulse dominates the individual - whether fear, worry, anxiety, envy, anger, jealousy, love, or the purely animal passions - makes its appeal to and impress on the subconscious mind, which corresponds to the functions of the involuntary nervous system.
We all have noticed that the functions of the different organs of the body are greatly disturbed through emotional influences; sorrow brings tears to the eyes; prolonged grief interferes with the secretion of gastric juice by the stomach. Of all emotional conditions which are most detrimental, however, fear, which is the opposite emotion to self-reliance and self-confidence, is" the worst. Fear is the natural accompaniment of weakness, ignorance, and disease. Fear has a wonderful inhibitory influence upon both the motor and voluntary, as well as the involuntary, functions of the body. Fear of sickness, fear of death, fear of failure - fear of anything of any kind, of any nature - is detrimental to all physiological processes. We invite what we fear. Fear weakens our resistive powers to disease. It is the frequent experience of physicians to have pneumonia and enteric fever patients who die of fear and not on account of the pathological condition existing.
At the very onset of illness, quite frequently, the patient be-comes afraid, gets nervous, does not sleep, and manifests a lack of confidence in the ability of his physician and doubts his own ability to recover. He thus has a psychoneurotic condition complicating his disease. His resistive powers are thus lessened, all physiologies] processes are disturbed, and death results from fear and not on account of the pathological condition, which would run its course and go on to recovery hut for the psychoneurotic element. We should distinguish here between conscious and subconscious fear. Tuberculous patients are noted for their apparent optimism, hopefulness, and cheerfulness, which are frequently only on the surface; yet as a result of this very optimism, as has been observed by all physicians, even in the presence of such a gross pathological condition, the resistive powers of many tuberculous patients are augmented to an astonishing degree. We frequently see others, however, who are so subconsciously dominated by fear that all involuntary nervous functions are disturbed on account of impressions gathered from experiences which have come to them through their own observation of the disastrous consequences of this disease.
In this class of cases suggestion, both with and without hypnotism, is particularly beneficial. We quiet an irritable, involuntary nervous system; we get them to breathe deeper; we give them suggestions which produce more plentiful and refreshing sleep, and plant subconscious impressions, which result in the re-establishment of the normal functions of every healthy cell in the body as far as this is possible. The result is an increase in the patient's resistive powers, a conservation of his protoplasmic energy, and he is in condition to more successfully combat the pathogenic germs which are making their ravages upon him. The etiological factors of disease, whether due to pathogenic germs or other causes, are powerless in the presence of cells of an organism with a degree of resistive power sufficient to render them invulnerable.
All that contributes to the health of an individual in the way of nourishment, medicine, climatic conditions, exercise, etc.. should, of course, be appropriated.
The etiological factors of disease are here, and they are here to stay, in spite of our modern methods of disinfection and improved sanitary conditions, which have practically abolished yellow fever, smallpox, cholera, and other diseases regarded as inevitable curses of the human race, and more attention should be given to increasing the resistive powers of the individual to the ravages of pathogenic processes.
We, as physicians, have studied the dead body too much and the living organism not enough. We have underrated the self-healing processes of nature and the physical effects of psychologic influences. This has frequently given charlatans, who make use of these methods in disguised form, an opportunity to give us a black eye. We are now, however, giving more attention than ever before to social, and mental, and hygienic causes of health and disease, and are placing the practice of medicine upon a more rational basis. We are giving more attention to the prevention of disease and to methods of maintaining the health of the individual.
Suggestion is used both upon the conscious and subconscious mind, and whatever we do in the way of teaching our patients how to keep well by conforming to the conditions under which health can be maintained - re-educating them - comes within the broad domain of suggestive therapeutics. It is the purpose of suggestive therapeutics to help our patients to help themselves by better control and by direction of their conscious and subconscious psychic activities.
It is important to remember that the subconscious mind of every individual is amenable to the influence, control, or suggestion of his own conscious mind. His own thoughts, his beliefs, his predominating mental characteristics, as the result of education and environment, are the suggestions by which he is continually influencing his subconscious mind.
So much so is this true that we judge character by the expression of the faces of people that we see every day. The strong face and the weak face, the honest face and the villainous face, the face which indicates a high order of individuality and self-reliance or a low element of selfishness or servitude, all are in evidence. The fact is, the body is a perfectly negative element, existing according to the laws of heredity, environment, and education.
Thought is a great factor of change and growth, and thought means that brain cells are functionating in response to internal and external stimuli. The will power is a positive part which can guide and regulate our thinking, provided it has once been evolved sufficiently to set up a new line of mental reaction, through memory and experience. We are all, then, using our thought forces or self-suggestions as either creative or destructive agencies, in accordant-*' with this natural psychophysiological law.
In order to think for one's self, however, the individual must be equipped. He must have a well-trained and well-developed mind and nervous system, which can come only by conforming to the laws of health and by familiarity with the facts that are demonstrated by science, and not through the influence of the modern metaphysical theories of the present time, which act as temporary narcotics, lulling the intellectual faculties into passivity. Yet, to cultivate habits of cheerfulness, optimism, and self-reliance conduces to health and strength of the physical organism on account of the influences of such mental states upon the involuntary physiological processes. Such states of consciousness as give rise to pessimism, despondency, jealousy, anger, worry, envy, and discontent exert a wrecking, weakening, ruinous effect upon all the involuntary functions. The system becomes loaded with metabolic toxins, which in turn render the individual more miserable and morbidly self-conscious.
People frequently say they are miserable on account of their physical condition, and they are, but they are often reaping in full measure the conclusion of their own mental action. The condition of the body is largely the result of what an individual has thought and believed, and thought and belief are determined by his education and other experiences in life, which have left their impress upon the neuron elements. The influence of education upon the expression of the face and physique has been observed by us all, and furnishes a fitting illustration of the influence of the mind over the body.