"If the patient does not shut his eyes or keep them shut, I do not require them to be fixed on mine, of on my fingers, for any length of time, for it sometimes happens that they remain wide open indefinitely, and instead of the idea of sleep being conceived, only a rigid fixation of the eyes results. In this case, closure of the eyes by the operator succeeds better. After keeping them fixed one or two minutes, I push the eyelids down," or stretch them slowly over the eyes, gradually closing them more and more, and so imitating the process of natural sleep. Finally, I keep them closed, repeating the suggestion, 'Your lids are stuck together, you cannot open them. The need of sleep becomes greater and greater, you can no longer resist.' I lower my voice gradually, repeating the command, 'Sleep,' and it is very seldom that more than three minutes pass before sleep or some degree of hypnotic influence is obtained. It is sleep by suggestion, - a type of sleep which I insinuate into the brain.
"Passes or gazing at the eyes or fingers of the operator are only useful in concentrating the attention; they arc not abso lutely essential.
"As soon as they are able to pay attention and understand, children are, as a rule, very quickly and very easily hypnotized. It often suffices to close their eyes, to hold them shut a few moments, to tell them to sleep, and then to state that they are asleep.
"Some adults go to sleep just as readily by simple closure of the eyes. I often proceed immediately, without making use of passes or fixation, by shutting the eyelids, gently holding them closed, asking the patient to keep them together, and suggesting at the same time the phenomena of sleep. Some of them fall rapidly into a more or less deep sleep. Others offer more resistance. I sometimes succeed by keeping the eyes closed for some time, commanding silence and quiet, talking continuously, and repeating the same formulas: 'You feel a sort of drowsiness, a torpor; your arms and legs are motionless. Your eyelids are warm. Your nervous system is quiet; you have no will. Your eyes remain closed. Sleep is coming.' etc. After keeping up this auditory suggestion for several minutes, I remove my fingers. The eyes remain closed. I raise the patient's arms; they remain uplifted. We have induced cataleptic sleep".
Having succeeded in inducing sleep, or getting the patient in a passive and receptive condition, the operator then proceeds to suggest the idea of recovery from the disease with which he is afflicted. On this subject the author speaks as follows: -
"The patient is put to sleep by means of suggestion; that is, by making the idea of sleep penetrate the mind. He is treated by means of suggestion; that is, by making the idea of cure penetrate the mind. The subject being hypnotized, M. Lie-bault's method consists in affirming in a loud voice the disappearance of his symptoms.
"We try to make him believe that these symptoms no longer exist, or that they will disappear, the pain will vanish; that the feeling will come back to his limbs; that the muscular strength will increase; and that his appetite will come back. We profit by the special psychical receptivity created by the hypnosis, by the cerebral docility, by the exalted ideo-motor, ideo-sensitive, ideo-sensorial reflex activity, in order to provoke useful reflexes, to persuade the brain to do what it can to transform the accepted idea into reality.
"Such is the method of therapeutic-suggestion of which M. Ltebault is the founder. He was the first clearly to establish that the cures obtained by the old magnetizers, and even by Braid's hypnotic operations, are not the work either of a mysterious fluid or of physiological modifications due to special manipulations, but the work of suggestion alone. The whole system of magnetic medicine is only the medicine of the imagination; the imagination is put into such a condition by the hypnosis that it cannot escape from the suggestion.
"M. Ltebault's method was ignored a long time, even by the physicians at Nancy. In 1884 Charles Richet was satisfied to say that magnetism often has advantages, that it calms nervous agitation, and that it may cure or benefit certain insomnias.
"Since 1882 I have experimented with the suggestive method which I have seen used by M. Liebault, though timidly at first, and without any confidence. To-day it is daily used in my clinic; I practise it before my students; perhaps no day passes in which I do not show them some functional trouble, pain, paresis, uneasiness, insomnia, either moderated or instantly suppressed by suggestion.
"For example: a child is brought to me with a pain like muscular rheumatism in its arm, dating back four or five days. The arm is painful to pressure; the child cannot lift it to its head. I say to him, 'Shut your eyes, my child, and go to sleep.' I hold his eyelids closed, and go on talking to him. 'You are asleep, and you will keep on sleeping until I tell you to wake up. You are sleeping very well, as if you were in your bed. You are perfectly well and comfortable; your arms and legs and your whole body are asleep, and you cannot move.' I take my fingers off his eyelids, and they remain closed; I put his arms up, and they remain so. Then, touching the painful arm, I say, 'The pain has gone away. You have no more pain anywhere; you can move your arm without any pain; and when you wake up you will not feel any more pain. It will not come back any more.' In order to increase the force of the suggestion by embodying it, so to speak, in a material sensation, following M. Liebault's example I suggest a feeling of warmth loco dolente. The heat takes the place of the pain.
I say to the child,' You feel that your arm is warm; the warmth increases, and you have no more pain.
"I wake the child in a few minutes; he remembers nothing; the sleep has been profound. The pain has almost completely disappeared; the child lifts the arm easily to his head. I see the father on the days following: he is the postman who brings my letters. He tells me that the pain has disappeared completely, and there has been no return of it.