This section is from the book "Mental Therapeutics Or Just How To Heal Oneself And Others", by Theron Q. Dumont. Also available from Amazon: Mental Therapeutics or Just How to Heal Oneself and Others.
Before proceeding to the consideration of the subject of the healing of disease by the power of mind, it will be well for us to pause for a moment that we may realize the potency of the mind in the direction of causing disease. For, let us not try to escape this truth, mind turned in the wrong direction will as surely cause disease as mind turned in the right direction will cure disease. The mental motive power runs when reversed as well as when turned forward.
Medical science, in its history, has taken jiote of many instances of great mental epidemics, accompanied by physical ills, disease, and death. Fear is contagious, as all physicians know, and when it is based on a strong belief in a suggested idea of disease, the disease spreads with marvellous rapidity. The pages of the records of medical science are filled with the testimony of eminent physicians regarding this evil potency of mind in the direction of causing disease. The following are typical instances of this testimony:
"Diabetes from sudden mental shock is a true, pure type of a physical malady of mental origin."-Sir Samuel Baker.
"In many cases, I have seen reasons for believing that cancer had its origin in prolonged anxiety,"-Sir George Paget.
"I have been surprised how often patients with primary cancer of the liver lay the cause of this ill-health to protracted grief or anxiety. The cases have been far too numerous to be accounted for as mere coincidences."-Dr. Mur-chison.
"Eruptions on the skin will follow excessive mental strain. In all these, and in cancer and epilepsy, there is a predisposition. It is remarkable how little the question of physical disease from mental influence has been studied."-Dr. Richardson.
"My experiments show that irascible, malevolent and depressing emotions generate in the system injurious compounds, some of which are extremely poisonous; also that agreeable, happy emotions generate chemical compounds of nutritious value, which stimulates the cells to manufacture energy."-Prof. Elmer Gates.
Dr. Hack Tuke, in his important work on the influence of the mind over the body, gives numerous cases of the causing of serious diseases by ideas held in the mind, or by simple mental states induced by fear. He gives many cases in which paralysis, jaundice, premature greyness and baldness, decay of the teeth, uterine troubles, erysipelas, eczema, and impetigo, have been caused in this way.
The records of physiological psychology contain many references to cases in which serious illness, and even death, have been caused by the efforts of practical jokers to "scare" their victims. The usual plan is to have several persons, during the course of a few hours, tell the victim that he is looking very ill, and that his appearance resembles that of another friend who grew suddenly ill and then died. The usual result is that the victim will become frightened, and in some cases be actually prostrated with weakness and compelled to take to his bed.
Medical students frequently contract the diseases whose symptoms they have been studying in their text-books. Moreover, it is an established fact that specialists in medical practice frequently contract the very disease that they have been studying so closely, and treating so continuously in their practice. The strong mental image tends to influence the Corporeal Mind, and that manifests in physical disorder. Many persons have contracted diseases described in detail in the patent medicine almanacs and other fear-producing printed matter describing the disease for Which the medicine is intended.
Medical annals also contain numerous references to cases in which persons have died from the belief and fright arising from having taken what they have supposed to be poison, but which in reality was some harmless drug. Cases are known in which such patients died after having manifested all the symptoms of poisoning by the drug that they had supposed they had taken, but of which an autopsy failed to reveal even a trace.
The well-authenticated instances of the production of stigmata, or the marks of the nails on the hands and feet of the crucified Savior, on the bodies of religious devotees who have too long contemplated the crucifix, is an instance of the power of the Corporeal Mind over the body which it controls. Suggestionists have pro-ducted blisters and even scars on the arms of patients, by suggesting that the harmless court-plaster placed on the arm was a strongly irritant chemical. Strong sympathy, accompanied by a vivid imagination, has caused persons to suffer the pain being undergone by others; in many cases even faint pink marks corresponding to the scars on the injured person have appeared on the body of the sympathetic relative or friend. It is a fact of common experience that many men suffer from sympathetic nausea during the pregnancy of their wives, and as many more experience soreness and pain around the lower part of the spine, accompanying the labor-pains of their wives during the birth of their children.
Hair has turned grey from emotion; milk has been rendered poisonous in the breasts of nursing mothers, from similar causes; it is frequent that nausea is produced by some story relating disgusting details, or even from the memory of a similar occasion; the thought of certain acid fruits, a lemon for instance, will cause the water to flow from the mouth; the bowels are frequently moved after one has thought of some unpleasant cathartic medicine one has taken at some time in the past; physicians know that menstruation in one woman frequently results in a similar happening in the case of other women around the first one who become aware of the fact, even though their regular monthly periods have not as yet arrived.
Carter quotes a case in which a lady saw three fingers cut from the hand of a child, in an accident. She was so affected that her hand began to pain her, and swelling resulted. The three fingers of her hand, corresponding to those cut from the hand of the child, became badly inflamed; an incision becoming necessary to evacuate the pus that had formed. Prof. James says: "The unconscious mind as revealed by hypnotism can exercise marvelous control over the nervous, vaso-motor, circulatory and other systems. There seems to be no reasonable grounds for doubting that, in certain chosen subjects, congestion, burns, blister, raised papules, bleeding from the nose or skin can be produced by suggestion." The significance of this lies in the fact that the hypnotic state is now recognized as one in which suggestion has an exaggerated effect; suggestion in the waking state, or even the auto-suggestion of the person himself, operates along the same lines, and sometimes in quite as marked a degree.
Dr. Schofield tells his students that the effect of a purgative pill has been rendered nil, and has been made to produce sleep under the belief that it was an opiate pill; and that, on the other hand, an opium pill given for sleep has failed to produce it, but acted as a strong purgative under the belief that it really was this; that great grief affects the entire body; and that he has known the breaking off of a marriage engagement to produce profound anaemia, or to whiten the hair within twenty-four hours.
As for the effect of "pure imagination" on the body, under the suggestion and belief in placebos, or other "make believe" remedies, such as bread-pills, etc., every physician can supply numerous evidences, if he feels so disposed, and thinks you are to be trusted. Bread-pills have cured many diseases, and have also produced strong purgative action when taken under the belief that they are extra strong purgative pills. Some physicians with a greater scientific curiosity than a regard for their patients have produced almost at will the entire range of physical conditions by prescribing harmless and inactive chemical substances accompanied with the strong suggestion of their effect. And, as every physician knows only too well, a hysterical patient will manage to counterfeit, and thus eventually to actually induce, a great range of physical disorders.
There is no need for extending this recital, for an entire book might be filled with instances of this kind. The one principle which is illustrated in all of these cases, and all like them, is this: That the Corporeal Mind which has control of the functions of the physical body, from great to small, simple to complex, is amenable to suggestion or insinuated ideas-either those of other persons, or those which are "picked up" by the conscious mind of the person himself. The suggestions or insinuated ideas, once accepted, tend to manifest it in action and outward expression, and thus cause to appear in physical form and conditions that which originally existed in the mind alone.
From this it is seen that the real cause of many cases and forms of physical disorders and disease is to be found in these suggested or acquired ideas or thoughts which have been accepted by the Corporeal Mind, and subsequently manifested into objective forms, states and conditions.
Consequently, the practitioner of Mental Therapeutics must always seek for these mental causes of the diseases which he is called upon to treat and heal. While, of course, he must direct his treatment to the physical conditions as they exist at the time of the treatment, he must also at the same time strive to reach and remove the original erroneous idea or thought which has really caused the whole trouble. In this way he discovers and removes the roots of the trouble, and does not content himself with merely treating and removing the consequences, effects, and results thereof-the symptoms, in short.
In Lesson II we have seen that the Subconscious Mind (of which the Corporeal Mind is a phase or aspect) will continue to harbor and manifest these erroneous ideas and thoughts until the following things happen, viz.: (a) The idea is neutralized, cancelled, and replaced by a sufficiently strong opposing idea or suggestion; or (b) the accepted suggested idea is traced back to its birth in the mind of the person, and is thereupon shown to be erroneous, based on wrong premises, and therefore untrue; in both of which methods the erroneous and harmful idea is wiped from the tablets of the mind, and ceases to exist-or to express it otherwise, the erroneous idea is painted over by the new and time idea, and ceases to appear in the mind, or to manifest in form and action.
This point of practice is worthy of special emphasis, and of careful thought and remembrance, for it goes right to the root of the trouble and eradicates the seed of the foul mental growth that is causing the trouble. Too often, the mental healer, like his brother, the medical doctor, contents himself with treating and removing the outward symptoms of the internal trouble. Try to discover the root of the trouble, and manage to kill it out at the same time you are remedying the manifestations arising from its presence in the mind of the patient. This, and this alone, is true and complete mental healing of disease.