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"Through the brain and spinal cord thoughts can lead to a paralysing or stimulation of the sympathetic ganglion nodes, and consequently to blushing or blanching of certain peripheral parts. Through disturbances of this mechanism many nervous disorders arise, such as chilblains, sweats, bleeding of the nose, chills, and congestions, various disturbances of the reproductive organs, and, if it lasts long enough, nutritional disturbances in the part of the body supplied by the blood-vessels affected. In the same way there are peripheral ganglionic mechanisms which superintend glandular secretion, the action of the intestinal muscles, etc. These likewise can be influenced through the brain by ideas and emotions. Thus we can explain how constipation and a vast number of other disturbances of digestion and of menstruation can be produced through the brain, without having their cause in the place in which they appear. It is for the same reason that such disturbances can be cured by hypnotic suggestion." 1

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Here, then, we reach a further stage. What can be produced by thought, "for the same reason can be cured by suggestion-and not only, we may add, by that form of suggestion which is given under hypnotism.

Thus more and more it is becoming recognised that what mind can cause mind can cure. There is no restriction to things neurotic in the production of disease by the mind, and neither is there any such restriction in the removal of disease by the mind: "in all diseases of every organ" the mind has to be reckoned with. In all recovery there is a mental element; in most recoveries there is nothing else, since, after all, medical help is only sought in a minority of ailments; and even in those cures where

1 August Forel, Hygiene der Nerven und des Geistes im Gesunden und Kranken Zustande, Zurich, 2nd ed., 1905. (English trans, by Dr. A. Aikins, 1907, p. 160.


the mind has the smallest part, as for instance when a poison in the blood is neutralised by hypodermic injections, the very act of circulation, without which the injections would be useless, is due to the undermind, is controlled by the vaso-motor nerves, and is influenced by the mind as a whole, and this is true also of the consequent restoration of the body to normal conditions.


Throughout the remaining parts of this book will be found historical cases of the cure of organic diseases. In the Appendix will be found modern. instances from Goddard and Bernheim, and the results of the medical reports at Lourdes. An older list has been given by Dr. Hack Tuke of cases collected by himself, as to which he says that the diseases most frequently benefited by mental means "were undoubtedly rheumatism, gout, and dropsy," though he considers that "if all the cases of hysterical neuralgia and contraction of joints were reported, those which are called merely nervous affections of the body would take priority." He concludes

"The only inference which we are justified in drawing from these figures is that the beneficial influence of Psychotherapeutics is by no means confined to nervous disorders."

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No doubt some people will continue to assert that there are no cases of the mind-cure of organic diseases, and that all such cases have been wrongly diagnosed. But these assertions are least made by

1 See p. 402, seq.

2 D. Hack Tuke, The Influence of the Mind on the Body, 1884, II, p. 301.


those who have most studied the evidence. may then safely declare that there is no primâ facie impossibility about the healing of any curable disease by mental or spiritual means. Always remembering our lobster, we must insert the word "curable," because disease may wreak a physical destruction that is beyond any known powers of restoration.1 Also we gratefully maintain the value of material assistance: in some cases, as in the removal of a stone imbedded in some internal tissue, material help alone will often be effective; in other cases, as in the mending of a fractured bone, though the actual process is mental, because due to the co-operation of the undermind,2 physical assistance is of the utmost use in setting the limb, so that the fracture may be free from disturbance; in yet other cases mental power may cure when the disease has proved incurable by any other means. We must not be surprised to find strange results in this sphere, since the power employed is little understood and little studied, and we have no adequate means of fixing its limitations.

We cannot restrict the curative power of mind to this or that form of injury or disease. All that we can really say is that it is a matter of relative strength. If the ill is stronger than the mental influence arrayed against it, then it is incurable unless physical means are brought to the patient's succour, or it may, of course, be incurable altogether. Still,

1 See p. 95. I say “curable,” not merely "functional.” 2 See pp. 66, 70. The process is like building up a hole in the wall: the work of the undermind consists in despatching the necessary materials to the fracture. The "vital energy of the cells builds them in.

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by strengthening the mental power the balance may be redressed, and the patient will then overcome the disease. Now many people have found that this inward force is so stimulated by the removal of all other means that they have given up medical aid often with remarkable success. Their action is unwise and may be immoral, however much excuse may be found for it in the stupid materialism of a few doctors, and it has caused many disasters; the saints of the Church were more respectful even to the inadequate science of their day.1 But the remedy is that both sides should lay aside their prejudices, and that those who value mind-cure should feel their faith to be not weakened but strengthened when they call in the physician for his skilled diagnosis and wise advice. When they find that the highest therapeutic powers of all, religion and mind, are ignored or openly despised, they will be tempted to refuse altogether the support of natural science.

The relative success or failure of such powers is a matter of degree; few medical authorities now doubt that they will hold an ever-enlarging place in the therapeutics of the future. Strengthen the spiritual power of man, and we shall have more control over his physical organs; reduce it, and we shall have less. We made but little use of it in the last century, and consequently we are but little trained in these higher ways. When we are more truly scientific and recognise better the unity of man, we shall also be more truly religious. Man, who has lived so much in servitude to the lower centres, 1 See e.g., pp. 370-1.

will have more inward control than now; and those whose business it is to heal him will participate with him in a spiritual mastery that will perhaps cause posterity to smile at our present subjection to the vagaries of the physical organism.

All things are not possible to the average man in an age when his mind is set on the vulgar ambitions of material desires, his inward vision distorted by a false perspective, and the very foundations of his being thus weakened for the high mastery of spiritual response. But, even now, more is possible to the strong than to the weak, more to the wise than to the unbalanced, more to the man of joy and peace, than to the fearful and unbelieving, more— much more - to the saint than to the sinner.

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