166 Shifting and Swinging
object of which the patient is conscious. The motion may be imagined in any part of the body to which the attention is directed. It may be communicated to the chair in which the patient is sitting, or to any object in the room, or elsewhere, which is remembered. The building, the city, the whole world, in fact, may appear to be swinging. When the patient becomes conscious of this universal swinging, he loses the memory of the object with which it started; but so long as he is able to maintain the movement in a direction contrary to the original movement of the eyes, or the movement imag ined by the mind, relaxation is maintained. If the direc tion is changed, however, strain results. To imagine the universal swing with the eyes closed is easy, and some patients soon become able to do it with the eyes open. Later the feeling of relaxation which accompanies the swing may be realized without consciousness of the latter; but the swing can always be produced when the patient thinks of it.
There is but one cause of failure to produce a swing, and that is strain. Some people try to make the letters swing by effort. Such efforts always fail. The eyes selves. The eye can shift voluntarily. This is a mus cular act resulting from a motor impulse. But the Swing comes of its own accord when the shifting is normal. It does not produce relaxation, but is an evi dence of it; and while of no value in itself is, like the period, very valuable as an indication that relaxation is being maintained.
The following methods of shifting have been found useful in various cases: