The Law Of Psychic Phenomena - online book

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168         THE LAW OF PSYCHIC PHENOMENA.
by means of suggestion ; that is, by making the idea of cure penetrate the mind. The subject being hypnotized, M. Li-bault's method consists in affirtning 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. Li^bault 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. Li^bault'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. Ltebault, 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,