30 PSYCHOTHERAPY : SCIENTIFIC AND RELIGIOUS chap.
ing us that something is amiss. It is one of the most important symptoms of disease, and the physician often gets much information from knowing what kind of pain his patient suffers and where it is.
Pain also stimulates the secretion of adrenalin, and this in turn causes the production of haemal which is necessary for the quick repair of damaged tissues. Rest is probably the best single aid to healing. Whether or not the physician uses drugs or serums or diet or other special treatment, he always prescribes rest as well. Pain enforces rest. If it is severe enough, it may impose absolute rest in bed. Or the pain may merely enforce rest of the injured part.
In a world in which danger of injury by accident and infection threatens on all sides, pain is therefore of considerable adaptive value, and the task of alleviating it is one of eliminating the causes of it rather than simply treating the symptom. Often, of course, the pain itself must be treated in the sick, but only incidentally, and after it has served the function of telling where the trouble is.
Frequently, however, pain teaches us nothing. The persistent torment of a wound or a bruise is without practical value. Indeed, it is a serious hindrance to healing. ' Healing is greatly aided', says Dr. Hadfield, ' by the abolition of pain, so that, if the mind can abolish pain, it will materially aid in curing organic disease' 22°
Compared with the importance of right belief about God and His relationship with the human race, what a Christian's attitude is to health and sickness may seem of small significance ; yet wrong ideas on this subject may result in a warping of his whole personality. The same is true of the Church at large : serious error may follow from a misunderstanding of Christ's teaching