A Broad Perspective on Mental Healing

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ix                 SCIENTIFIC HYPNOSIS AND THE OCCULT              347
the arms to the extremities of the fingers, and, after holding the thumbs a moment, repeated this process two or three times. He also touched the seat of pain with his fingers, or with the palm of his hand, following the direction of the nerves as much as possible. Mesmer employed a species of actual handling or passes with contact; on the other hand, many later operators have made passes without contact.
Esdaile put the patient in bed in a darkened room, directed him to close his eyes, and to try to go to sleep. He then made passes without contact over the entire body, and from time to time breathed gently upon the head and eyes. This process was continued for an hour, and at the end of it many of the patients were sufficiently influenced to undergo painful operations without feeling any discomfort.
When he first started his hypnotic practice, Braid used to take a bright object, generally his lancet-case, which he held in his left hand about a foot from the patient's eyes, and at such a distance above the forehead that it could not be seen without straining. The patient was told to look steadily at the object and to think of nothing else. After a time Braid found that fixed gazing was frequently followed by pain and slight inflammation of the eyes. Thereupon he changed his method. The prolonged gazing was abandoned, and the patient was instructed to close his eyes at an early stage of the proceedings. Hypnosis was induced as easily as before, and without any unpleasant symptoms. Provided the body and mind were at rest, he found he could hypnotize as readily in the dark as in the light. He succeeded, moreover, with the blind : these facts led him to the conclusion that the influence was exerted through the mind, and not through the optic nerve, as he had presupposed. At a later date, Braid emphatically