ix SCIENTIFIC HYPNOSIS AND THE OCCULT 355
results, to take much larger doses of poison than in the normal state, and that the bites of venomous serpents are very much less likely to prove fatal than in the waking state. The action of hypnotism here is probably similar to that exerted by chloral in the treatment of tetanus, and of large quantities of alcohol as a remedy for snake-bites. The excitability of the nerve centres is controlled, and excessive and exhausting discharge is prevented until the poison has been eliminated. Hypnotic treatment is also itself extremely useful in the treatment of tetanus and other spasmodic diseases depending on an increased reflex excitability of the brain or spinal cord not, be it understood, to the neglect of other treatment, but as an auxiliary. The dysuria of Bright's disease, or diabetes, stricture, and even prostatic enlargement in some cases, can be relieved by hypnotism. Childbirth can also be made painless.
It is now generally recognized that, in certain cases, hypnotic suggestion may effect a cure or bring relief when all other modes of treatment are not available. It may also be used with great advantage as a supplement to other treatments in relieving symptoms that are accentuated by nervous irritability or mental disturbance. A third wide field of usefulness lies before it in the cure of undesirable habits of many kinds. Under the first heading may be put insomnia, neuralgia, neurasthenia and hysteria in almost all its many forms. Under the second, inflammations such as that of chronic rheumatism, contractures and paralyses resulting from gross lesion of the brain, epilepsy, dyspepsia, menstrual irregularities, sea-sickness. Under the third, inebriety, the morphia and other drug habits, nail-biting, enuresis nocturna, masturbation, constipation, and facial and other twitchings.
The widespread prejudice against the use of hypnosis