A Broad Perspective on Mental Healing

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prescribed indicates that rest repairs fatigue or exhaustion, thereby increasing the general resistance of the organism to infection and other noxious agents ; decreases the strain on the heart and blood-vessels ; diminishes the energy output and thus also the required caloric intake ; quietens the nervous system, thus tending to relieve excitement, heightened reflexes and often spastic states ; and diminishes the motion of the affected part or parts, thereby averting possible strain and injury. Seeing its so many-sided use, Jacobson of Chicago set himself to seek by scientific means the most effective form of rest. This brings to the attention the fact that the patient advised to remain in bed often fails to get the desired restful effects. He may not know how to relax and the restlessness may be increased by distress ; therefore he may shift and fidget in bed ; lie stiffly or uncomfortably, owing to tense muscles ; and may be worried, impatient or otherwise over-active in mind. This, in effect, may nullify the physician's purpose in prescribing rest in bed; and may also explain the failures which are commonly reported concerning the so-called ' rest-cure \ Jacobson searched for a more direct and efficient means of bringing quiet to the nervous system. His book II0 contains the results of his clinical as well as the physiological investigation of muscular states and their significance in psychology and medical practice. Maloney I45 applied relaxation, produced by passive movements {i.e. manipulations performed by the physician), in the treatment of tabes, and certain of his observations agree with those of Jacobson, who distinguishes between two kinds of relaxation. One is local, when the relaxation is limited to a particular muscle-group or to a part, as a limb ; the other is general, when it includes practically the entire body, lying down.