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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 34.djvu/829

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to relax his mental hold on the limb. Dr. Taylor caused the young man to take certain exercises with his arms, of so violent a character that they absorbed all his attention, leaving none for his lower limbs. Within three days he gave up restraining the injured leg, and he began to walk involuntarily. In this case it was the mind which needed treatment. A young lady was sent to Dr. Taylor from Albany for a supposed partial paralysis of the left foot and ankle, which caused her to drop her toes in walking. Her trouble proved to be entirely mental, and she was cured within ten days by restoring consciousness of power in the affected foot. He gives other cases to show that mental influence over bodily function causes not only loss of muscular power, but also increased muscular action simulating muscular spasm, increased or diminished bodily sensations, and disorders in the involuntary processes of life. His experience indicates that in such cases treatment directed toward the mind is the only sort that can be effective. He only alludes to “the important subject of mental influence on actual disease” in this article. “Suffice it here to say,” he remarks, “that, as must be inferred from the facts and arguments already adduced, no system of therapeutics can be complete which does not embrace the design of controlling psycho-biological relations in general, and with reference to chronic diseases especially.”

Prof. G. Buchanan, of Glasgow, has placed on record cases of the same nature as these described by Dr. Taylor. Still others are related by Walter Moxon (“Contemporary Review,” vol. xlviii, p. 707) and by other writers. Animal magnetism, first brought forward as a healing agency by Mesmer a century ago, has since been studied scientifically under the name of hypnotism. The work of these later investigators has established the fact that a large number of functional diseases are benefited, and even permanently cured, through the mind by hypnotic suggestion.

Now, in view of what has been done in curing disease by the aid of mental influence, the public has a right to demand that our physicians shall give us the benefit of this healing agency. Mental influence is a pleasant and inexpensive medicine; it cures in some cases where drugs fail, and it shortens the term of sickness and lightens its pains in many other cases; furthermore, it has no injurious incidental effects. But the mind-cure should be taken out of the hands of the untrained and irresponsible visionaries and the impostors who now practice it, or it will add a terrible amount of suffering and death to what it has already caused. These enthusiasts, carried away by their seeming successes in a few cases, insist that the mind-cure is the only treatment that is worth anything in all diseases and for all persons. They know too little