Skip to main content


In “The Law of Mental Medicine,” Thomson Jay Hudson, says:

“Like all the laws of nature, the law of mental medicine is universal in its application; and, like all the others, it is simple and easily comprehended. Granted that there is an intelligence that controls the functions of the body in health, it follows that it is the same power or energy that fails in case of disease. Failing, it requires assistance; and that is what all therapeutic agencies aim to accomplish. No intelligent physician of any school claims to be able to do more than to “assist nature” to restore normal conditions of the body.

That it is a mental energy that thus requires assistance, no one denies; for science teaches us that the whole body is made up of a confederation of intelligent entities, each of which performs its functions with an intelligence exactly adapted to the performance of its special duties as a member of the confederacy. There is, indeed, no life without mind, from the lowest unicellular organism up to man. It is, therefore, a mental energy that actuates every fibre of the body under all its conditions. That there is a central intelligence that controls each of those mind organisms, is self-evident.

Whether, as the materialistic scientists insist, this central intelligence is merely the sum of all the cellular intelligences of the bodily organism, or is an independent entity, capable of sustaining a separate existence after the body perishes, is a question that does not concern us in the pursuance of the present inquiry. It is sufficient for us to know that such an intelligence exists, and that, for the time being, it is the controlling energy that normally regulates the action of the myriad cells of which the body is composed.

it is, then, a mental organism that all therapeutic agencies are designed to energize, when, for any cause, it fails to perform its functions with reference to any part of the physical structure. It follows that mental therapeutic agencies are the primary and normal means of energizing the mental organism. That is to say, mental agencies operate more directly than any other, because more intelligibly, upon a mental organism; although physical agencies are by no means excluded, for all experience shows that a mental organism responds to physical as well as to mental stimuli.

All that can be reasonably claimed is that, in therapeutics, a mental stimulus is necessarily more direct and more positive in its effects, other things being equal, than a physical stimulus can be, for the simple reason that it is intelligent on the one hand and intelligible on the other. It must be remarked, however, that it is obviously impossible wholly to eliminate mental suggestion even in the administration of material remedies. Extremists claim that the whole effect of material remedies is due to the factor of mental suggestion; but this seems to be untenable. The most that can be claimed with any degree of certainty is that Material remedies, when they are not in themselves positively injurious, are good and legitimate forms of suggestions, and, as such, are invested with a certain therapeutic potency, as in the administration of the placebo. It is also certain that, whether the remedies are material or mental, they must, directly or indirectly, energize the mental organism in control of the bodily functions. Otherwise the therapeutic effects produced cannot be permanent.

It follows that the therapeutic value of all remedial agencies, material or mental, is proportioned to their respective powers to produce the effect of stimulating the subjective mind to a state of normal activity, and directing its energies into appropriate channels. We know that suggestion fills this requirement more directly and positively than any other known therapeutic agent; and this is all that needs to be done for the restoration of health in any case outside of the domain of surgery. It is all that can be done. No power in the universe can do more than energize the mental organism that is the seat and source of health within the body. A miracle could do no more.

Professor Clouston, in his inaugural address to the Royal Medical Society in 1896, says:

“I would desire this evening to lay down or enforce a principle that is, I think, not sufficiently, and often not at all, considered in practical medicine and surgery. It is founded on a physiological basis, and it is of the highest practical importance. The principle is that the brain cortex, and especially the mental cortex, has such a position in the economy that it has to be reckoned with more or less as a factor for good or evil in all diseases of every organ, in all operations, and in all injuries. Physiologically the cortex is the great regulator of all functions, the ever-active controller of every organic disturbance. We know that every organ and every function are represented in the cortex, and are so represented that they all may be brought into the right relationship and harmony with each other, and so they all may be converted into a vital unity through it.

“Life and mind are the two factors of that organic unity that constitute a real animal organism. The mental cortex of man is the apex of the evolutionary pyramid, whose base is composed of the swarming pyramids of bacilli and other monocellular germs which we now see to be almost all-pervading in nature. It seems as if it has been the teleological aim of all evolution from the beginning. In it every other organ and function find their organic end. In histological structure--so far as we yet know this--it far exceeds all other organs in complexity.

“When we fully know the structure of each neuron, with its hundreds of fibres and its thousands of dendrites, and the relation of one neuron to another, when we can demonstrate the cortical apparatus for universal intercommunication of nervous energy, with its absolute solidarity, its partial localisation, and its wondrous arrangements for mind, motion, sensibility, nutrition, repair, and drainage--when we fully know all this, there will be no further question of the dominance of the brain cortex in the organic hierarchy, nor of its supreme importance in disease.”

“The Lancet” records a case of Dr. Barkas of a woman (58) with supposed disease of every organ, with pains everywhere, who tried every method of cure, but was at least experimentally cured by mental therapeutics pure and simple. Assured that death would result from her state, and that a certain medicine would infallibly cure her, provided it was administered by an experienced nurse, one tablespoonful of pure distilled water was given her at 7, 12, 5 and 10, to the second with scrupulous care; and in less than three weeks all pain ceased, all diseases were cured, and remained so. This is a valuable experiment as excluding every material remedy whatever, and proving that it is the mental factor alone that cures; however, it may be generally associated with material remedies.

Dr. Morrison, of Edinburgh, discovered that a lady who had constant violent hysterical attacks had given her hand to one man and her heart to another. A little direct common-sense talk in this case formed an agreeable substitute for the distilled water in the other, and the patient never had another attack.

Many seem to think that only nervous or functional diseases are cured by Mental or Spiritual methods, but Alfred T. Scholfield, M. D., tells in “The force of Mind:”

In one long list of 250 published cases of disease cured we find five “consumption,” one “diseased hip,” five “abscess,” three “dyspepsia,” four “internal complaint,” two “throat ulcer,” seven “nervous debility,” nine “rheumatism,” five “diseased heart,” two “withered arm,” four “bronchitis,” three “weak eyes,” one “ruptured spine,” five “pains in the head.” And these are the results in one year at one small chapel in the north of London.

What about the “cures” at home and Continental spas, with their eternal round of sulphur and iron waters and baths?

Does the doctor attached to the spa, in his heart of hearts believe that all the cures which in these cases he cheerfully certifies to are effected by the waters, or even the waters and the diet, or even the waters and the diet and the air; or does he not think there must be a “something else” as well? And to come nearer home and into the centre of all things, and the chamber of all his secrets: In his own consulting room and in his own practice, is not the physician brought face to face with cures, aye, and diseases, too, the cause of which he cannot account for; and is he not often surprised to find a continuation of the same treatment originated by the local practitioners is, when continued by his august self, efficacious? And is not the local practitioner not only surprised but disgusted as well to find such is the case?

Does any practical medical man, after all, really doubt these mental powers? Is he not aware of the ingredient “faith,” which, if added to his prescriptions, makes them often all-powerful for good? Does he know experimentally the value of strongly asserting that the medicine will produce such and such effects as a powerful means of securing them?

If, then, this power is so well known, why in the name of common sense is it ignored? It has its laws of action, its limitations, its powers for good and for evil; would it not clearly help the medical student if these were indicated to him by his lawful teachers, instead of his gleaning them uncertainly from the undoubted successes of the large army of irregulars?

We are, however, inclined to think that, after all, a silent revolution is slowly taking place in the minds of medical men, and that our present text-books on disease, content with merely prescribing any mental cure in a single line as unworthy of serious consideration, will in time be replaced by others containing views more worthy of the century in which we live.”


Syndicate content