Monday, August 08, 2005

Miraculous healings and the power of suggestion

Extract from Jesus: The Evidence by Ian Wilson:

"It is well-known medically that some paralyses are 'hysterical' in origin, that is they have a mental rather than physical cause, usually as a result of some severe emotional stress. Disfiguring skin conditions, blindness, apparent inability to heal or speak, and all manner of seeming mental disorders, can also be induced by hysteria, and while to the patient such ailments seem all too real, and may last for many years, they can sometimes be cured by a reversing or neutralizing of the original, debilitating emotional problem. Although treatment with drugs is of course the most usual way of doing this today, other nonetheless well-recognized approaches are via psychotherapy or hypnosis, the 'cure' as effected by the latter often being dramatically sudden.

It has to be acknowledged that even to this day no-one really knows what hypnosis is, whatever individual hypnotists themselves may claim they know. In essence hypnosis appears to be a belief system shared between two individuals, one, the subject, who abandons himself, in terms of his waking consciousness, to the other, the hypnotist, who by taking charge of the patient's unconscious mind may be able to free elements that the patient's consciousness has previously repressed or held back. So-called 'hysterical' individuals often seem to make particularly good hypnotic subjects and consistently the effects of hypnosis upon these can be in direct proportion to the degree of awe in which they hold the hypnotist. While scientists mostly remain reticent about stating anything too positive about hypnosis because of its continuing mysteries and uncertainties, few would deny that it can and does produce some remarkable phenomena, including spectacular 'cures'.

For instance, the now veteran British hypnotist Peter Casson has on his files the case of a woman who, for fifteen years after a major car accident, had been quite unable to close her hand or to grip with it. Several operations had failed to improve her condition, but on the strength of just one hypnosis session with Peter Casson she found that she could once again close her hand and use it normally....

An even better attestation of hypnosis's medical potential is a British doctor's highly dramatic use of it as a last resort for a particularly disfiguring skin condition that was well documented, with accompanying photographs, in the British Medical Journal of 23 August 1952. The patient was a sixteen-year-old boy who two years earlier had been admitted to East Grinstead's Royal Victoria Hospital suffering from ichthyosis, a most unsightly condition that from ever since he had been born had covered his body with a black, horny, reptilian layer that was as uncomfortable and evil-smelling as it was disfiguring. Although two attempts at plastic surgery had been made, in both the reptilian layer had quickly replaced the skin that had been freshly grafted, so that even Sir Archibald McIndoe, the most eminent plastic surgeon of the day, pronounced further conventional treatment useless.

By chance, however, the boy's plight came to the notice of a young physician with an interest in hypnosis, Dr A.A.Mason, today a psycho-analyst in Beverly Hills, California. Mason asked if he might at least try hypnosis, and on 10 February 1951, having induced a hypnotic state, he suggested to the youth that his left arm's reptilian layer would disappear. There ensued an extraordinary transformation. Within five days the horny covering was soft, pink and normal for the first time in the boy's life. During the next few weeks hypnotic suggestion was given for the clearance of the reptilian layer on the right arm and then for specific remaining areas of his body, each time with between 50 per cent and 95 per cent success. although the cure was slower than it might have been in the case of, say, a hysterical blindness or paralysis (almost certainly because of the very nature of the disease), it is little short of incredible that it should have happened at all. And a fascinating feature is the fact that, because of ichthyosis's rarity, Dr Mason did not even realize at the time that he was dealing with such a congenital, structural illness. As he has frankly admitted, had he realized he would most likely not have tried hypnosis, because he would have thought it unsuitable for anything so deep-seated. But because he believed he could do it, he succeeded. Accordingly, it is the most striking, possible attestation of what mere words, given the hypnotic state, can do."

The human mind is a most mysterious thing, and mere suggestions can induce seemingly miraculous outcomes when psychosomatic symptoms or illnesses are involved.


Blogger jeffyen said...

This is a fascinating subject, and it's weird that no one really knows what hypnosis is even though it can be easily demonstrated in some people...

If these skills can be nurtured and used well, then maybe certain sicknesses can be more easily treated or healed...

Tuesday, August 09, 2005 4:03:00 PM  
Blogger akikonomu said...

More to the point, hypnotists have been able to duplicate mass hysteria in congregations, in the form of mass fainting, laughter, etc.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005 8:18:00 PM  
Blogger Agagooga said...

And healing, of course :)

Saturday, August 13, 2005 2:21:00 AM  

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