A Common-Sense View of the Mind Cure, by Laura M. Westall, , at sacred-texts.com
HEADACHE.--This is usually due to nervous collapse (of the brain), and this causes a derangement of the circulation. The blood congests or stagnates in the membrane which lines the brain.
The obvious treatment is to stimulate the brain and bring the circulation to the normal.
First, open the window, then lie down on the back, with the feet as high as the head and relax the muscles; this takes the tension off the heart and brain.
When the body is completely relaxed, begin to inhale long, deep breaths, regularly, and suggest or imagine that the blood is passing out of the head and to the feet;
follow the course of the blood in imagination.
The primary effect is to intensify the pain because more blood rushes to the head; but if the treatment be persisted in for twenty to thirty minutes, the circulation will be regulated; and no congestion, no headache.
There should be continued relaxation and breathing for a half-hour or less, during which one should stop thinking, and let the brain rest.
With intermittent headaches there should be a daily relaxation and treatment until they are brought under control. If there is great debility of the brain and sympathetic centers, this may take several years; it depends upon the age and general condition.
As there is usually more or less derangement of the stomach and liver in such cases, an excellent hygienic measure is to wash out the stomach with hot water
on first rising and whenever the stomach is empty.
CONSTIPATION.--This requires local treatment. Concentrate the attention upon the bowels, placing the hands upon them. Hold the mind steady and affirm or imagine that nervous force is passing to the parts; that the increased activity of the nerves will fill the blood-vessels with blood, and that therefore the intestinal muscles will be stimulated to action; that this will free the bowels and keep them free.
At first there will be a sensation of heat, and sometimes pain; but a half-hour treatment, or in some cases less, for a week, will prove efficacious, and if persisted in until tone has been restored to the nerves will forever avert the use of cathartics.
As all the involuntary activity of the body is automatic, regulate movements by the clock. Fix upon a certain hour and expect relief.
After one has "got in practise" he will find it possible to stimulate the action of the liver in the same way.
A hygienic measure is copious drafts of water. Children are rarely constipated because of the free use of water. If a pint of water, hot or cold, be drunk on first rising, and a glass or more every time the stomach is empty, the intestinal canal will be "flushed" and the membrane kept clean.
COLDS.--One "takes cold" only when the vitality is low. Anxiety, mental strain, despondency, and fatigue are some of the causes of lowered vitality. A sudden chill contracts the pores of the skin, stops insensible perspiration, and through its action upon the sympathetic center deranges the circulation, causing the blood to stagnate in the membrane which lines the air-passages of the head and throat.
It should be arrested in its incipient stage. "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure."
As soon as the symptoms are perceived begin at once to take full, deep breaths, and keep it up. This tends to hold the circulation normal, and no congestion, no cold. Assist the circulation with the imagination and set the will against the cold. An act of will stimulates the brain, and increases the mental energy so that you have more strength to fight the cold.
Open the bowels; if you drink hot water freely, it will tend to do this, and also keep up the temperature.
Eat very little, if at all, until the cold is under control; one needs all his vital force to conquer the cold, and a full stomach needs energy with which to digest the food.
CATARRH.--This is a devitalized condition of the nerves (vasomotor) of the mucous membrane which lines the air-passages of the head and throat, due to numerous past colds. It becomes constitutional because of the passing into the blood of the
bacilli in the mucous matter secreted by the membrane. Treatment should be inaugurated by taking a tonic for the blood prescribed by a physician.
The psychophysical treatment is deep breathing of fresh air to build up the brain and improve vitality, and concentration of attention upon the mucous membrane. Stimulating the nerves will improve the circulation and eventually restore tone to the membrane.
If the general condition is much below par, it will take several years to effect a cure; otherwise, a decided gain will accrue in a few months.
NERVOUSNESS, NERVOUS EXHAUSTION, AND NEURASTHENIA.--These disorders are due to a debilitated brain. The mind should be held calm, and care and worry put aside; above all, fatigue should be avoided. Absolute rest is demanded, mental and physical. Since the brain is the organ of mind, the more one thinks the
more one uses the brain; hence one should learn to vegetate "like the cattle on a thousand hills."
Lie out of doors in the sunshine, with muscles relaxed and mind at rest, and breathe, full and deep, hours at a time. Get control of the circulation by imagination and send an excess supply of blood to the brain.
The exercises already described may also be used to advantage.
INDIGESTION.--This is one of our commonest ailments, and those who suffer from it will find by observation that worry, mental strain, despondency, disappointment, and fatigue invariably increase the discomfort. It is oftener the quantity, rather than the quality, of the food which causes distress, and the mode of life is also of moment.
If it is to be overcome, the taint, sometimes hereditary, must be wiped out of the mind and brain. Since it has a depressing
effect upon the mind, suggestion and will must be employed to throw off the incubus. Diverting the mind at mealtime and after, cheerful society, laughter, and fresh air, are valuable aids. "Brooding" is especially to be avoided.
Also the brain and sympathetic nerves should be toned up by habitual deep breathing.
For the local treatment: Direct the mind to the stomach, placing the hands upon it. Take two or three long breaths and at the same time imagine that the vital force is flowing to the part, kindling the nerves to action. Suggest, if you like, that the blood-vessels are filling with blood; that your stomach is strong and fully capable of digesting the food you eat, etc.
If you concentrate your mind well, you will shortly perceive a sensation of heat, and perhaps a quivering of the nerves. After a few moments, the feeling of fulness, weight, and cold will pass off,
and very probably gas, if there is fermentation.
This process will have to be repeated daily for an indefinite period to effect a cure, but one can always modify distressing symptoms by such measures.
It goes without saying that if one eats slowly and masticates thoroughly, he will do much toward aiding the other forms of treatment.
RHEUMATISM AND NEURALGIA.--In chronic cases the blood contains an acid for which medical treatment is demanded.
The low nervous state, as in gout, is due to the debility of the brain, sometimes caused by organic changes. Both hygienic and mental treatment should be added to the medical.
Deep breathing, sun-baths, and copious drafts of water are valuable in toning up the brain and nervous system.
As no distinction can be made between a mental and a nervous pain, a strenuous
attempt should be made to get control of the mind. Fear of the pain and the "expectant attention " should be overcome. By means of suggestion, daily practised, one may in a few months more or less mitigate the receptivity of the brain (cortex) and the mental sensibility. If one takes hold of it, mentally, when the first symptoms appear, he may by proper suggestions succeed eventually in driving it off. It takes practise, however.
FUNCTIONAL DISORDERS OF WOMEN.--Those incidental to middle life are caused by organic changes taking place in the brain and sex-organism. Nature alone can effect a cure, but the multitudinous discomforts may be mitigated by hygienic and mental treatment.
Recreation will do much toward mitigating mental depression.
Sun-baths, riding and walking, and abundant sleep are hygienic necessities. Water should be drunk freely, to keep
the alimentary canal clean and the bowels open.
Deep breathing, more than any other agency, must be relied upon to keep the blood vitalized and the nutrition of the brain normal.
Overwork, mental strain, anxiety, and all depressing emotions should be avoided. A determined effort must be made to be cheerful; tho the sufferer does not feel cheerful, if an attempt is made to appear so, she will tend to become so by a psychological law.
Daily relaxation should be practised--lying on the back, stop thinking, and rest . the brain.
If some new pursuit is taken up, like the study of art or music, botany or floriculture, a new zest is given to life, and the physical ills may be forgotten or relegated to second place.
As the ovaries are leading factors in the disturbances, all other symptoms being
mainly reflex, local treatment should be used.
Fix the attention upon the ovaries, placing the hands thereon for a short time daily, and by suggestion and imagination improve the circulation. A beneficial effect upon the sympathetic centers will thus be produced.
As much as possible the sufferer's mind should be diverted from herself. She should stedfastly refuse to talk about her ailments; and when her attention is called to herself, she will do well to form a mental picture of herself as radiantly well.
FALLING HAIR.--This results from poor circulation in the scalp; insufficient blood-supply deprives the hair-follicles of the elements of nutrition. Daily concentration of attention upon the scalp will put an end to this condition, and new hair may be grown if the hair-glands have not been destroyed by bacilli.
Selected parts of the body may be built
up by the psychophysical process so often described.
It can not be dogmatically affirmed that new tissue can be added at will to any part of the body; it is a matter which individual experiment alone can determine. The conditions of life, the mode of life, the age, and assimilative capacity may one or all prevent success.
LEANNESS.--This may be overcome, provided there is no malnutrition or emaciating disease, by holding steadily in "the mind's eye" a picture of what one wishes to become. The experimenter should fix upon the number of pounds to be gained and see the figures as often as possible mentally. If they are written or printed and placed where they may be often seen, it will expedite the result, as will also deep breathing.
SUPERFLUOUS FLESH.--This may be sloughed off in the same manner in which leanness is overcome. In this case, the
experimenter should fix upon the number of pounds to be lost. He should live with the mental picture which he creates by suggestion and imagination.
In addition, there should be deep breathing to improve the vitality--excessive flesh denotes an abnormal condition.
In such cases the energy generated by the brain is largely used in converting the food eaten into flesh-forming products. The scholar, the thinker, whose mental life is intensely active, is nearly always of spare figure--the energy is consumed by his mental processes. The restless, nervous person who is constantly turning from one form of activity to another is also thin. The day-laborer, whose mind-action is slight, consumes his energy in muscular exercise. But the good-natured, easy-going individual, who takes life with a cheerful philosophy, and exercises neither his mind nor his muscles to any great extent, is quite sure to take on flesh. The accumulation
of fat about the heart, particularly if the vital organs are squeezed together by tight clothing, obstructs the breathing and circulation, hence the blood becomes poor. Many fleshy people have an anemic look.
So, then, the mental energy set free by the brain must be consumed by exercise, mental or muscular, to keep the weight of the body normal.
Women especially need to cultivate deep breathing and take more open-air exercise.
SLIGHT STRUCTURAL DEFECTS.--It is strongly probable that slight structural defects like outstanding ears, round shoulders, or a misshapen nose may be remedied by psychophysical treatment, provided such work is undertaken before the age of thirty. The act of attention improves nutrition, as has been shown, and imagination is a power which we have hardly yet begun to reckon with.
MENTAL STRAIN.--One of the crying
evils of our time is a kind of nervous frenzy--the mad haste to get somewhere or do something; the ambition to get rich, to break records, to win championships, to do the maximum of work in the minimum of time--in short, to compass the impossible.
As a consequence, nervousness, nervous exhaustion, and a long train of ills afflict constantly increasing numbers.
This anxious haste puts a strain upon the mind, which reacts upon the brain and nervous system with deadly effect. Few see it, but nevertheless this mental strain consumes the vitality, exhausts the brain, and if persisted in will finally leave its victim a nervous wreck. Some of the "kings of finance" can not sleep or digest the simplest food.
Many persons attack their daily work under this tension. The thought of the work to be done, the unconscious fear that it may not all be accomplished in the prescribed
time, puts the tension on the mind, and this keys up the brain. Ordinary fatigue is thereby increased to exhaustion, and it is an exhaustion of the brain, which frequently induced spells ultimate prostration.
The remedy is simple. One has but to realize the insanity of such a course and calm his mind by an effort of will. A little common-sense mental discipline will break the habit, and the gain in health, self-control, and mental poise will be of lasting value.
"What doth it profit a man if he gain the whole world and lose his own soul?"