Many years ago patients who had been cured of imperfect sight by treatment without glasses quite often told me that after their vision had become perfect they were always relieved of pain, not only in the eyes and head, but in other parts of the body, even when the pain was apparently caused by some organic disease, or by an injury. The relief in many cases was so striking that I investigated some thousands of cases and found it to be a fact that persons with perfect sight, or the memory of perfect sight – that is, of something perfectly seen – do not suffer pain in any part of the body, while by a strain or effort to see I have produced pain in various parts of the body.
By perfect sight is not meant, necessarily, the perfect visual perception of words, letters, or objects, of a more or less complicated form. To see perfectly the color alone is sufficient, and the easiest color to see perfectly is black. But perfect sight is never continuous, careful scientific tests having shown that it is seldom maintained for more than a few minutes and usually not so long. For practical purposes in the relief of pain, therefore, the memory is more satisfactory than sight.
When black is remembered perfectly a temporary, if not a permanent, relief of pain always results. The skin may be pricked with a sharp instrument without causing discomfort. The lobe of the ear may be pinched between the nails of the thumb and first finger, and no pain will be felt. At the same time the sense of touch becomes more acute. The senses of taste, smell and hearing are also improved, while the efficiency of the mind is increased. The ability to distinguish different temperatures is increased, but one does not suffer from heat or cold. Organic conditions may not be changed; but all of the functional symptoms, such as fever, weakness, and shock, which these conditions cause, are relieved. Patients who have learned to remember black under all circumstances no longer dread to visit the dentist. When they remember a period the drill causes them no pain, and they are not annoyed even by the extraction of teeth. It is possible to perform surgical operations without anaesthetics when the patient is able to remember black perfectly. The following are only a few of many equally striking cases which might be given of the relief or prevention of pain by this means:
A patient suffered from ulceration of the eyeball, occurring at different times and resulting in the formation of holes through which the fluids in the interior escaped. These openings had to be closed by surgical operations At first these operations were performed under the influence of cocaine; but the progressive disease of the eye caused so much congestion that complete anaesthesia was no longer attainable by the use of this drug, and ether and chloroform were employed. As so many operations were needed, it became desirable to get along, if possible, without anaesthetics, and the patient’s success in relieving pain by the memory of black suggested that she might also be able to prevent the pain of operations in the same way. Her ability to do this was tested by touching her eyeball lightly with a blunt probe. At first she forgot the black as soon as the probe touched her eye, but later she became able to remember it. The operation was then successfully performed; the patient not only felt no pain, but her self-control was better than when cocaine had been used. Later fourteen more operations were performed under the same conditions, the patient not only suffering no pain, but, what was more remarkable, feeling no pain or soreness afterward. The patient stated that if she had been operated upon by a stranger she would probably have been so nervous that she would not have been able to remember the black; but later she. was treated by a strange dentist, who made two extractions and did some other work, all without causing her any discomfort, because she was able to remember the period perfectly.
A man who had been extremely nervous in the dentist’s chair, and had had four- extractions made under gas, surprised his dentist, after having learned the effect of the memory of a period in-relieving pain, by having a tooth extracted without cocaine, gas, or chloroform. The dentist complimented him on his nerve and looked- incredulous when the patient said he had felt no pain at all. In a second case, that of a woman, the dentist removed the nerve from three teeth without causing the patient any pain.
A boy of fourteen came to the eye clinic of the Harlem Hospital, New York, with a foreign body deeply embedded in his cornea. It caused him much pain, and his mother stated that a number of physicians had been unable to remove it, because the child was so nervous that he could not keep still long enough, although cocaine had been used quite freely. The boy was told to look at a black object, close and cover his eyes, and think of the black object until he saw black. He was soon able to do this, and the pain in his eye was relieved. He was next taught to remember the black with his eyes open. The foreign body was then removed from the cornea. The operation was one of much difficulty and required considerable time, but the boy felt no pain. While it was in progress he was asked if he was still remembering black.
“You bet I am,” he replied.
In the same hospital a surgeon from the accident ward visited the eye clinic with a friend suffering from pain in his eyes and head. The patient was benefited very quickly by relaxation methods. The surgeon said it was unusual, and spoke slightingly of my methods. I challenged him to bring me a patient with pain that I could not relieve in five minutes.
“All right,” he said. “I want you to understand that I am from Missouri.”
He returned soon with a woman who had been suffering from severe pains in her head for several years. She had been operated upon a number of times, and had been under the care of the hospital for many months.
“You cannot help the pain in this patient’s head,” said the surgeon, “because she has a brain tumor.”
I doubted the existence of a brain tumor, but I said: “Brain tumor or no brain tumor, my assistant will stop the pain in five minutes.”
He took out his watch, opened it, looked at the time, and told my assistant to go ahead. The patient was directed to look at a large black letter, note its blackness, then to cover her closed eyes with the palms of her hands, shutting out all the light, and to remember the blackness of the letter until she saw everything black. In less than three minutes she said:
“I now see everything perfectly black. I feel no pain in my head. I am completely relieved, and I thank you very much.”
The surgeon looked bewildered, and left the room without a word.
To prevent a relapse the patient was advised to palm six times a day or oftener. The pain did not return, and she came to the clinic some weeks later to express her gratitude.
Not only does the memory of perfect sight relieve pain and the symptoms of disease, but in some cases it produces manifest relief of the causes of these symptoms. Coughs, colds, hay fever, rheumatism and glaucoma are among the conditions that have been relieved in this way.
A patient under treatment for imperfect sight from a high degree of mixed astigmatism one day came to the office with a severe cold. She coughed continually, and there was a profuse discharge from both eyes and nose. There was some fever, with a severe pain in the eyes and head, and the patient was unable to breathe through her nose because of the inflammatory swelling. Palming was successful in half an hour, when the pain and discharge ceased, the nose opened, and the breathing and temperature became normal. The benefit was permanent – a very unusual thing after one treatment.
A boy of four with whooping-cough was always relieved by covering his eyes and remembering black. The relapses became less frequent, and in a few weeks he had completely recovered.
A man who suffered every summer from attacks of hay fever, beginning in June and lasting throughout the season, was completely relieved by palming for half an hour; and after three years there had been no relapse.
A man of sixty-five who had been under treatment for rheumatism for six months without improvement obtained temporary relief by palming, and by the time his vision had become normal the relief of the rheumatism was complete.
In many cases of glaucoma not only the pain, but the tension which is often associated with the pain, has been completely relieved by palming. In some cases permanent relief of the tension has followed one treatment. In others many treatments have been required.
Why the memory of black should have this effect cannot be fully explained, just as the action of many drugs cannot be explained; but it is evident that the body must be less susceptible to disturbances of all kinds when the mind is under control, and only when the mind is under control can black be remembered perfectly. That pain can be produced in any part of the body by the action of the mind is not a new observation; and if the mind can produce pain, it is not surprising that it should also be able to relieve pain and the conditions which produce it. This, doubtless, is the explanation of some of the remarkable cures reported by Faith Curists and Christian Scientists. Whatever the explanation, however, the facts have been attested by numerous proofs, and are of the greatest practical value.
With a little training anyone with good sight can be taught to remember black perfectly with the eyes closed and covered, and with a little more training anyone can learn to do it with the eyes open. When one is suffering extreme pain, however, the control of the memory may be difficult, and the assistance of someone who understands the method may be necessary. With such assistance it is seldom or never impossible.