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The Mind Cure

The Mind Cure, otherwise known in its various subdivisions as
metaphysics, Christian science, mental science, etc., is a species of
delusion quite popular at the present time. Every era of the world has
cherished similar delusions, for the mass of the human race, even in
what are considered the educated classes, are so unfamiliar with the
processes of exact reasoning that they fall a ready prey to quacks of
all kinds. The fundamental idea of the mind cure system is that there
is no such thing as sickness. Disease, says one of their apostles, is
an error of the mind, the result of fear. Fear is only faith inverted
and perverted. God, who is all good Himself, and who made everything
good, cannot have been the author of any disease. As disease,
therefore, is not a creation, it has no existence, and when the healer
has succeeded in impressing this fact upon the mind of the patient, the
cure is effected. It is curious to note into what utter absurdities the
need for consistency carries these apostles. Poisons, they say, would
be quite harmless if the fear of them was removed, but we have yet to
find the "mental science" teacher who will undertake to prove this by
herself taking liberal doses of aconite and strychnine. The illnesses
of children are explained by the hypothesis of hereditary fear. The
majority of the teachers of this new faith are women, many of whom, no
doubt, are sincere in their belief; but it may be safely stated that
the men engaged as the so-called physicians of the new practice are,
with few exceptions, unprincipled quacks, who have gone into the
business for the money they can make by duping the ignorant. As far as
there is any truth underlying the vagaries of mind cures, and their
boasts of remarkable cases of healing, it may be admitted that the mind
has much influence over the body. This fact has been recognized by
intelligent physicians for centuries. And that the peculiar modern type
of nervous diseases, which are so largely caused by excessive stimulus
of the nerves and the imagination, should be amendable to cure through
the imagination, is not strange. It will be noted that this mental cure
has effected its miracles mainly among women, where it has the
emotional temperament to work on, and almost wholly in the ranks of the
wealthy and well-to-do, where there is little or no impoverishment of
the system by insufficient food and excessive toil to hinder its
effects. We have not heard, nor are we likely to hear, of an epidemic
disease checked by the mind cure, or of the healing of acute affections
or organic troubles through its agency. Nor do we hear of its seeking
to carry its message of healing into the houses of the suffering poor
in large cities, where hunger, exposure and foul airs open wide the
door to fevers and all deadly diseases, nor yet into the hospitals for
contagious or incurable affections. In the presence of such realities
it would prove, as its votaries probably understand, a too-painful
mockery. Intelligently analyzed, therefore, this new revelation amounts
to nothing more than a quite striking proof of the remarkable influence
of the mind over the nervous system. Beyond this, the craze, in
attempting to disprove the existence of disease, and to show that
poisons do not kill, is simply running against the plain and inevitable
facts of life, and can safely be left to perish through its own

While it must be admitted that many upright and worthy people are
followers of this faith, it can be asserted that to say "disease is
only a mental derangement" is carrying the idea of the power of mind
over matter entirely too far.

Always send immediately for a medical man. Save all fluids vomited, and
articles of food, cups, glasses, etc., used by the patient before taken
ill, and lock them up.

As a rule give emetics after poisons that cause sleepiness and raving;
chalk, milk, eggs, butter and warm water, or oil, after poisons that
cause vomiting and pain in the stomach and bowels, with purging; and
when there is no inflammation about the throat, tickle it with a
feather to excite vomiting.

Vomiting may be caused by giving warm water, with a teaspoonful of
mustard to the tumblerful, well stirred up. Sulphate of zinc (white
vitriol) may be used in place of the mustard, or powdered alum. Powder
of ipecacuanha, a teaspoonful rubbed up with molasses, may be employed
for children. Tartar emetic should never be given, as it is
excessively depressing, and uncontrolable in its effects. The stomach
pump can only be used by skillful hands, and even then with caution.

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