A gentleman of Belfast, Maine, Dr. Phineas P. Quimby, who was remarkable successful as an experimenter in mesmerism some sixteen years ago, and has continued his investigations in Psychology, has discovered, and in his daily practice carries out a new principle on the treatment of diseases.
All medical treatment of previous schools deals with the effect and not the cause,—treats the disordered body and not the mind which is the active agent of that disorder.—It is universally acknowledge that the mind is often the cause of the disease, but it has never before been supposed to have an equal power in overcoming it.
He says that in every disease the animal spirit, or spiritual form is somewhat disconnected from the body, and that when he comes en rapport with a patient, he sees that spirit form standing beside the body, that it imparts to him all its grief and the cause of it—which may have [been] mental trouble, or shock to the body—as over fatigue, excessive cold or heat, &c., This of course impresses the mind with anxiety, and the mind reacting upon the body, produces disease.
In the case of a young child, one might say, “surely here the mind can have nothing to do with the disease,”—but not so. If a child coughs, its mind is cognizant of it and dreads it, as he would dread the fire that has just burned him, and that dread increases the tendency to cough and thus the disease is produced.
With this spirit form Dr. Quimby converses and endeavors to win it away from its grief, and when he has succeeded in doing so it disappears and reunites with the body.—Thus is commenced the first step towards recovery. This union frequently lasts but a short, time, when the spirit again appears exhibiting some new phase of its troubles with this he again persuades and contends until he overcomes it, when it disappears as before,—Thus two shades of trouble have disappeared from the mind, and consequently from the animal spirit, and the body has already commenced its effort to come into a state in accordance with them.
Dr. Quimby says, that there is no danger from disease when the mind is armed against it. That he will treat a person who has the most malignant disorder, without danger to himself, though his sympathy with the patient is so strong that he feels in his own person every symptom of the disease—but he dissipates from his mind the idea of it and induces in its place an idea of health.
He says the mind—the thinking principle—is what it thinks it is,—and that if it contends against the thought of disease, and creates for itself an ideal form of health, that form impresses itself upon the animal spirit and through that upon the body,—that his use is a positive power and aids the spirit which is not strong enough in itself to contend against the idea of disease.
Of course I have given but the barest outline of this theory which opens a new field full of interest and beauty to the lover of Psychology. To many minds it would seem speculative and fantastic were it not substantiated by cures so remarkable as to seem almost miraculous. Indeed Dr. Quimby asserts that he believes nothing but what he actually sees—that he is unaided by any process of reasoning. He practices in a comparatively narrow sphere with rare simplicity and has done to call the attention of the public to his system, but it seems to me to be founded upon true philosophical principles and to be deserving of a wider acceptance.—Bangor Jeffersonian.
[“Bangor 1857” is handwritten along the side of this article.—Ron Hughes]