OP INDIA. By T. H. DEL
LIEUT., I.M.S., Fort Lock hart, Samaria.
Hypnotism as a therapeutic agent is not so used as it might be in India, and though its use in England is spreading, it does not seem to spread in a corresponding degree in India. My experiences with hypnotism in India are more limited than they were in England and Ireland; still I notice some difference in the behaviour of the native of India compared to the European as regards hypnotism. I hypnotise a patient as follows: Placing some small bright object in his hand, and seating him with his back to the light in an armchair, I direct him to hold the object at a convenient distance from his eyes and to stare at it. I then " continue in words somewhat as follows: While in form must your staring at this object you own mind a picture of yourself going asleep at night. Imagine you see yourself lying in bed with your eyes closed trying to sleep. Whenever I say to you 'think of sleep, then recall this idea of sleep to your mind, if your mind happens When you have to be wandering at the time. looked at the object for some time you will find
very tired. You will become
THE INDIAN MEDICAL GAZETTE.
more and more sleepy, ail intense desire to close your eyes will ensue, they will close and you will be asleep." He continues to stare at the object, while I, from time to time use various suggestions bearing on his state, such as "Your eyes become tired. You notice darkness around the bright object. Your eyelids feel heavy and are gradually closing. Continue to think of sleep. You have an intense desire to be asleep. Your eyes are closing. Now they You are going asleep." are closed. These suggestions I modify and elaborate according to the apparent condition of my patient. I keep his"mind intently on sleep by frequently saying think of sleep." Fiually when his eyes close, I gently stroke his forehead and e}7elids in a downward direction, and say in " a more commanding voice than before sleep," " " sleep deeply several times. If I desire to make sure that he is asleep, I raise his hand up, and after holding it so for some seconds I let go, his hand remains up until I tell him he can lower it. This is called suggestive catalepsy. Or I dare him to open his eyes telling him it is impossible for him to do so, and though he is evidently struggling hard, he cannot open his eyes. Or I flex his elbow and maintain it in the flexed condition for " several seconds, and say, you are unable to he cannot do so. out elbow," your straighten When these This is suggestive contracture. signs or any one of them are present, I know my patient is under the influence of hypnotism. Still all these signs may be absent, and the only " indication may be that on saying, Try to open your e}res you cannot," he does so, with some little difficulty, and complains only of a little drowsiness. This is the first degree or stage of somnolence of Liebault. In the second degree, the patient cannot open his eyes, and suggestive catalepsy can be induced. In the third degree, drowsiness is more pronounced, tactile sensibility is diminished or lost. The fourth degree is characterized in addition by loss of relation with the outer world. The patient's senses are only in communication with the operator. He hears only what the operator says. On waking he remembers all that occurred while he was asleep. In the fifth and sixth degrees or the degrees of somnambulism, the patient on waking all ? forgets that happened while he was asleep. These latter degrees are perhaps the most potent for therapeutic purposes, and in my experience so far, are the degrees mostly met with in the natives of India. But I would add that these deep degrees of hypnotism do not always mean greater therapeutic value, and vice versa. is simple. I blow on his Waking a patient " he is awake at once. eyes and say, wake up ; for Hj'pnotic suggestion therapeutic purposes is applied as follows: A patient having, say a headache, is hypnotised, I place my hand on
his head and say, "Your headache will soon disappear, it is now going, it is nearly gone, If asked, he will probably say now it is gone." he has still a little pain ; I say " very well, what remains of the pain will soon go, it is now going, it is gone." Probably by this time the pain has gone, but if not, I again repeat the process. Any other form of pain is cured or relieved in the same manner, which is particularly effective for pains of a functional character, such as some sciaticas, lumbago, and neuralgia. Using much the same suggestions a functional paralysis is cured, or a vicious habit stopped, some forms of vomiting stopped or a functional
Likewise by using appropriate phrases insomnia is cured, an appetite is induced, evacuation of the bowels at certain hours insured, and even menstruation re-established where it has been suppressed. In cases of constipation a certain hour in the day is named at which the feeling of wanting to go to stool will be felt; and in suppressed menstruation a day in the month as near as possible to the patient's usual time for menstruation is named as the one on which menstruation will begin. Some patients sleep too much and at all times when they are being subjected to hypnotism, and some have a headache on waking, but all those troubles can be counteracted by suggestion. The following are a few cases selected at random from my notes :? Case I.?Gunner Kishen Singh, I. K. M. Battery, was admitted to hospital on the 7th of July 1899 for deafness of the left ear and blindof the left eye. The left eye had a slight ness external strabismus of which he was ignorant. The pupils were equal and normal. Fundus oculi normal. The external ear was closed by a large lump of wax, but on dislodging this by syringing the hearing was only slightly better. Believing there was nothing organic in the case and making sure he was not shamming, 1 hypnotised him on the lltli of July 1899. I used the usual suggestions, and made him see perfectly with the left eye and hear with the left ear. On waking he was ignorant of what had occurred while he slept. I tested his sight and hearing again and found them normal to his own evident pleasure. Next day on seeing me he said his eye was all right, but he had become a little deaf again, so I hypnotised him and gave suggestions as before. Next day there had been reno recurrence of deafness; and eyesight mained normal. I continued to hypnotise him tnen every second day, every day for a few days, and finally discharged him on the 20tli July 1899. He has had no recurrence. Case II.?A Pa than border policeman, named Meerulc, was addicted to the opium habit and wished to be cured of it. He was most unhappj7 about his condition. He spent a good deal
HYPNOTISM IN NATIVES.
quently conscious that my suggestions were of which he took twelve mutilated, still at the first seance the being to fifteen grains a day, and at times when hispatient went into deep somnambulism in a short supply gave out, atid opium was difficult totime. Under these extraordinary circumstances procure (which he said was often), he sufferedthe result was remarkable. very much. His appearance was typical and his Case III.?A syce, hearing that I was breakpupils were contracted. He weighed 7st. 91bs. ing the above-mentioned police sepoy off the I hj'pnotised him and made suggestions for his opium habit, came to me for similar treatment lessening the quantity of opium by one halfon the 20th July 1898 when I hypnotised him. daily, and stopping it entirely in five days' time.I treated him in every respect similarly to the I told h im he would gain an intense disgust forabove case. He took altogether about eight or the taste, smell and even sight and touch often grains of crude opium a day. He slept so opium, and that it was an unclean substancemuch day and night as a result of my suggesthat would make him unclean by eating it. tions, that his master complained that he was I gave him suggestions against the ill-effectsneglecting his work, consequently I made him likely to occur b}^ stopping opium such as pain,sleepless. depression, sleeplessness, etc., and suggested lie I last saw liim at the end of March 1899 when would go asleep early at night, and would sleephe was leaving the station. He was not then most of the day when he had no work to do. taking opium, and had not taken any since the This reminds me of a method of cure for thebeginning of the treatment. I am making endrug habit described in a recent issue of thequiries as to whether he is now taking opium British Medical Journal by a Singapore practi-and will publish the result. In this case I tioner, who keeps his patients in a state ofstopped hypnotic treatment on 12th November narcosis by bromide of soda for several days. ] 898, and although he was not hypnotised from I hypnotised him June that date to the end of March every day from the 12th 1899, he did not 1898 until the 30th June. Then every second resume the habit. opium day during the month of July; twice a week One day I shewed this case to a senior officer during August, once a week during September of the Indian Medical Service who was an unbeand October, and a few times in November. liever in hypnotism. He asked me fora proof that During the whole of this time he took no the man was hypnotised, so I induced absolute anopium, and on the 30th November when he went jesthesia of the skin of the hand by suggestion. to Tirah on three months' leave, he was ten Pins were stuck in the skin and even through pounds heavier than at the beginning of the it, and the hand was beaten and pinched, but the treatment, and was looking ever so much brighter patient was unconscious of pain. My friend and happier. who was still doubtful, seized the back of the Early in January 1899, while in Tirah, he got patient's hand, and pinched and screwed the acute dysentery, and was treated by a hakim skin so badly that a piece came away in his there. hand ! But the patient did not feel pain, and The latter tried to get him to take opium and on waking him he explained the wound as being threatened, when the patient refused, that he caused by the bite of a horse. would die. He could not be prevailed on to My friend was convinced that there was sometake the opium. thing in hypnotism. Such a case would be suitable for a minor 0,11 his recovery he found he could not do without opium, and then heard that during the operation without an aneesthetic. I recently latter part of his treatment, the hakim had used hypnotism instead of an anaesthetic while been giving him opium in a disguised form. stretching the sciatic nerve by the dry method, When I saw him in March 1899 the habit was namely, by flexing the thigh strongly on the abdomen, the knee meanwhile being held rigidly fully re-established. The result was disappointing, but the circum- extended. The patient, though a fat Babu, did not feel stances under which re-establishment of the habit occurred were exceptional and could not pain, and the treatment gave great relief. be foreseen. Case IY.?A. Hindu Bunnia, came a long Still the case is instructive, and I may fairly journey for hypnotic treatment with symptoms ask what other therapeutic measure would have and signs of typical gastralgia of over three given such a result ? duration. I was careful to exclude every years' Another point of interest in the case is the possible cause for the severe pain from which he peculiar method 1 had to adopt to hypnotise suffered, and which recurred almost every evenhim. He could only speak Pushtu. I could ing about 6 o'clock. Gastric ulcer, duodenal only speak English at the time. As I could not ulcer, hepatic and intestinal colic, cardiac procure a Pushtu speaking officer to help me disease, etc., were excluded one after another. He had been much treated by though I had the help of one who spoke Urdu, drugs in I gave the officer; various parts of India, and the skin of the my suggestions in English to he spoke them in Urdu to another police sepoy stomach was much marked by bumwho spoke Pushtu to my patient. I was freof his pay
THE INDIAN MEDICAL GAZETTE.
with hot irons, etc. I first hypnotised him the L2th July 1899, and gave the usual suggestions. Like all my other cases in natives, lie went into the degree of deep somnambulism. The pain recurred for the three following days though gradually lessening. From the fifth day of treatment the pains absolutely disappeared.
him on 31st August, and when I I suggested that if ever the pain him hypnotised recurred, he must return to me at once for treatment. This is a suggestion I frequently give natives to insure continuous treatment, and I can fully recommend it to l^pnotists. It is necessary because natives are so liable to get tired of prolonged treatment, and to give up treatment 011 a slight recurrence of the symptoms. This patient has not returned, so I conclude that his pain has not recurred. I last
In this case I also used another method of continuous treatment by suggestion that may perhaps appear to many to smack of charlatanism; but which I defend because of its utility. Before the patient went away I marked apiece of paper with a meaningless drawing. One day when he was hypnotised I told him that he must apply this paper to his stomach each evening about 5 o'clock before the pain was due ; at first, continuously for two months and then intermittently for two months more, after he went back to his village. 1 told him this would absolutely prevent the return of the pain; and from my own experience I believed This man had acquired a it would do so. habit of pain, which like all bad habits could not be broken off in a few weeks, and being conscious of this, I adopted the above methods of securing prolonged treatment b}r suggestion for some months. In conclusion, I will natives susceptibility to
briefly discuss the hypnotisms and sugexperience, so far I believe
From my native lends himself European to treatment by
than the He is readily reacts to
more easily hypnotised, more suggestions given him to the h}Tpnotic state, and this chiefly because he goes into a deeper degree of hypnotic sleep. His general up-bringing and surroundings have saturated him with superstition, while the tenets of his religion lean
very much that way. For these reasons he is imaginative and credulous, and
under the influhe is less ence of a Sahib. analytical than the European who tries to analyse his condition as he is being hypnotised, and thereby infringes the first principal necessary for success, viz., to think of nothing but sleep. This of to the greater enlightenment and course is due mental activity of the average European as against the average uneducated native amongst O whom I have had my experience.