Pain: Its Cause and Cure

Discussion in 'Optometry Archives' started by Lelouch Lamperouge, Oct 28, 2009.

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    Pain: Its Cause and Cure

    By W. H. Bates, M.D.

    Pain is supposed to be a beneficent provision on the part of Nature
    for advising us of injurious processes going on in the body, but, like
    many of Nature's arrangements, it is a very clumsy one. Many of our
    most serious diseases are quite painless in their early stage (the
    only time when the warning of pain would be of any use), while a
    physiological process like childbirth is accompanied by such severe
    pain that the pangs of the woman in travail have become proverbial.
    Pain also occurs with no local cause whatever, being purely a creation
    of the mind, and it has, besides a very destructive effect upon the
    body, not infrequently causing death and more often handicapping the
    organism in its attempts to recover from the condition that caused it.
    Nature's protective mechanism is, in fact, a two-edged sword striking
    both ways, and its control is one of the most serious problems that
    the medical profession has to deal with.

    There has been much discussion as to the nature of pain, and the mode
    by which it is produced, one school holding that there are special
    nerves for its transmission and another that it is merely the
    expression of a certain grade of irritation. Whatever may be said in
    favor of either of these points of view, it can be demonstrated that
    pain occurs only when the mind is under a strain and is immediately
    relieved when the strain is relieved. This strain may be due to a
    local cause, or it may occur without any local cause whatever.

    That pain can be produced voluntarily by the mind has long been known.
    When I was a student at the College of Physicians and Surgeons, Dr. T.
    Gaillard Thomas used to tell us that pain could be produced in the
    little finger, or in any other part of the body, simply by
    concentrating the mind upon it. Since then I have repeatedly
    demonstrated that pain can be produced by such a simple thing as
    imagining a letter or object imperfectly, or trying to look at a point
    for an appreciable length of time. I never knew these experiments to
    fail when patients could be induced to make them; but they are so
    uncomfortable that few are willing to do so. A physician under
    treatment for imperfect sight boasted that he had never had a headache
    or pain in his eyes in his life. I told him that I could easily show
    him how to produce such a pain, and that it would do him good to have
    one. After a week of talk he consented to make the experiment, and in
    a few minutes he had acquired a headache that was more interesting
    than pleasant. He did it by trying to look fixedly at a point. This
    effect was purely mental. It was not the physical strain of looking at
    a point that produced the pain, because there was no physical strain,
    the eye being incapable of looking at a point. It was the mental
    effort of trying to do what was impossible.

    As pain can be produced by the mind without any local cause, so it can
    be prevented or relieved by the mind, no matter how great the local
    irritation may be. In other words pain is a mental interpretation of
    certain stimuli, and under certain circumstances such stimuli are not
    interpreted as pain. This, too, has long been known, there being cases
    on record in which individuals have possessed the power of preventing
    pain to an extraordinary extent. I may claim to have discovered,
    however, that everyone may become the possessor of this power.

    It is only when the mind is in an abnormal condition that pain can be
    felt, or even imagined, and irritations of the nerves are followed by
    pain only when such irritations produce mental strain. If the mind is
    not disturbed by them, there is no pain, and therefore, by learning to
    avoid this disturbance pain can be prevented, or relieved.

    As the mind is always at rest when the memory is perfect, the mental
    condition necessary for the prevention and relief of pain can be
    obtained by the use of the memory. One of the simplest things to
    remember is a small black spot or period, and under certain
    circumstances anyone may become able to remember such an object. This
    cannot be done, it is true, at the actual moment of suffering, but,
    fortunately, pain is never continuous. One can see, or hear, or smell
    continuously; but one cannot feel pain continuously. There are always
    moments of freedom, and during these intermissions one can get control
    of the memory. In this way the pain of glaucoma, one of the most
    terrible conditions known to medical science, has been repeatedly
    relieved (see "Better Eyesight", December, 1920). Many cases of
    trigeminal neuralgia have been cured after various operations commonly
    resorted to for the relief of this condition had failed, and the pain
    of childbirth and of operations has been prevented.

    Persons with perfect sight never have any difficulty in preventing
    pain by the aid of the memory. Persons whose sight is not normal have
    more difficulty, because imperfect sight is the result of mental
    strain, and it is sometimes very difficult to relieve this strain.
    With the help of a person who has normal sight and understands the use
    of the memory for this purpose, however, it can always be done.

    Pain Number
    Better Eyesight
    A monthly magazine devoted to the prevention and cure of imperfect
    sight without glasses
    Copyright, 1921, by the Central Fixation Publishing Company
    Editor—W. H. Bates, M.D.
    Publisher—Central Fixation Publishing Co.
    $2.00 per year, 20 cents per copy
    342 West 42nd Street, New York, N. Y.
    Vol. IV - February 1921 - No. 2

    Lelouch Lamperouge, Oct 28, 2009
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  2. Lelouch Lamperouge

    Neil Brooks Guest

    [worthless third-hand anecdote from long dead guy snipped]
    Neil Brooks, Oct 28, 2009
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