Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 55.djvu/778

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756

POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

Tn religions matters Christian Science has divided many homes, and has destroyed not a few through the mischief produced by its propaganda. It is claimed that Christian Science has cured many who have not been benefited by the efforts of regular practitioners of medicine. On the other hand, many have died during the exclusive ministrations of Christian Scientists. Moreover, Christian Science considers itself entitled to disregard such sanitary laws, including those concerning infectious diseases, as have been found effectual to preserve intact the general health of communities and peoples.

Christian Science, then, is a cult unusually powerful and far reaching in its influence, and it is therefore entitled to and should invite correspondingly careful investigation of all its various aspects.

I have been interested in Christian Science from the viewpoint of the medical man, and I have felt quite unaffected, for the reason which I shall presently give, by Mrs. Eddy's stricture that "a person's ignorance of Christian Science is a sufficient reason for his silence on the subject." The system of medicine, as it is taught in the great medical colleges of to-day, is an epitome of the accumulated study and experience of mankind from the time human beings first became ill up to the present day. All systems of cure, or of alleged cure, have been examined by men who have made it the work of their lives to treat the sick. Whatever has been found curative has been retained, and unsubstantiated claims to cure have been discarded; so that the regular degree of doctor of medicine states that its recipient has acquired a knowledge of the system of treating disease which is a crystallization of the world's best medical thought, study, and experience.

As the possessor of such a degree, I have been engaged during several months in an investigation of the cures which Christian-Science healers are said to have accomplished.

Before beginning this work I reflected that mental suggestion, or the influence of the mind of the physician upon that of the patient, is a potent factor in the treatment of such diseases as are not characterized by permanent pathological changes in the tissues, and I remembered that when judiciously influenced by the physician's mind, the mind of the patient can affect his body favorably both in functional disorders and in disorders which may result from nervous aberration—such as hysteria in all its protean forms, the purely subjective, as headache and hyperæsthesia, and also those exhibiting objective manifestations, as hysterical dislocations and paralyses.

I knew that medical men, in their own unadvertised work,