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Observations placeholder

Hack Tuke, Daniel – Healing - Oedema and ascites cured by powerful emotions of fear and shock



Type of Spiritual Experience


A description of the experience

As described in Illustrations Of The Influence Of The Mind Upon The Body In Health And Disease, Designed To Elucidate The Action Of The Imagination - Daniel Hack Tuke, M.D., M.R.C.P.,

SECTION III. — Influence of Mental States upon Disorders involving- the Involuntary Muscles and the Organic Functions.

Fear may be regarded as the digitalis of our Remedia Psychica. By influencing the tone of the vital powers, it may act upon the circulation and the absorbents rapidly and effectually.

Abernethy's case of the poor woman frightened by a bull, and relieved of her burden, will occur to the reader. Here the relief came through the kidneys. It has been supposed that the fear of death (as well as the fasting he adopted) served to relieve Dr. Johnson of twenty pints of fluid, as recorded by Sir John Hawkins.

Dr. John Pennington, of Edinburgh, records the following :

" A sailor in an ascites, fell off the end of the yard into the sea; the weather being calm he was taken up unhurt, but to use the sailor's words, who told me the story, he was frightened half to death, and as soon as he was taken out of the water, he discharged a gallon of urine or more."

Dr. Pennington observes, " the sedative operation of Fear was, no doubt, the cause of the cure."

Dr. Rush refers to the case of a young woman (19 years of age) who had taken the usual remedies for ascites without any benefit. Dr. Hull was consulted, and immediately proposed that the operation of tapping should be performed.
"To this she objected, but so great was the fear of this operation, which the proposal of it suddenly excited in her mind, that it brought on a plentiful discharge of urine, which in a few days perfectly removed her disease."

Again, a lady with dropsy in Philadelphia was informed that tapping was necessary, and was much terrified upon hearing it.
" I saw her two days afterwards, when she told me, with a smile on her countenance, that she hoped she should get well without tapping, for that she had discharged two quarts of water, in the course of the day after we had advised her to submit to that operation. For many days before she had not discharged more than two or three gills in twenty-four hours"
(Medical Inquiries and Observations. By Benjamin Bush, M D., Professor of the Institutes and Practice of Medicine, and of Clinical Practice, in the University of Pennsylvania. 4 vols, in two. 4th Edit. Philadelphia, 1815, II, p. 114).

However, in this case the operation was subsequently performed. On the occasion of a second paracentesis, Fear again appeared to be the cause of a remarkable stimulation of the kidneys. Two similar cases fell under the observation of this physician. We have in a previous chapter (p. 296) reported an interesting case of this kind, in order to illustrate the influence of emotional excitement on the organic functions. In this and several other instances, the illustrations which we gave for this purpose were necessarily examples also of the cure of disease.

The source of the experience

Hack Tuke, Daniel

Concepts, symbols and science items



Activities and commonsteps