Professor Alexander Erskine - A Hypnotist’s Case Book – Tooth extraction under hypnosis
Type of Spiritual Experience
A description of the experience
A Hypnotist’s Case Book – Professor Alexander Erskine
In France operations are conducted without anaesthetic on patients who have been hypnotized. Such a thing is not allowed in this country. But I have hypnotized a patient for the extraction of teeth, and the case is on record in the Medical Times and Hospital Gazette (the official Journal of the Association of Physicians and Surgeons, and the Society of Apothecaries). Its authenticity is therefore guaranteed, and I quote it now not because it is an outstanding case, but because it may prepare the way for the more spectacular cases which I have yet to relate.
The letter, written by the dentist who made the extractions, is as follows :
The following facts may be of interest to your readers. On April 6th, 1907, I made several extractions for a young man, aged 20. The patient was under hypnosis produced by Mr. Alex. Erskine.
I removed roots of the second bicuspid, right side upper jaw, roots of the second bicuspid, left side upper jaw, and the whole of the first bicuspid left side upper jaw, developed outside arch.
Under gas, the above extractions might have been made within the period of total anaesthesia.
Under hypnosis I took time, first lancing the gums before probing for roots, then Mr. Erskine instructed the patient to rinse his mouth thoroughly, to clear away the blood so that it should not impede my view of the roots. The patient obeyed the hypnotose implicitly and intelligently, and I proceeded slowly and deliberately to make the extractions, watching the patient all the time for any reflexions of the muscles, and noting the pulse, which remained perfectly normal throughout. There was not the least flutter of the eyelids, or twitching round the eyes which one usually observed under most anaesthetics.
There was no rigidity; the condition appeared to me of the nature of a perfectly natural and peaceful sleep. I firmly believe that I could have removed all his teeth without his feeling the slightest pain or being aware of what was happening.
On being awakened he seemed scarcely to realize that any operation had been performed, though he had given himself to the hypnotizer's influence for the purpose of having the extractions made.
He stated that he felt no pain nor soreness from the wounds (it having been suggested to him, before awakening him, that he would not feel any of the usual after-effects of an extraction).
B J Bonnell
Member of the Odontological Society of Great Britain; Member of the British Dental Association and Member of the American Dental Society of Europe.