A Simple Autosuggestion Sentence That Brings Spectacular Healing
Emile Coué, the 19th century French psychologist, pharmacist and Master Hypnotist, was known to have said these words:
“We possess within us a marvelous force of incalculable power, which gives us mastery over ourselves and others…”
Coué introduced a method of psychotherapy and self-improvement based on optimistic autosuggestion. He had observed that in certain cases, he could amplify the efficacy of a medication by praising its effectiveness to the patient. He discovered that the patients to whom he praised the medicine had a noticeable improvement when compared to patients to whom he said nothing.
Using that discovery as a springboard for further exploration, Coué began to use hypnosis to treat patients. However, he learned that hypnosis had limitations. That’s because subjects could not be hypnotized against their will and, furthermore, the effects of hypnosis often wore off when the subjects came out of their hypnotic state.
It was then that he turned his attention to autosuggestion. He taught his patients to repeat the following sentence each morning and evening:
“Every day, in every way, I’m getting better and better.”
Using this affirmation alone, the healing results were nothing less than spectacular. Hundreds of patients in Europe and North America were cured of a wide variety of diseases and ailments.
According to Coué, the use of this autosuggestive sentence enabled his patients to cure themselves more efficiently by replacing their “thought of illness” with a new “thought of cure.” Unlike the commonly held belief that it is will power which produces a desired effect, Coué believed that curing health conditions requires a change in the unconscious thought. Positive autosuggestion, when repeated enough times — unaccompanied by associated imagery — causes the subconscious to absorb the suggestion, thus effecting a cure without the use of will power.
This is the same premise on which the placebo effect is based. A placebo is a harmless pill, medicine, or procedure prescribed more for the psychological benefit to the patient than for any physiological effect. Countless studies published in prestigious medical journals underscore the fact that placebos often work better than expensive drugs, therapies and surgeries. This is simply because of the power of autosuggestion.
Here’s a story that illustrates that power:
On the first day of the Fall semester, a university professor came to class carrying an amber-colored glass bottle containing a clear liquid. He announced to his 27 students that inside the bottle was a compound that, if inhaled, could make people feel “high,” exuberant, or even giggly. While he was talking, the bottle slipped “accidentally” from his hands and when it shattered, its contents spilled all over the floor.
Within a few minutes, most of the students sitting in the back rows started exhibiting inebriated-like behavior; i.e., they were acting tipsy; several students reported being in high spirits; and a few from the front row fell into uncontrollable fits of laughter.
The most curious thing about the incident was that the “mysterious” liquid was just plain water.
The experiment was just the professor’s way of demonstrating the placebo effect — but what this episode really reveals is the phenomenal power of autosuggestion. It is as powerful today as it was in the 19th century when Coué taught it to his patients.