The greatest mind-body healer of recent times was a diminutive and rather brusque character
who lived in New England in the first half of the nineteenth century. His name was Phineas
Parkhurst Quimby. He deserves to be much better known.
Having cured himself of tuberculosis, considered impossible in those days, he developed a healing method that focused on changing the destructive beliefs of his patient. These dysfunctional beliefs, he asserted, were the root cause of all health problems.
He wrote, ‘If you have been deceived by some invisible enemy into a belief, you have put it into the form of a disease, with or without your knowledge. By my theory or truth, I come into contact with your enemy and restore you to health and happiness.’
Quimby’s methods were highly unconventional. Usually he imagined a courtroom
scene in which he (an attorney) pleaded with a judge (the patient’s subconscious) to release
the thought patterns that created the illness. Sometimes he challenged the patient’s beliefs aloud, but as his skills developed, would challenge them without a word being voiced, as he silently ‘intuited’ the cause of the problem and ‘projected’ healing thoughts into the mind of the patient. This he could do in their presence or at a distance. He brought about many cures without even meeting the patient!
Quimby fervently believed – in opposition to the medical and clerical ‘wisdom’ of his day that health is the birthright and natural state of every human being. The life force or ‘Intelligence’ which sustains us was like a TV station broadcasting health and well-being for all, but could be blocked by erroneous beliefs which prevent us from enjoying long and happy lives.
I’m guessing you’ve never heard of him. Few have, even though his achievements were well documented. He helped over ten thousand people and left behind a voluminous body of writings. He influenced almost every mind-body healer who came after, whether they were aware of him or not. The best accounts, though, came from those whom he had cured. Several testified to his prowess and wrote detailed accounts of his methods and results, including one, Mary Baker Eddy, who founded her own healing movement and claimed his discoveries as her own.
Quimby practised an early form of CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy). His methods were also a forerunner of Neuro-Linguistic Programming (hypnotherapist Milton Erickson, on whom much of NLP is based, knew all about him). Many best-selling authors have made a fortune writing about the mind-body connection – they would be nowhere without him.
Awareness, intention, attention, thought, imagination and belief – correctly applied – are the keys to mind-body healing. I sum this up as the I-T-I-A Formula; Intention, Thinking, Imagination and Action. When all four are applied, as Quimby knew, the results can be astounding.
©David Lawrence Preston, 29.3.2017
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For further information on the I-T-I-A Formula, see also
For further information on the place of mind-body techniques in healing, see:
How to Books, 2007