Reprinted with permission from the book DREAMING, SLEEPING & ESP
Dreams and "imaginative impressions" have been the primary method of obtaining information about the cause and cure of diseases throughout the history of mankind. The body has a built-in command that tells it to keep the body alive ... at all costs. It will get information to you concerning your health via dreams and intuition, if you make the conditions favorable.
Divine sleep was a highly developed healing tool used in ancient Greece which was highly effective and worked on the present day concept of the mind/body connection.
The strongest information is that which is concerned with your immediate health ... and the information gets weaker and weaker when in concerns long-term health.
By paying close attention to your body, you can sense the "clues" that it provides concerning your health. Immediate health is easy to notice ... pain, feelings of fear, sickness can quickly gain your attention of an impending threat. But long term health problems often whisper at you and you must close down your senses so the whispers can be heard.
One way the body whispers to you is by giving you memories that are associated with the "threat". Often these thoughts and ideas are lost amongst the numerous other thoughts of the hectic day.
Another was the body whispers to you is through dreams that are associated with the "threat".
The Greeks turned this knowledge into a highly sophisticated method of divining information about diseases.
Ascelpius was a demigod who was represented in Homer's Iliad as a physician, warrior and aristocrat. Legend tells us that he was born to a mortal woman named Coronis. He received education in the healing arts by a servant of the gods named Chiron. The great god Zeus then brought Ascepius into heaven and made him a deity. He became the main representative of healing for centuries.
From a logical viewpoint, Asclepius was certainly influential in the lives of people from the past. Over 200 temples were built from Greece to Italy to Turkey to honor him and the types of medicines he proposed.
These temples were called Asclepia and represented what medicine is all about ... a place where anyone in suffering or trouble could turn. They were located in tranquil settings and contained spas, theaters, baths and places for worship and recreation. Everyone who came to the Asclepia was accepted ... no matter if they were capable of paying or not.
Within the Asclepia, a dream therapy process called Divine Sleep was practiced and perfected as a healing tool. Oftentimes, the patients were severely ill and traditional medicines fad failed to help them.
The priest would first require that the patient abstain from alcohol for three days and totally fast for another. A diagnosis would then be conducted while in a drifting state of mind that occurs just prior to falling asleep. We now call this state "hypnogogic sleep".
Hallucinations are common in this state of mind and the rituals took advantage of this knowledge. A group of priests moved from patient to patient dressed as Asclepius and his family ... they carried with them medicines and surgical tools to enact medical treatment and magical rites.
Fom a modern standpoint of hypnosis, it is obvious that these conditions, combined with music playing in the background, the magnificent shrines, the knowledge that others have been miraculously cured ... all played upon the mind of the patient to stimulate his/her power of belief and enhance their innate healing ability.
Written descriptions and stone images are abundant attesting to the success rates of these temples. The blind, the lame and the deaf have all been cured ... as have people with diseases to every conceivable organ.
It seems that the Greeks understood the relationship between the body and the mind in a modern sense. They believed that mental images were the key to important diagnostic information. For instance a dream about loss or grief would cause an increase or decrease in certain body chemicals ... while a dream concerning terror or fright would result in others.
It is the idea that we cannot separate the mind from the body because one affects the other and the only way to regain health is to break this cycle.
Aristotle and Hippocrates
Aristotle and Hippocrates were both educated in the Asclepian tradition and acknowledged the role of the imagination on health. Aristotle tells us that emotions are associated with visual images and that the emotional system does not function in the absence of images. Each image causes a change in body chemistry and affects the causes and cures of diseases.