Biography of Emile Coue Inventor of the Power of Positive Thinking

About the French healer Emile Coue one of the first to push the power of positive thinking or auto-suggestion in the healing process.

EMILE COUE (1857-1926). French healer.

"Every day, in every way, I am getting better and better."

"Every day, in every way, I am getting better and better."

"Every day, in every way, I am getting better and better."

Sound like a primitive Dale Carnegie? Or perhaps the moral of a story designed to enrich the young?

In fact, it is neither: It is the chant of the devotees of Emile Coue, whose unusual method of cure was sweeping the nation in the 1920s. The idea is this: By persistently applying "auto-suggestion"--that is, by insisting to yourself that you are in fact "getting better and better"--you will talk yourself right out of your illness.

Emile Coue, described as "the little dried-up Frenchman from Nancy," was also considered to be kindly, forceful yet dignified, "sometimes firm, sometimes gently bantering." He developed his ideas when, working as an apothecary, he observed his patients receiving from certain drugs beneficial effects that could not be ascribed to the medicines. This led him to believe that it was the power of "imagination" that effected the cure.

Coue did not venture a theoretical explanation to his patients--he let his results speak for themselves. In the 1st exercise, the patient was instructed to clasp his hands together and think, "I cannot open them." The patient, finding his hands firmly melded, was then ordered to think, "I can open them," and they inevitably unclasped.

From there it was a short step to the crux of the cure--"Tous les jours, a tous points de vue, je vais de mieux en mieux"--to be repeated 20 times in a row, twice a day.

Coue recorded cured cases of heart trouble, ulcers, bronchitis, sores, clubfeet, inflammation, nerves, etc. From his records: "Mme. M--, aged 43, Rue d'Amance, 2, Malzeville, comes at the end of 1916 for violent pains in the head from which she has suffered all her life. After a few visits they vanished completely. Two months afterward she realized that she was also cured of a prolapse of the uterus which she had not mentioned to me and of which she was not thinking when she made her autosuggestion. (This result is due to the words 'in every way' contained in the formula used morning and evening.)"

Coue started a free clinic in Nancy, and then in New York he organized and staffed another, eventually leaving for a lecture tour of the Midwest. He was so popular that even the largest lecture halls could not contain the enthusiastic crowds, thronging to see the master himself repeat the famous words.

The story is told of the bowlegged man who repeated the formula too often and became knock-kneed; but for all the jesting, many will agree that getting better is as simple as wanting to be better with the help of M. Coue's little ditty.

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