Mesmer and the Origins of Hypnosis

Mesmer and Our Origins

Before we had hypnosis, we had Mesmerism, yet what exactly is the difference, and how have things changed from our humble origins from the 1700s?  In this blog article, we will explore the pioneering work of Franz Anton Mesmer and why we are not practicing Mesmerism today.  

Our comprehensive state-licensed hypnosis training is dedicated to bringing you the very best of hypnotherapy training and understanding our origins can truly help us to understand why we do what we do today.  Read more here…

Who was Franz Anton Mesmer?

Mesmer was a Viennese physician who was studying astrology, astronomy, and the power of magnetic forces on material objects.  He was familiar with the work of Paracelsus and Father Maximillian Hell who experimented with how magnets affected the health and well-being of the physical body.  

Mesmer lived during a time when invisible forces were becoming more acceptable, with examples being the newly-discovered electricity, as well as gravity and magnetism itself.  These were all invisible forces that clearly had an influence over material objects.  

The theory was that human beings have a sort of animal magnetism and that when this “fluid” becomes blocked then ill health develops.  Mesmer felt that he could use “magnetic passes” over the body to restore the flow of this substance to create health once again.

Was Mesmer Correct?

The idea that the magnets were the healing force was eventually given up by Mesmer because he was able to get the same results with only his hands and without the use of magnets at all.  Mesmer had a robust reputation and had many students.  

People certainly felt that there was some truth and benefit to his methods, however, a delegation was sent to study the effects of Mesmer’s methods and the conclusion was that Mesmer is only healing through the power of belief, imagination, expectation, and imitation.  

This was a major blow to the Mesmeric movement and it fell out of popular favor until 1864 when Dr. James Braid coined the term hypnosis and offered more scientific and believable theories on why benefit can occur from these methods.  

Scientific hypnosis came about by honoring the power of suggestion and by renouncing Mesmer’s idea that there was some “magnetic fluid” involved.

To become a Certified Hypnotherapist and to attend a licensed hypnotherapy school brings you into a fascinating history of great pioneers who helped to create what we now know as Interpersonal Hypnotherapy to this day.  Learn more by giving us a call at 800-551-9247 or visit us online at www.InstituteofHypnotherapy.com.

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Mesmer and the Origins of Hypnosis

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