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Mesmerism, introduced by Austrian physician Franz Anton Mesmer, is a technique used earlier in curing some sort of mental disturbances. It involves social role-playing as the performer mesmerizes the client through his suggestions. Mesmer conducted mesmerism as a healing technique based on the idea of animal magnetism, a concept according to which human body posses some sort of magnetic power and that heavenly bodies have influence on human health.
But the theory of Mesmer was solely rejected by scientific data. Mesmeric theory was found to have no validity by modern society either. Mesmerís theory suggests that all animated bodies including man were affected by a magnetic force, which also mutually influenced the celestial bodies and earth, while the physician making suggestions and the client mesmerizes. Mesmerism also concentrates on the idea of this powerful magnetic field to transfer from one person to the other.
Discussions are going on now about whether there were any cures from mesmerism. Several commissions investigated the reality behind the technique, and none suggest a result which supports the idea of mesmerism. According to the technique, a magnetic fluid carried the magnetic force. Mesmer believed that the universe was made up of a series of increasingly rarefied fluids.
In the beginning Mesmer employed a treatment method called the magnetic therapy, under the influence of a Viennese Jesuit, Maximillian Hell, who cured people with a magnetic steel plate. This therapy can be called as the first practice of mesmerism. Mesmer also applied the technique, with the explanation that there is a very subtle magnetic fluid flowing through everything, including the body of people, which sometimes gets disturbed and needs to be restored to its proper flow. Mesmer tried out the same technique without magnets.
The glass music - glass harmonica - was the key ingredient in Mesmerís magnetic sťances. Most of his patients were hysterical bourgeois women. They would be placed in a magnetic tub filled with glass powder and iron filings, and will be massaged to a relaxed state by the distant tones of a glass harmonica played behind curtains. Those curtains will be covered with astrological symbols. After this he himself will enter the room and will touch each patient with a white wand. This was the whole process. This particular atmosphere and action would lead the patients to a magnetic trance from which most of the patients would awake as cured. This gave birth to the belief of mesmerism.
According to Mesmer animal magnetism caused such an effect, which later become the concept of mesmerism. He found out that there is a dramatic effect of waving a magnetized pole over a person. The effect of mesmerism will be there while an individual sit in magnetized water or hold magnetized poles. Mesmerís movements around the patients with brightly colored robes and the total strange atmosphere caused the patients to have a number of behaviors ranging from sleeping to dancing.
Mesmerism contributes something to real science, which can be condensed as the idea that, it believes that illness is not natural. As a result of some kind of blockage of natural forces, a stagnation and sickness arise. An instinctive desire to free the vital forces is the attempt made by Mesmer, while applying his curing methods. Now most of the scientists and psychologists approve the idea that he was doing some kind of hypnosis technique. Thatís why even now mesmerism is associated to some extend with hypnosis.
|Franz Anton Mesmer|
A psychiatrist who evolved the theory of 'animal magnetism' and developed cures to psychological problems.
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