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Animal Magnetism

Anton Mesmer's believed that all living beings had magnetic fields running through them which could be manipulated for healing or other purposes. He surmised that a universal magnetic fluid existed in all “objects that produced disease when it was out of balance in the human body”.

Mesmer began to cultivate techniques that he thought would re-establish the equilibrium of the magnetic fluid, and as a result, diseases would be cured. He based his theories and prospects on his belief that perfect health was dependent upon an individual maintaining a right relationship with the heavenly bodies, and was convinced that the same powers that held the sun and moon and planets in place could regulate human health. Whenever a magnet was brought into contact with a patient, the subtle and mysterious fluid exuded by the magnet entered the body of the patient and healed him of his complaint. “Animal magnetism” was the name Mesmer gave this fluid. This process of animal magnetism” made Mesmer famous. He called his way of curing people with this method “mesmerism”

Mesmer walked around them touching each one with a wand, advocating them to yield themselves to the magnetic fluids about. He told them that they could only be cured if they were able to focus on the heavenly powers that existed within their sick bodies. He pressed his clients to “reach further into your mind” . He drove these people to reach what Mesmer called “a grand crisis”, known today as a grand mal convulsive seizure. Mesmer reported that this grand crisis was the reason many of his clients were cured. The origin of the behavior that is now attributed to hypnosis resulted from the misdiagnosis of the ancient malady epilepsy.

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