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Sunday, 16 August 2015


Around 1770 an Austrian physician Franz Mesmer (May 23, 1734 – March 5, 1815) took up an idea that a power existed, which he referred to as "animal magnetism" and a person became ill when their "animal magnetism" was out of balance. Mesmer claimed to use it as a medical treatment to heal certain nervous ailments.

During a typical session his patients held hands in a room containing a tub containing magnetized rods in fluid whilst Mesmer clad in lilac silk waved an iron wand. He believed some sort of magnetism was transferred from him to his clients, and that it redistributed their body fluids. As this precursor of hypnotism claimed the attention of scientists Mesmer's name became renowned through the coining of the term's "mesmerism" and "mesmerise".

Hounded out of Vienna on charges of practicing magic, Mesmer moved to Paris where he made his name curing diseases at seances.

In 1785 a royal commission, which included the American ambassador Benjamin Franklin concluded that Mesmer's "cures" were solely due to his patient's imaginations.

The Scottish doctor James Braid first saw a demonstration of animal magnetism, when he attended a public performance by the travelling Swiss magnetic demonstrator Charles Lafontaine at the Manchester Athenæum, on November 13, 1841

Braid was convinced of the veracity of some of Lafontaine's effects and phenomena, which led to his study of the subject.

Braid coined the term hypnosis, from the Greek "hypnos" meaning sleep. The new name was more acceptable than mesmerism, with its implications of fraud, and it soon replaced the older term.

Session of Hypnosis, Richard Berg

Émile Coué (1857 – 1926) was a French pharmacist who became interested in hypnotism and developed a health treatment based on autosuggestion. He opened a clinic and there he told his patients that their health would improve dramatically if twice a day they repeat the phrase "Every day and in every way, I am becoming better and better."

Émile Coué's book Self-Mastery Through Conscious Autosuggestion was published in Britain in 1920 and in the United States two years later. Although Coué’s teachings were, during his lifetime, more popular in Europe than in the United States, many Americans who adopted his ideas and methods, such as Norman Vincent Peale and Robert H. Schuller, became famous in their own right by spreading his ideas.

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