What would you say if I were to suggest that the unconventional practices of an Austrian physician from the late eighteenth century were a major contributor to an erroneous stigma on magnetic therapy, even to this day? You might think that’s doubtful, but wait until you learn of this extraordinary tale.
No doubt you have heard of the word mesmerize, but you may not be familiar with the originator of the term, a Franz Anton Mesmer (1734-1815). This is the incredible tale of a therapy he founded called Animal Magnetism. A therapy that exists to this day under the name Mesmerism. The history of medicine is full of strange claims and miraculous cures, but Mesmerism is still discussed over 200 years later and has now passed into the dictionary. In this article we go back to the source documents to discover what mesmerism is and how it became conflated with magnetic therapy.