mesmer Posts

The Mesmer Hangover – a major source of stigma for magnetic therapy… since 1784!

Franz Anton Mesmer (1734-1815).

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.

What we can learn from a doctor’s 1880 article on the therapeutic use of magnets.

Summary of what we can learn… 

  1. The stigma from people promoting magnetic therapy products was already well established by 1880.
  2. Simple treatments can avoid the risk and side-effects of more toxic therapies.
  3. The concept of improving the magnetic apparatus used, what we refer to today as the optimisation process was already being contemplated.

 

In 1880, an article published in the Scientific American Supplement, by retired US Army Surgeon-General William Hammond M.D. stated…

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