What is Mesmerism or Animal Magnetism?

Hippocrates, the father of medicine believed in somnambulistic powers. A 16th-century Italian physician called “Cardano” identified the action of magnetic force upon human beings. Paracelsus believed in animal magnetism. “Mesmer” is considered as the founder of this therapeutic method of animal magnetism. Hence it is called mesmerism. Mesmerism seems to be similar to the Reiki healing and the pranic healing techniques. Mesmerism or animal magnetism is a therapeutic method of communicating the human healing power of a well-intentioned person by exerting his willpower on sick persons.

What is Mesmerism or Animal Magnetism?

Method of Mesmerism

The strong will of a well-intentioned person is transferred upon to a sick person either by contact or without contact. The vital energy of the healthy mesmerizer endowed with this power is transferred into another person dynamically. It acts homeopathically by exchange of powers of similar states. By this procedure, the disturbed vital force of the sick person is uniformly distributed throughout the organism. As a rule, a person who is either to be negatively or positively mesmerized should not wear silk on any part of their body (footnote to § 289).

Types of Mesmerism

Mesmerism can be of 2 types:

  1. Positive mesmerism
  2. Negative mesmerism

i. Positive Mesmerism

It is one of the methods of the positive pass where one single pass is made, without much exertion, with palms of the healer not too slowly, from top of head to the tips of the toes. This method of practicing mesmerism depends upon an influx of more or less vital force in the patient and is hence called positive mesmerism.

Practical use: It helps to distribute the disturbed vital force uniformly all over the body. It also helps in extinguishing the morbid vital force and replaces it with the healthy vital force. Hence, it is effective in treating old ulcers, amaurosis, and paralysis of single organs.  Hahnemann also warns the physician against the abuse of positive mesmerism in the footnote to § 289.

Frequent and repeated positive mesmerism on a weak and nervous patient will have bad effects. Such patients may behave abnormally as if they are not belonging to this world but to the world of spirits. Such a condition can be called Somnambulism (Sleep-Walking). This is a highly unnatural and dangerous state. Hence, positive mesmerism has to be practiced carefully.

ii. Negative Mesmerism

Another method of mesmerism, where the excessively accumulated vital force in the individual parts of a system can be discharged. This is possible, especially in debilitated persons. This is just the opposite of positive mesmerism. Different methods of passes called soothing and ventilating, belong to this group. This is performed simply by making a very rapid motion through a flat extended handheld parallel to and about an inch distant from the body. The pass is done from the top of the head to the tips of the toes. The more rapidly this pass is made, so much more effectively will the discharge be effected.

Practical use: This type of mesmerism helps in raising the somnambulists from sleep. It is effective in counteracting the bad effects of positive mesmerism. Example: Once a strong country lad of 10 yrs old with slight indisposition was given very severe passes of positive mesmerism. Because of the excessive use, the boy went into a state of unconsciousness and was almost given up for dead. Hahnemann gave a very rapid negative pass and the boy recovered and became lively and well (footnote to § 289).

Negative mesmerism is useful in discharging the unevenly accumulated vital energy in the body by its rapid negative passes. For example: once a healthy lady developed a violent mental shock, by sudden suppression of her catamenia. Because of the accumulation of vital force in her precordial region, she appeared almost dead to all members around. But by the application of rapid negative passes, such lady was restored to health. A gentle negative pass diminishes the excessive restlessness and sleeplessness accompanied with anxiety sometimes produced in very irritable persons by a too powerful positive pass. Negative pass if applied very rapidly is too dangerous, especially to persons suffering from chronic ailments and deficient vital force.

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