An introduction to the origins and practice of mesmerism

What is mesmerism? Is it just an old-fashioned hypnotic induction technique or something more?

Mesmerism was prematurely abandoned for political reasons and still has a lot to offer. In many respects it has definite advantages over hypnosis.

Mesmer: More than Just History

To some, Mesmer is simply a historical figure of minor importance. Henri Ellenberger PhD, professor of psychiatry and author of The Discovery of the Unconscious is more sympathetic to Mesmer than most academics. He credits Mesmer with being one of the founders of modern psychiatry. It’s true to say that Mesmer’s discovery of trance led to Freud and modern psychotherapy. But it also minimized Mesmer’s importance. He discovered far more than just a new way to treat mental problems. Mesmer discovered a force that controls both mind and body and man’s relationship with nature.

Interest and enthusiasm for this force called animal magnetism dominated educated society in France in the last years before the Revolution. After the Revolution great effort went into suppressing Mesmerism because it was a threat to the newly emerging pharmaceutical industry and “scientific” medicine.

Mesmerism is not just of historical interest, because its basic techniques work just as well today as they did over two hundred years ago.

Mesmer’s career was a fantastic success story. His discovery of animal magnetism and trance brought him undreamed of riches. Although of humble origins he rose to be regarded as “the master” by Dukes and Princes.

Amazingly no hypnotherapists today use Mesmer’s methods. Most seem to prefer to dilute the power of trance by mixing it with weak unproven therapies invented by people who, compared to Mesmer, are mediocrities.

The popularity of mesmerism

Mesmerism enjoyed a success that hypnotism never has. Mesmerism was embraced by royalty. A number of creative geniuses, Dickens, Dumas, Poe and others practiced mesmerism. There were even several hospitals devoted exclusively to mesmerism

The super conscious

Some of Mesmer’s French disciples found a method of directly contacting the higher self, a kind of mysterious realm in the human mind, a central point linking the conscious individual with his inner most self and unknown forces in the universe. The aim of mesmerism was to rediscover that central point so that the individual might recover the total of his or her psychic energy and the unknown riches within.

Mesmerism is the first bio-energy therapy

Now there are many other bio-energy, therapies such as Reiki, healing touch, etc., but mesmerism remains the only bio-energy TRANCE therapy. It is from this trance aspect that it has its power.

Charles Dickens the Mesmerist

Dickens developed a very successful system of mesmerism. He learned his basic techniques from Dupotet and Dr. Elliotson. One of the first people he mesmerized was his wife Catherine. Eight minutes after he began to make passes with his hands she fell into a deep sleep. His technique rapidly improved and he began seeing patients.

When treating a woman who suffered from epilepsy he reported,“In one minute at the utmost, she was senseless and rigid and so remained.”He was not shy about giving demonstrations of mesmerism even to skeptical audiences. While traveling in Europe and working on his book ‘Dombey and Son’, he wrote, “I magnetized a man at Lausanne among unbelievers and stretched him [out] on the dining-room floor.”

Dickens’ biographies have either censored out his involvement with mesmerism or tried to minimize it. However, his daughter Mamie recalled that her father, “was always…, much interested in mesmerism.” Even as a young man, Dickens saw mesmerism as a vehicle of self-discovery. He also saw it as a tool to explore the nature of the self and a way to understand personality and human relationships.

The Forgotten Advantages of Mesmerism

The Incredible Hidden Power of Mesmerism

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In the 1850’s James Esdaile performed over 3,000 operations using mesmerism as the only anesthesia. Not only did the patients feel no pain but also there was a most interesting side effect from the use of mesmerism. The post surgery mortality rate was reduced from 50% to 5% and this was in India, a tropical country, in the 1850’s!
What incredible hidden power and benefit mesmerism must have!


A mysterious superior intelligence often appears in the mesmerized subject. Mesmerism stimulated experiences and capacities that could transform the human body and mind.

The Marquis de Puysegur one of the most important early mesmerists discovered that a mysterious intelligence often came into play during Mesmerism and trance. As Lewis Thomas suggested, this was not the sort of confused, disorderly intelligence of the Freudian unconscious.

“There almost has to be a person in charge, running matters of meticulous detail beyond anyone’s comprehension, a skilled engineer and manager, a chief executive officer’ a cell biologist of world class.” Lewis Thomas

This, perhaps was the most fundamental insight first seen in mesmerism, this glimpse of a superior intelligence within us that can drastically alter our perceptions and thinking, restore healthy functioning, and enhance our most basic capacities. From the wealth of mesmeric phenomena we learn that human functioning can be developed in more dramatic ways that we can imagine.

Mesmerism is a stand alone system of Psychotherapy

Professor Henri Ellenbergen of the University of Montreal wrote that the work of the mesmerists resulted in the slow development of a well-rounded system of dynamic psychiatry.
“These pioneers undertook with great audacity the exploration and the therapeutic utilization of unconscious psychological energies. On the basis of their findings, they elaborated new theories about the human mind and the psychogenesis of illness. The first dynamic psychiatry was an impressive achievement, even more so since it was brought about mostly outside of ‘if not directly in opposition to’ official medicine.”

Mesmerism can prevent damage from mobile phone radiation

Today we live in an era of rapidly increasing electronic technology. Within that technology are hidden pollutants that many people are not aware of. Our bodies absorb these electronic pollutants from many sources including cell phones, computers, televisions, microwaves and electrical power lines. These electronic pollutants are known as EMF’s, electronicmagnetic fields. When these EMF’s are emitted the cells of our bodies are negatively impacted by the waves, which in turn increase free radical production, This causes the body to function at a decreased efficiency and decreases energy level and in turn can cause pain and various illnesses. Mesmerism restores the natural harmony of the body’s energy filed.

The Rebirth of Mesmerism

A Deeper Trance

In a modern study mesmerism was compared to hypnotism. One hundred subjects of varying degrees of suggestibility took part in the experiment. Eighty four percent of the subjects felt mesmerism was a deeper trance than hypnosis

Lee Pulos PhD wrote in the 1980s:
“There has been renewed interest in the application and investigation of mesmerism…particularly in healing practices” He reported that distinct differences were perceived between hypnosis and mesmerism with the latter being experienced as a ‘deeper’ trance.

The Experience of Mesmerism

The same study found the physical and mental experiences during mesmerism were also different than during hypnosis. In mesmerism 68% of the subjects described a ‘patch’ loss of sensation or analgesia in some part of their bodies, 26% experienced a numbness throughout their bodies, 15% were cataleptic, 9% lost total contact or sense of body and 9% reported spontaneous healing.

Parasensory phenomena in mesmerism

The study concluded that there was also a higher rate of parasensory phenomena experienced during mesmerism. 23% of the subjects felt at least partly out of their bodies, 7% experienced age regression and 7% felt they had contact with their past lives.