• Ken Cooke

Franz Anton Mesmer, one of the pioneers

Here is an interesting character, who is considered to be one of the pioneers of modern hypnosis. Franz Anton Mesmer was an Austrian who lived between 1734 and 1815.

During that period, new discoveries and theories were being developed by many of the historical people that we recognise today.

It all started for Mesmer when he watched a priest, Father Maximillian Hell, perform what was referred to as a “magnetic Cure”. He was fascinated by this and developed his thoughts further by drawing on ideas from lots of others. Isaac Newton’s work on gravity and its influence on tides was one such source. Another one Richard Mead, who suggested that the planets had an effect on the “nervous fluids” in the body.

In 1766 Mesmer wrote his dissertation on “The Influence of Heavenly Bodies on the Human Body”.

His work suggested that every living thing had internal magnetic fields and he coined the phrase “animal magnetism”. He believed that the planets’ influence on these fields could lead to “blockages” and in turn diseases.

Mesmer seems to have been a great showman while wearing capes, playing mystic music and making references to the occult. He travelled around Europe demonstrating his treatment, which initially involved placing the patient into a wooden bath containing bits of metal, while he moved iron bars around them. This process was to remove the blockages and realign the magnetic fields. There were several success stories where people believed in this “magic cure” and positive outcomes were achieved, but he continued moving around Europe seeking recognition for his ideas.

This sounds crazy today, but there were people queuing up for his services.

Later he started instructing his patients to “reach into their own minds” and cure themselves. This is where it gets interesting because he pretty much fell into using hypnotic techniques. By moderating the tone of his voice and repeating positive suggestions he helped his clients into a trance and had much success in Paris. He called that trance state “Mesmerism” and we still talk about being mesmerised today.

King Louis XVI was not a fan of Mesmer – although it was rumoured that his queen was – and an investigation into Mesmer’s methods was commenced. Benjamin Franklin led the committee that concluded that the theories relating to animal magnetism were wrong, but unfortunately did not address the positive aspects of the trance state.

Franz Anton Mesmer’s credibility was under siege and he retired to Switzerland where he died.

Modern hypnotherapy has moved on a long way from Mesmer’s time and there is now scientific proof of measurable changes in the brain when a patient is in a trance. A hypnotherapist will guide their client into this state and help them to make changes inside of themselves.

One last thing. If you do come to see me, please don’t expect me to be running around in a cape or “putting on a show”. I’m just here to help my clients to achieve the positive changes that they desire, without any song and dance.

I’m always happy to meet people for a free chat and you are welcome to phone me on 655675065 or click this link to fire off an email.


Ken Cooke 

Clinical Hypnotherapy

Fuente Alamo, 30333, Murcia  
Tel: +34 655 675 065 (also on WhatsApp)
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