Medicine of Interactions – What modern Medicine could learn from its historical Encounter with “Animal Magnetism”
Whoever deals with the person, work and history of Franz Anton Mesmer is confronted with the difficulty of facing a personality whose many facets make it difficult to force him into a uniform image. Mesmer seems to evade this attempt to grasp him light-footedly, like one of his much-vaunted fluids.
Franz Anton Mesmer gave impulses for the most diverse disciplines and topoi. Examples are the development of anesthesia, psychiatry, psychosomatics, hypnotism and psycho-therapy. – For the sociological formation of the latter, his unintended influence should not be underestimated. Beyond that, however, his teachings had an effect in the fields of parapsy-chology, spiritualism, which returned to Europe via America, spiritual healing, stage hypno-sis, and in an extensive way in the history of literature, especially German Romanticism.
What can medicine learn from its encounter with “animal magnetism”? How would it react to esoteric and metaphysial theories that evolve around an otherwise “rational” and effective therapy TODAY?a