FROM MESMERISM TO HYPNOSIS
Franz Mesmer (1734-1815) became fashionable in yoga poses the eighteenth century in yoga poses various mundane settings that appreciated his healing methods. His theory was that certain magnetic animal fluids could heal illnesses. He presented methods that allowed him to facilitate the passage of these fluids in yoga poses the organism of an individual who wanted to be cured by him and his followers. He encouraged scientists to undertake research on the phenomena that he brought about with his patients.5 Researchers often contented themselves to relate Mesmer’s magnetism to a placebo effect, defined as a mobilization of the patient’s hope that can sometimes unleash a cure. Independent of the explanations proposed by Mesmer, many testimonials attest to the efficacy of his practices. To my knowledge, we do not always know today how this placebo effect really functions.6 Materialistic minds evoke it to disqualify this type of approach, but no serious scientific research demonstrates that Mesmer’s fluids are effectively without results or can only be explained by a patient’s belief. The scientific point of view developed by Descartes determines that a scientist can only approach a research subject that is close to something that has already been studied and for which he has adequate methodological tools. There are manifestly many subjects that cannot yet be studied scientifically.
Armand Marie Jacques de Chastenet, Marquis de Puysegur, was an influential student of Mesmer. He developed a form of hypnosis that made the subject fall into a state that is close to sleep and trance state and that created an artificial state of somnambulism.
The effects of hypnosis as described by de Puysegur. This state activates mechanisms of auto-reparation in yoga poses the organism. It also permits obtaining information about the subject that the subject ignores in yoga poses a waking state. Certain types of habits can be eliminated through suggestion. De Puysegur shows that the subject can, under hypnosis, recover memories that are not available in yoga poses a waking state and that this remembering can treat certain disturbances. This allows him to affirm that the function of memory and consciousness sometimes has an impact on the functioning of the organism without the person knowing it. He also shows that he can suggest something to a person under hypnosis that she will not be able to avoid doing once awake (she strokes her chin every time she hears the word cat, for example), while she is unable to recall the suggestions of the hypnotist. When we were to ask why she strokes her chin, she would invent false explanations, as do certain patients who suffer from neurological problems.
These techniques were gradually integrated into the practice of Mesmer’s students, who in yoga poses turn influenced Freud. The hypnotic methods recommended free association long before Freud did, the exploration of free writing (stream of consciousness), free drawing and free movement, to explore the dimensions of the being that make us move, draw, and write. The basic idea is that mental functioning is part of the equilibrium established by the organism When a person allows his mental functioning to change, the organism must accommodate to these changes. The methods developed by the hypnotists had the goal of inducing a global change of the organism starting from a functional change of the mind.
John Elliotson introduced hypnosis to medicine around 1840. He was also the first English physician to use the stethoscope. He was particularly interested in yoga poses the possible anesthetizing effect of hypnosis. in yoga poses spite of vociferous critics, hypnosis entered into certain medical practices in yoga poses a lasting way.
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