Mesmerism - What is It, How is It Used & My Experiences
In 2011 I had the fortune of being in the first group of Australian hypnotherapists to be personally trained by Dr Marco Paret in Mesmerism (Magnetista Esmirisus). Dr Marco is considered by many to be the finest exponent of Mesmerism in the world today.
First Australian graduates of Dr Marco Paret's Mesmerism course. I am 2nd row, 2nd from the left.
What is Mesmerism?
Mesmerism is the act of non-verbally using a trance-like state and shifting the energy field within a client. The term 'Mesmerism' is named after Franz Anton Mesmer, the pioneer of Mesmerism in the 1800's. It uses mainly non-verbal actions like gaze, fascination, passes (strokes) and other methods to instate trance and affect the body's energy field. Anton Mesmer believed there was an invisible ethereal 'magnetic like' fluid that ran through people's bodies. He also believed that when this magnetic field became unbalanced was when people became sick or experienced psychological issues. This phenomena he termed 'Animal Magnetism', and in modern day terms is also similar in ways to things like chakra balancing, reiki, kinisieology and energy healing. Like Mesmerism, these modalities all assume the presence of unseen energy within a person, and the need to balance this and manipulate it in different ways to achieve different effects.
When performing Mesmerism on a client, a state of trance is induced and then the Mesmerist uses strokes (passes) to interrupt the energy field. This is done by moving the hands over certain regions of the body without physically actually touching the body. It can also be done by the Mesmerist focusing energy on different parts of the body through the power of thought.
A Brief History
As mentioned, Mesmerism was developed and named after Franz Anton Mesmer in the 1800's. Mesmer and his techniques came under much conjecture by the medical/scientific communities at the time and he was actually banned from practicing and told to leave Venice towards the end of his career. In the early days Anton believed that the invisible magnetic fields inside people were best affected by using physical magnetic devices as well as his own powers. As such he used steel magnetic vats and other objects to help re-balance people's energy fields and cure them of their diseases. Doing this he was quite popular and would often treat many people in his clinics at the same time. Mesmer later came to the conclusion that the magnetic objects were not needed, and thus practiced his phenomena of animal magnetism solely through his own devices.
Mesmer was considered a real 'showman' and would often conduct elaborate sessions with very animated performances and different types of music to bring about changes in his clients. Although he received much criticism, I believe looking back, there were also a lot of elements that can now be explained by science, and that his contribution to the beginning of hypnosis was of the utmost importance.
An old illustration showing Mesmerism in action
Mesmerism is Not the Same as Hypnosis!
Many people think hypnosis and Mesmerism are the same thing, but they are not, especially when compared to what is now called modern hypnosis. Hypnosis is primarily achieved through spoken words, but it does have elements of Mesmerism in the way a hypnotist and client interact non-verbally. This can be especially be seen where the hypnotist uses unseen forces to instate the trance state like gaze and fascination techniques. These rely on overpowering the client's energy field (personal space) in a way to drop their consciousness into lower levels of trance. This is done by the hypnotist usually in the induction process of hypnosis, and can be very effective particularly with a resistant client or to help them reach trance state quickly (rapid induction). However during hypnotherapy, it is the power of suggestion through words that is the main vehicle to instate change, rather then relying on non-verbal methods which is what happens primarily during Mesmerism.
Using Mesmerism With Hypnosis
I personally believe that in a one on one environment Mesmerism does have some excellent uses as an adjunct with spoken hypnosis. This is what many of the past masters of 'traditional hypnosis' used when doing an induction and treatment on a client. Modern day hypnosis has been somewhat dis-empowered with the introduction of closer associations with things like NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming), and the techniques associated with Ericksonian hypnosis. These rely less on the state of trance which was held in high importance by traditional hypnotists, and more on conscious reprogramming through words. Both traditional and modern day NLP based hypnosis I believe have their place, and combining Mesmerism and other things like TFT all help suit the individual needs of each client.
My Own Thoughts
Having studied and practiced elements of Mesmerism I do believe it has a place. I very rarely practice Mesmerism on it's own, however I do incorporate parts of the discipline into my personal one on one hypnosis sessions with clients. There is a lot that we do know, and also that we can't explain scientifically, about the 'unseen'. The nature of energy, seen and unseen, is at the heart of many scientific discoveries as well as debates. There are many examples of how the unseen forces of energy affect people on a daily basis, especially when it comes to the power of thought and the connection between our mind and body. Knowing this I believe that sometimes things happen which we simply can't explain, and I believe Mesmerism is a fine exponent of this.
I have seen first hand the results that Mesmerism sessions have had on people, both helping emotional disorders as well as physical. I also find in my personal experience that there is a definite unseen connection between the energy of the hypnotist and the client. Focusing and manipulating this energy through Mesmeric techniques I find helps me bring my clients into a trance state much more effectively and quicker. All things considered I thoroughly enjoyed my time studying and applying Mesmerism, and it has not only my clients, but also myself.