What is Mesmerism & Is It The Same as Hypnosis?

Man at sunset reflecting

This week I want to talk about Mesmerism - what it is, how it works, therapeutic uses, its relationship with hypnosis, and my own learning/application experiences. As part of my formal qualifications I have completed two Mesmerism courses through the Australian Academy of Hypnosis:

  • Cert. Magnetista Emeritus (Mesmerism) with Dr. Marco Paret
  • Campanelli Mesmerism for treatment of cigarette smoking & addictions

Participating in these taught me a great deal and added to my skill sets that I use as a hypnotherapist. In this blog I want to go over some of this to help inform you...

Firstly - What is Mesmerism?

Named after its founder Franz Anton Mesmer, the actual term 'Mesmerism' was first used from about 1780. Prior to that Mesmer himself developed the theory of 'Animal Magnetism'; that being an unseen energy flowing between all living and even non-living objects. Mesmer practiced techniques that would realign and manipulate this energy connection (not dissimilar in some ways to Reiki) to help bring positive change in his clients. This was across all types of areas and issues. He built up quite the following doing this.

Mesmer's process would involve the use of strokes (or passes) to influence the energy field around his client/s. Often this would involve trance like states brought on by what we would now call non-verbal hypnosis methods. (more on this shortly) He believed that the energy (or unseen magnetic fluid), when unbalanced, was the cause for many types of problems people experienced. By being able to re-balance this energy, the client would experience significant shifts sometimes instantaneously as their energy flow was brought back into harmony and balance.

How Does Mesmerism Work?

There is much we still do not know about the mind, energy and how everything interacts. There is also much that we know now that was not known back in Mesmer's days. In searching for explanations or reasons for the many results Mesmer reported and since other practitioners have too for these methods, it is important to consider the nature of energy and mind. We know that a calm and stress free mindset is conducive to better health. We also know the benefits of other practices like yoga, reiki, kinesiology, energy healing, and other types of energy work. It is all about releasing the negative and bringing everything back into balance. This is how Mesmerism works and why it is especially very effective when used in conjunction with hypnotherapy too.

Is Mesmerism Hypnosis?

Mesmerism is not technically hypnosis - but - it had a very influential role in the events that shaped the beginnings of hypnosis. Hypnosis as a term was first coined by James Braid in 1843 for a trance phenomena derived from early Mesmerism/Animal Magnetism practice. Of course there are other roles at work here, but Mesmer was indeed a very large influence on the first people who began using the word hypnosis and practicing it as a trance therapy. (the use of hypnosis can actually be traced back to the early Egyptians, but the word hypnosis was only used from 1843 onwards) There were elements used in Mesmerism, mostly non-verbal, that are also shared when doing a hypnosis induction. These include things like fascination, gaze, the touching of positions on the clients hands etc. Many of these used are used in rapid hypnotic inductions to instate trance quickly in a client. So even though Mesmerism is not technically hypnosis it does share some similarities and was heavily influential in its development.

My Thoughts

I believe my training in Mesmerism has taught me a lot about the nature of energy as well as improving my abilities as a hypnotist to help clients reach the trance state. When used in conjunction with spoken hypnotic suggestion and metaphor, there are elements of Mesmerism which can be very beneficial to the client. The Campanelli method I studied is particularly effective and has helped many people quit smoking and become free from addiction. At the end of the day we know when things are not in harmony within. Mesmerism is a great way to shift this energy into positive alignment and can be very helpful for many types of issues on its own or when used with other therapy approaches.

If you would like to experience these methods for yourself please contact me here and we can make a booking.

- Jacqui Dornan