Jean-Pierre Peter

De Mesmer à Puységur. Magnétisme animal et transe somnambulique, à l'origine des thérapies psychiques

Revue d'histoire du XIXe siècle, N. 38, 2009, pp. 19-40.

1 volume available

At the close of the century of the Enlightenment, the development of animal magnetism (with Franz Anton Mesmer), followed by artificial somnambulism (with the marquis de Puységur) offered to a number of people whose illnesses could not be helped by medicine a new approach to care, a specific way of working, which was often effective though ambiguous, and which is still worth discussing today. This approach could be unpicked so as to reveal the way in which the workings of the mind interacted in a reciprocal way with the body, thus bringing into play other means of self-healing. The article traces the historical development of these new therapies, whose effectiveness was in large part connected to the emotional relationship between a therapist and a patient. This process suggests a discovery of the power of the imagination over reality and a dimension hitherto unknown in the human nature.



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