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Organon by Hahnemann, aphorisms 286 - 291
"Mesmerism, Baths, Massage"

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Organon aphorism §286

The dynamic force of mineral magnets, electricity and galvanism act no less powerfully upon our life principle and they are not less homeopathic than the properly so-called medicines which neutralize disease by taking them through the mouth, or by rubbing them on the skin or by olfaction. There may be diseases, especially diseases of sensibility and irritability, abnormal sensations, and involuntary muscular movements which may be cured by those means. But the more certain way of applying the last two as well as that of the so-called electro-magnetic machine lies still very much in the dark to make homeopathic use of them. So far both electricity and Galvanism have been used only for palliation to the great damage of the sick. The positive, pure action of both upon the healthy human body have until the present time been but little tested.

Organon aphorism §287

The powers of the magnet for healing purposes can be employed with more certainty according to the positive effects detailed in the MATERIA MEDICA PURA under north and south pole of a powerful magnetic bar. Though both poles are alike powerful, they nevertheless oppose each other in the manner of their respective action. The doses may be modified by the length of time of contact with one or the other pole, according as the symptoms of either north or south pole are indicated. As antidote to a too violent action the application of a plate of polished zinc will suffice.

Organon aphorism §288

I find it yet necessary to allude here to ANIMAL MAGNETISM, as it is termed, or rather MESMERISM (as it should be called in deference to Mesmer, its first founder) which differs so much in its nature from all other therapeutic agents. This curative force, often so stupidly denied and disdained for a century, acts in different ways. It is a marvelous, priceless gift of God to mankind by means of which the strong will of a well intentioned person upon a sick one by contact and even without this and even at some distance, can bring the vital energy of the healthy mesmeriser endowed with this power into another person dynamically (just as one of the poles of a powerful magnetic rod upon a bar of steel).

It acts in part by replacing in the sick whose vital force within the organism is deficient here and there, in part also in other parts where the vital force has accumulated too much and keeps up irritating nervous disorders it turns it aside, diminishes and distributes it equally and in general extinguishes the morbid condition of the life principle of the patient and substitutes in its place the normal of the mesmerist acting powerfully upon him, for instance, old ulcers, amaurosis, paralysis of single organs and so forth. Many rapid apparent cures performed in all ages, by mesmerizers endowed with great natural power, belong to this class. The effect of communicated human power upon the whole human organism was most brilliantly shown, in the resuscitation of persons who had lain some time apparently dead, by the most powerful sympathetic will of a man in full vigor of vital energy,(166) and of this kind of resurrection history records many undeniable examples.

If the mesmerizing person of either sex capable at the same time of a good-natured enthusiasm (even its degeneration into bigotry, fanaticism, mysticism or philanthropic dreaming) will be empowered all the more with this philanthropic self-sacrificing performance to direct exclusively the power of his commanding good will to the recipient requiring his help and at the same time to concentrate these, he may at times perform apparent miracles.

Organon aphorism §289

All the above-mentioned methods of practising mesmerism depend upon an influx of more or less vital force into the patient, and hence are termed positive mesmerism.(167) An opposite mode of employing mesmerism, however, as it produces just the contrary effect, deserves to be termed negative mesmerism. To this belong the passes which are used to rouse from the somnambulic sleep, as also all the manual processes known by the names of SOOTHING AND VENTILATING. This DISCHARGE by means of negative mesmerism of the vital force accumulated to excess in individual parts of the system of undebilitated persons is most surely and simply performed by making a very rapid motion of the flat extended hand, held parallel to, and about an inch distant from the body, from the top of the head to the tips of the toes.(168) The more rapidly this pass is made, so much the more effectually will the discharge be effected. Thus, for instance, in the case where a previously healthy woman, (169) from the sudden suppression of her catamenia by a violent mental shock, lies to all appearance dead, the vital force which is probably accumulated in the precordial region, will, by such a rapid negative pass, be discharged and its equilibrium throughout the whole organism restored, so that the resuscitation generally follows immediately. (170) In like manner, a gentle, less rapid, negative pass diminishes the excessive restlessness and sleeplessness accompanied with anxiety sometimes produced in very irritable persons by a too powerful positive pass, etc.

Organon aphorism §290

Here belongs also the so-called massage of a vigorous good-natured person given to a chronic invalid, who, though cured, still suffers from loss of flesh, weakness of digestion and lack of sleep due to slow convalescence. The muscles of the limbs, breast and back, separately grasped and moderately pressed and kneaded arouse the life principle to reach and restore the tone of the muscles and blood and lymph vessels. The mesmeric influence of this procedure is the chief feature and it must not be used to excess in patients still hypersensitive.

Organon aphorism §291

Baths of pure water prove themselves partly palliative, partly as homeopathic serviceable aids in restoring health in acute diseases as well as in convalescence of cured chronic patients with proper consideration of the conditions of the convalescent and the temperature of the bath, its duration and repetition. But even if well applied, they bring only physically beneficial changes in the sick body, in themselves they are no true medicine. The lukewarm baths at 25 to 270 R. serve to arouse the slumbering sensibility of fibre in the apparent dead (frozen, drowned, suffocated) which benumbed the sensation of the nerves. Though only palliative, still they often prove themselves sufficiently active, especially when given in conjunction with coffee and rubbing with the hands. They may give homeopathic aid in cases where the irritability is very unevenly distributed and accumulated too unevenly in some organs as is the case in certain hysteric spasms and infantile convulsions. In the same way, cold baths 10 to 6° R. in persons cured medically of chronic diseases and with deficiency of vital heat, act as an homeopathic aid. By INSTANTANEOUS and later with REPEATED immersions they act as a palliative restorative of the tone of the exhausted fibre. For this purpose, such baths are to be used for more than momentary duration, rather for minutes and of gradually lowered temperature, they are a palliative, which, since it acts only physically has no connection with the disadvantage of a reverse action to be feared afterwards, as takes place with dynamic medicinal palliatives.

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Organon notes and explanatory remarks

--- 288 Organon aphorism ---

[166] Especially of one of such persons, of whom there are not many, who, along with great kindness of disposition and perfect bodily powers, possesses but A VERY MODERATE DESIRE FOR SEXUAL INTERCOURSE, which it would give him very little trouble wholly to suppress, in whom, consequently, all the fine vital spirits that would otherwise be employed in the preparation of the semen, are ready to be communicated to others, by touching them and powerfully exerting the will. Some powerful mesmerisers, with whom I have become acquainted, had ALL this peculiar character.

--- 289 Organon aphorism ---

[167] When I here speak of the decided and certain curative power of positive mesmerism, I most assuredly do not mean that abuse of it, where, by repeated passes of this kind, continued for half an hour or a whole hour at a time, and, even day after day, performed on weak, nervous patients, that monstrous revolution of the whole human system is effected which is termed somnambulism, wherein the human being is ravished from the world of sense and seems to belong more to the world of spirits—a highly unnatural and dangerous state, by means of which it has not infrequently been attempted to cure chronic diseases.

[168] It is a well known rule that a person who is either to be positively or negatively mesmerised, should not wear silk on any part of the body.

[169] Hence a negative pass, especially if it be very rapid, is extremely injurious to a delicate person affected with a chronic ailment and deficient in vital force.

[170] A strong country lad, ten years of age, received in the morning, on account of slight indisposition, from a professed female mesmeriser, several very powerful passes with the points of both thumbs, from the pit of the stomach along the lower edge of the ribs, and he instantly grew deathly pale, and fell into such a state of unconsciousness and immobility that no effort could arouse him, and he was almost given up for dead. I made his eldest brother give him a very rapid negative pass from the crown of the head over the body to the feet, and in one instant he recovered his consciousness and became lively and well.


previous: Organon aphorisms § 273 - 285