Étienne Félix d'Henin de Cuvillers

Étienne Félix d'Henin de Cuvillers (1755–1841) was a French magnetizer who was an early practitioner of mesmerism as a scientific discipline.[1]

Hénin de Cuvillers was a follower of Franz Anton Mesmer (1734–1815). However, unlike Mesmer he did not believe in the existence of a "magnetic fluid" in animal magnetism, and instead emphasized the role of mental processes in mesmerism. In his book Le magnétisme éclairé (The Enlightened Magnetism), he describes accounts of mesmeric effects in terms of belief and suggestibility.[2]

He is credited for popularizing a system of scientific nomenclature by using the prefix "hypn" in words such as hypnotique (hypnotic), hypnotisme (hypnotism) and hypnotiste (hypnotist). He used these terms as early as 1820, and is believed by many to have coined these names. In 1820 he became editor of the Archives du Magnetisme Animal (Archives of Animal Magnetism).[3]

Étienne Félix d'Henin de Cuvillers
Étienne Félix d'Henin de Cuvillers


  1. ^ Science in the Enlightenment: An Encyclopedia - Page 195 William E. Burns - 2003 "and the historian Étienne Felix Henin de Cuvillers (1755–1841) were denying both Mesmer's magnetic fluid and Puységur's emphasis on the spiritual rapport of magnetizer and patient, and treating the magnetic sleep ..."
  2. ^ [1] Trance and Trauma: Functional Nervous Disorders and the Subconscious Mind
  3. ^ Hidden depths by Robin Waterfield
  • [2] Etienne Felix d'Henin de Cuvillers A founder of hypnosis
Animal magnetism

Animal magnetism, also known as mesmerism, was the name given by German doctor Franz Mesmer in the 18th century to what he believed to be an invisible natural force (Lebensmagnetismus) possessed by all living things, including humans, animals, and vegetables. He believed that the force could have physical effects, including healing, and he tried persistently but without success to achieve scientific recognition of his ideas.The vitalist theory attracted numerous followers in Europe and the United States and was popular into the 19th century. Practitioners were often known as magnetizers rather than mesmerists. It was an important specialty in medicine for about 75 years from its beginnings in 1779, and continued to have some influence for another 50 years. Hundreds of books were written on the subject between 1766 and 1925, but it is almost entirely forgotten today. Mesmerism is still practised as a form of alternative medicine in some countries, but magnetic practices are not recognized as part of medical science.


Henin is a French surname.


Hypnosis is a human condition involving focused attention, reduced peripheral awareness, and an enhanced capacity to respond to suggestion. The term may also refer to an art, skill, or act of inducing hypnosis.There are competing theories explaining hypnosis and related phenomena. Altered state theories see hypnosis as an altered state of mind or trance, marked by a level of awareness different from the ordinary state of consciousness. In contrast, nonstate theories see hypnosis as, variously, a type of placebo effect, a redefinition of an interaction with a therapist or form of imaginative role enactment.During hypnosis, a person is said to have heightened focus and concentration. Hypnotised subjects are said to show an increased response to suggestions.

Hypnosis usually begins with a hypnotic induction involving a series of preliminary instructions and suggestion. The use of hypnotism for therapeutic purposes is referred to as "hypnotherapy", while its use as a form of entertainment for an audience is known as "stage hypnosis". Stage hypnosis is often performed by mentalists practicing the art form of mentalism.

The use of Hypnosis as a form of therapy to retrieve and integrate early trauma is controversial. Research indicates that hypnotizing an individual may actually aid the formation of false-memories.

Salpêtrière School of Hypnosis

The Salpêtriére School, also known as the School of Paris, is, with the Nancy School, one of the schools that contributed to the age of hypnosis in France from 1882 to 1892. The leader of this school, the neurologist Jean Martin Charcot, contributed to the rehabilitation of hypnosis as a scientific subject presenting it as a somatic expression of hysteria. Charcot also used hypnosis as an investigative method and that by putting his hysterical patients into an "experimental state" it would permit him to reproduce their symptoms and interpret them.

Charcot did not consider people suffering from hysteria as pretenders and discovered that hysteria was not just a state reserved for women. Finally, Charcot associated hysteria to post-traumatic paralysis, establishing the basis for the theory of psychic trauma.

Charcot’s collaborators included Joseph Babinski, Paul Richer, Alfred Binet, Charles Féré, Pierre Janet, Georges Gilles de la Tourette, Alexandre-Achille Souques, Jules Cotard, Pierre Marie, Gilbert Ballet, Paul Regnard, Désiré-Magloire Bourneville, Paul Brémaud and Victor Dumontpallier.Ultimately, Charcot was accused of operating as a carnival showman, training his patients in theatrical behaviour, which he would attribute to hypnosis. After his death in 1893, the practice of hypnotism declined in medical circles.

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