Mesmerism, also called animal magnetism (lat. animal stands for creature, living being, animal), is the doctrine of the healing power of magnetism. It is now considered the forerunner of modern hypnosis and alternative healing methods in which more advanced techniques carry their meaning today, even if more marginal. Mesmerism goes back to Franz Anton Mesmer (1734-1815), a German physician who describes an omnipresent healing power, the so-called animal magnetism, which fills the whole cosmos - so also man. Mesmer received great attention in his time with the healing method he developed from it, hypnotism or mesmerizing. In the middle of the 19th century, however, this was more and more pushed back and rejected.