Healing practices as diverse as homoeopathy, chiropractic and therapeutic touch draw their inspiration and effectiveness from an unseen world beyond the physical senses. Our view of that world is the legacy of two key thinkers: Emanuel Swedenborg and Franz Anton Mesmer.
The starting point is the competing world views of Swedenborg, a mystic whose deep faith in God and visions of the afterlife have moved generations, and Mesmer, whose magnetic healing system required nothing but the forces of nature. Both were convinced that good health depended on properly managing one’s internal energies, whether that meant a life of biblical virtue or simply achieving balance with the universe. This book traces the influence of these two men through the nineteenth century as their ideas were embraced by utopians, psychic healers, spiritualists, mind-cure advocates, homoeopaths and ultimately by the inheritors of those traditions—modern practitioners of alternative and complementary healing.
Swedenborg, Mesmer, and the Mind/Body Connection illuminates a pivotal time in American history, when pioneers explored not only the boundaries of their growing nation, but the limits—and the intersection—of mind and spirit.
JOHN S HALLER, JR, emeritus professor of history and medical humanities at Southern Illinois University Carbondale, has written on subjects ranging from the history of race and sexuality to medicine, pharmacy and spirituality. His most recent books include The History of American Homeopathy: From Rational Medicine to Holistic Health Care (2009); Swedenborg, Mesmer, and the Mind-Body Complex: The Roots of Complementary Medicine (2010); The History of New Thought: From Mind Cure to Positive Thinking and the Prosperity Gospel (2012); and Shadow Medicine: The Placebo in Conventional and Unconventional Medicines (2014). He is former editor of Caduceus: A Humanities Journal for Medicine and the Health Sciences and, until his retirement at the end of 2008, served for eighteen years as vice-president for academic affairs for the Southern Illinois University system.
This book can be purchased from the Swedenborg Society in London, however, if you are in the USA, you can order directly from the Swedenborg Foundation.