The most well-known new healing methods were founded by chance by the end of the 18th and beginning 19th century


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Franz Anton Mesmer (1734-1815), a physician founded the MESMERISM. By chance he realized that he could heal a woman suffering from hysteria by laying on of hands initially with magnets and later without. Mesmerism attracted numerous followers in Europe and the United State until around the end of 19th century; yet right from the beginning he was regarded very controversial. In modern Germany Mesmerism is almost forgotten, however, nowadays, similar healing methods like Reiki are quite popular.


When Samuel Hahnemann (1755-1843) translated an article about the China bark he was puzzled about arguments why China should be useful in treating Malaria. Therefore, he ate China bark and experienced similar symptoms like a Malaria patient. Based on that experience he also tried poisonous elements however those needed to be diluted and succussed. Surprisingly the latter diluted and succussed substances were even more powerful. Homeopathy was born. In other words Homeopathy treats symptoms with a substance which creates the same symptoms in healthy persons. For example when cutting an onion the cutter’s eye is weeping and the nose might run. So if you have a cold with a runny nose and weeping eye the remedy Allium (Onion) might be the remedy of cure. In fact this method goes back to our ancestors.


Homeopathy is a medicine and science with an independent concept of science. Most criteria of conventional western medicine and natural science are not valid for it and are consequently not appropriate for the evaluation of homeopathy. (Dellmour) Therefore, right from the beginning there were constant doubts of its efficacy!


Three people, independently, experienced the power of water treatment. Emil Osann (1787-1842), a physician founded Balneotherapy, Bath therapy and bracing the climate. Vinzenz Priessnitz (1799-1851), a lay healer founded Hydrotherapy (Naturopathy), where he was using cold showers, water drinking, enema, and baths or sweating. And Sebastian Kneipp (1821-1897), a priest, hence lay healer, was using water treatment und herbs.


All three healing methods, mesmerism, homeopathy and water treatment, claimed that it could heal all diseases by strengthening the sick person’s vital force. They all had the desire to integrate body, soul and mind without dangerous drugs or methods available from the traditional physician. And indeed, they offered a real alternative for many parts of the population to the traditional physician. Hence many lay movements for Naturopathy and Homeopathy developed. As the methods were simple and effective travellers, aristocracy, pastor’s sons or theology students often spread those healing methods as well as estate owner and traders (Dinges).


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