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In the history of hypnosis, it was Austrian physician Franz Anton Mesmer (1734-1815) who began formalized research into what we consider to be hypnosis today. He believed that there was a magnetic fluid in the air we breathe and that the body's nerves absorbed this fluid. He considered disease to be caused via a blockage of the circulation of this magnetic fluid. He began by using a magnet (later his hand), which was passed over the diseased body in an attempt to unblock the magnetic flow. When his hand passed over the infected area, (and later still, the eyes) it was believed to unblock the fluid by increasing its amount and flow. We get he term "animal magnetism" from this procedure, as well as what was to be referred to as Mesmerism.