The controversy of 'female hysteria'
While Raulin noted that both men and women could contract hysteria, women were, according to him, more predisposed to this ailment because of their lazy and irritable nature. To illustrate this, he presented the case study of a nun affected by hysteria, who became cured only when a well-wishing barber took it upon himself to pleasure her. Mesmer believed that living beings were influenced by magnetism, an invisible current that ran through animals and humans, and whose imbalances or fluctuations could lead to health disruptions. Mesmer alleged that he could act on this magnetic undercurrent and cure humans of various maladies, including hysteria. Article highlights: Hysteria in the 19th century Throughout the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century, there was perhaps even more talk of female hysteria and its potential causes. Rest cure involved lots of bed rest and strict avoidance of all physical and intellectual activity. Mitchell prescribed this treatment preferentially to women who he deemed as having hysteria. By contrast, he would advise men with hysteria to engage in lots of outdoor exercise.
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