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Corybantic Movements and Swings: A history of treating lunatics

Corybantic Movements and Swings: A history of treating lunatics

In the ancient and medieaval worlds lunatics were treated by a method that involved movement. In ancient Greece, in the temple of Corybentes, says Plato they used to give a treatment to the bacchic woman, whose state was, according Plato, a result of fear. That treatment involved movement, persistent involvement. Plato further writes that even infants are treated for their fear in this manner.

Plato recommends movement as a cure to fear!

But what is the relationship between fear and madness? May be fear and madness are not essentially related, but what is universally related to madness is a  lack of control over emotions and a wild and sometimes violent expression of emotions. It is severity of experession of the emotions that drives a person mad. And it is the capability of feeling and suffering an emotion with out a rational cause or trigger, that is called madness.

Madness is lack of reason, to an extent when a person falls into the pit of irrational fears and doubts. Madness is the lack of control over anger. Madness is the loss of one's sense of one's situation, it is the loss of spatio temporal understanding.

So, the cure of madness lies in keeping the emotions calm. Keeping the fear , anger and loath calm. And traditionally these wild passions of mad men were kept calm through engaging them in a perpetual motion.

Foucault in his madness and civilization writes about Fools' Ships. There were mad people on board those  ships, and such ships were sent to an eternal journey. The mad people were supposed to be moving for ever . For that movement was the only way to keep them calm and peaceful. Perpetual motion was the traditional way of treating madness!


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