Mind altering practices date back at least to the ancient Egyptians
While there is evidence showcasing the use of
hypnosis rituals during pre-historic times, you may find one of the
first intriguing visual accounts through hieroglyphics decorating the
early 3000 BC tombs of ancient Egyptians. It is believed that hypnotism
was utilized within various "sleep temples," which had connections to
healing or religion.
Throughout ancient history, a wide range of
ancient proof surrounds the fact that hypnotism was understood and
practiced during numerous medicinal practices and rituals. Celtic druids
to ancient Greeks to Chinese religious leaders have all shown a respect
for hypnotism, as the accomplishment was also prevalent throughout
Africa, Persia and South America. It is even thought that details
regarding the practice of hypnosis can be found throughout the pages of
the Jewish Scriptures and the Hindu Vedas.
spiritualism, magic and divine power, hypnotism was met with plenty of
opposition for those who questioned this mysterious practice and
technique. During the early years, hypnosis was a popular exercise
associated with shamans, witch doctors, as well as high priests. With
each passing year, there have been thousands of influences upon
hypnosis, as scientific, as well as unscientific approaches contributed
to the advancement of this captivating entity.
Austrian physician Franz Mesmer 1734-1815
Hypnosis in the 1700s
the 1700s, one of the most well known figures in hypnosis history is an
Austrian by the name of Franz Anton Mesmer (1734-1815). Throughout the
18th century, he led the way in the usage of trace, which earned him the
nickname, "Father of Hypnosis." It is also through his name that we
find the term, "mesmerism."
At the urging of Mozart, Mesmer purchased
a space where he could perform magical "cures" on people. While many
praised his healing powers, which were often accompanied with lights
and other gimmicks, there were others who dismissed his results as a
figment of the imagination. One notable critic was none other than
Dr. James Braid "Father of Hypnosis" 1795-1860
Hypnosis During the 1800s
In France, one of
the first scientific explorations regarding hypnosis took place with
the help of Abbe Castodi de Faria. He investigated the ins and outs of
the practice as it related to trances and willing participants. Faria is
also credited with establishing what is known as the "fixed-gaze
method," which became a rage throughout stage hypnotism shows.
during this time, without the effort of John Elliotson of England, the
use of magnetism and hypnosis may have never found its way in easing the
pain of surgery. As for the concept of autosuggestion, the thoughts and
teachings of Emile Coue brought this to the public. Coue contended that all hypnosis was influenced by self-hypnotic techniques.
during the 1800s, it was the work of Dr. James Braid that really
catapulted hypnosis. Through his studies, suggestibility, as it related
to trance, was thought to be an individual occurrence. Using vocal
suggestion, he was able to explore the influence that hypnotists had on
their subjects. Braid is also honored for discovering "waking hypnosis."
American Psychologist, Dr. Clark Hull 1884-1952
1900s a time of profound change
In 1933, Clark Hull (1884-1952) released a
landmark text. Hypnosis and Suggestibility is the first major book to
compile the results of laboratory experiments in hypnosis, and the first
to apply the techniques and standards of modern experimental
Dr. Milton H. Erickson 1901-1980
During the 20th century, many
researchers, doctors and other medical figures began to take interest in
learning more about hypnosis. Important strides on the subject were
then made by the likes of John Kappas, Ormond McGill, Milton Erickson
and Dave Elman.
In 1958 Milton Erickson brought about the approval of hypnosis for
therapeutic use by the American Medical Association. Dr. Erickson was a
psychiatrist and hypnotherapist with outstanding professional
credentials and theorized that hypnosis is a state of mind that all of
us are normally entering spontaneously and frequently.
On the heels of
Erickson's work, hypnosis evolved into a well respected practice, used
by doctors, psychologists, business and law enforcement. It's also used
for self help, and self improvement. To explore the history of hypnosis, one will encounter a wealth
of personalities who have shaped the way people viewed and accepted the
The history of hypnotism travels throughout a vast record in time. It was used to treat trauma victims during both World Wars. Dentists
utilized its power as hypnotic-anesthesia. In 1955, the British Medical
Association began to consider hypnotherapy as a legitimate medical
treatment. Three years later, the American Medical Association
(AMA) agreed. Following these acknowledgments throughout the medical
world, a host of professional associations for hypnotists started to pop
up across the globe. To date, the National Guild of Hypnotists is still
the oldest and largest of its kind.
Hypnotherapy is a highly effective medical tool and it is
widely used to stop smoking, regulate eating habits, stress
reduction, stop addictions, as well as enhancing the healing process and promoting positive changes for personal growth.
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