The History of Hypnosis

Hypnosis is one of the alternative healing methods and has a very long history. Already about 3000 years before Christ suggestive methods were used to treat diseases.

Many different names for hypnosis / hypnotherapy were existent at that time. Even the oldest cultures and civilizations of the world made use of different forms of hypnosis-similar therapies (suggestions, sleep analysis, meditation) to assist in the healing. Already in ancient Egypt, in the times of Pharaoh Zosers (2980 – 2900 BC), his doctor Vizier turned to the incubation treatment. The Temple of Imhotep was known for sleep therapy and temple sleep, which can be found in some areas of the Middle East and Africa today.

History of Hypnotherapy of ancient cultures
Both the ancient Hebrews and the Greeks and Romans were using chants, meditation, breathing exercises and rituals practices – very similar to self-hypnosis – to put themselves in a trance state.

The Greeks and Romans were convinced that physical and emotional health will affect each other. They believed that a healthy mind leads to a healthy body. Just like the Old Testament, the New Testament of the Bible speaks of something that can be interpreted as hypnosis.

Modern history of hypnotherapy
The modern history of hypnotherapy began in the 18th century with a few different people. Erroneously, Franz Anton Mesmer (1734 – 1815) was called the father of hypnotherapy. He did not hypnotize. Mesmer was heavily influenced by Father Maximillian Hell and in particular of the idea of his mentorship in astrology, planets and their influence on the people. Mesmer was very interested in healing with the help of magnetism. Through this work the terms Animalistic magnetism and mesmerizing, which is often wrongly used as a synonym for hypnotizing, emerged.

James Braid (1795 – 1860) was a Scottish surgeon practicing in Manchester, England. He recognized that some patients went into a state of trance when they looked at a shiny object like a watch fixed.

Dr. Braid formed the theory and the words hypnosis and hypnotherapy in the year 1843rd. After having reviewed and compared his theory to mesmerism, Braid said that hypnotism is a scientific and psycho-physiologic discipline.

James Esdaile (1808 – 1859) – also a Scottish surgeon – who worked in India, took advantage of the fixation of the gaze and helped his patients into a deep hypnotic sleep before he was operating.

Dr. Braid and Dr. Esdaile were among the first whose research and application were to be taken seriously with respect to hypnosis, because their works were scientific and reliable. These gentlemen were the first to separate hypnosis from the context of mysticism and proved that hypnosis really helps patients with their complaints. Further scientific pioneers were Bernheim, Brewer, Freud and Liebeault.

During the 19th century, hypnosis was widely used by doctors, particularly in Europe, for anesthesia and pain management. With the discovery of anesthetics and strong pain medications, as well as for suspicious looks by the broad population, hypnosis slowly lost its popularity at the beginning of the 20th century.

History of hypnosis therapy: perspectives of the 20th century
Different people of the last century have influenced the view(s) regarding the hypnosis immensely. Some of the most respected names include: Ormond McGill was a stage hypnotist who helped to preserve the public interest in the art of hypnosis. Charles Tebbetts also led stage hypnosis by an audience, what made the interest grow and many people acquainted with the therapeutic benefits of hypnosis.

Dave Elman helped considerably to increase the acceptance of hypnosis on the part of physicians. In 1958, the Health Council of the American Medical Association accepted hypnotherapy as a treatment method.

Milton Erickson is the grandfather of hypnotherapy because of his significant contribution to the acceptance of hypnotherapy as an art form and a science. The community of physicians respected him as a trusted, highly respected psychiatrist and hypnotherapist. His professional certificates impressed his peers.

Other notable personalities on the path of progress and development of hypnotherapy as a science and as an art of healing are: Abramson, Bordeaux, Erwin, LeCron, Magonet, Menninger, Rosen, Shenek, Simonton, Wetzenhoffer, Wolberg.

In 1955, hypnotherapy was recognized in the UK as a form of therapy. In Germany, the hypnosis treatment is recognized since 2006.

(Source: Copyright 2008-2013