The History of Hypnosis

The term “hypnosis” is derived from the Ancient Greek word for “sleep” (hypnos).

The history of hypnosis can be traced back to over 4000 years to the healing temples of Egypt, Greece & India.

The Egyptians had "Sleep or Dream" Temples, where sick people were put into a trance state using magical spells and chants. 

Once the patient was in a dream like state, the priest or priestess would give hypnotic suggestions to get the patient connected with the God's to perform the healing.

The timing of entering the Dream Temple had to be just right too, where to begin with there  was a preparation phase. The patient went through a purification rituals and sacred chants. They would meditate, take hot baths and make sacrifices to the God's.

The people who came to the healing temples were known as seekers. There were seeking a  solution to their problems, or wanted to make contact with the God's, or gain an insight, or wanting cure a mental or physical challenge. 

Healing temples have been reported not only in Egypt, but in the ancient Greek, Romans & Hebrew Traditions. In India some of these traditions have survived and are still performed by a priest to treat ill health and perceived "bad" luck through connection with the God's.

It was years later that the modern history of hypnosis began with Franz Mesmer in the 18th Century. The German physician who used hypnosis in the treatment of patients in Vienna and Paris.

Because of his mistaken belief that hypnotism made use of an occult force (which he termed “animal magnetism”) that flowed through the hypnotist into the subject, Mesmer was soon discredited; but Mesmer’s method—named mesmerism after its creator—continued to interest medical practitioners.

A number of clinicians made use of it without fully understanding its nature until the middle of the 19th century, when the English physician James Braid studied the phenomenon and coined the terms hypnotism and hypnosis, after the Greek god of sleep, Hypnos.

In 1880s many scientists developed interest in Hypnosis. An obscure French physician Ambroise-Auguste Liébeault along with the professor of medicine at Strasbourg,  Hippolyte Bernheim wrote that the hypnosis involved no physical forces and no physiological processes but was a combination of psychologically mediated responses to suggestions.

At the same time, Austrian physician Sigmund Freud visited France and he was very  impressed by the therapeutic potential of hypnosis for neurotic disorders. On his return to Vienna, he used hypnosis to help neurotics recall disturbing events that they had apparently forgotten.

As he began to develop his system of psychoanalysis, however, theoretical considerations—as well as the difficulty he encountered in hypnotizing some patients—led Freud to discard hypnosis in favour of free association. (Generally psychoanalysts have come to view hypnosis as merely an adjunct to the free-associative techniques used in psychoanalytic practice).

In summary ...

The study of hypnosis over 40 years depicts that the technique of hypnosis is very safe and effective. Also the studies shows that the technique of hypnosis can be used to treat headaches, helps in quitting smoking, improve concentration and study habits, ease the pain of childbirth,  relieve minor phobias, and serve as anesthesia --all without drugs or side effects