A Brief History of Hypnosis

A Brief History of Hypnosis

hypnotic swirl colorful. greens and purples and hints of red and blue swirling hypnotically

The history of hypnosis is centuries old and in various ways was a part of religious ceremonies in ancient cultures. There is evidence that hypnosis was used in Ancient Egypt and many different societies throughout history have used the beat of drums to induce a hypnotic trance in spiritual rituals. Even animals have been known to use the powers of hypnosis to bring their prey under their control. There is an interesting and global history of hypnosis that is evident down through the ages. Discovering it is indeed a fascinating journey.


What is the History of Hypnosis for Modern Usage?


Hypnosis has long been used for religious purposes and even for controlling farm animals such as chickens. For example, in Germany during the 1600s traveling shows drew crowds by hypnotizing animals. Furthermore, in this period of history; hypnosis was known and used to calm chickens for farming and slaughtering purposes. The history of hypnosis reveals the popular story of hypnosis as a central element of much entertainment and religion. However, it has grown beyond these to be a significant tool for relaxation and the process of personal transformation.


You have probably heard the word 'mesmerize' but you may not know that is taken from the name of a famous doctor who practiced hypnotism. Dr. Franz Anton Mesmer became famous during the late eighteenth century practicing what he termed magnetism. He used magnets on patients to create vibrations to assist in healing. His techniques included singing, playing harmonica, staring into patients' eyes, asking patients to stare at his hands when placed in a pyramid shape and some other methods of inducing a hypnotic trance. He died in 1815, having never been able to convince his medical colleagues of the success of his practices. However, Dr. Mesmer is probably the first modern hypnotist recorded in the history of hypnosis.


In 1845, Dr. James Esdale from Scotland gained attention by performing operations in Calcutta by only using hypnosis. He successfully operated on approximately two thousand patients without causing pain to them. This was a first time in the history of hypnosis according to modern records. Sigmund Freud was intrigued enough to study hypnosis as a part of his studies in psychology. After this, readings in the history of hypnosis indicate that hypnosis became aligned with psychology rather than medicine.


Milton H. Erickson was a psychiatrist who furthered the use of hypnosis in the treatment of patients with phobias and behavioral problems. He discovered a range of effective techniques for inducing trances that worked well with different patients. Erickson believed that through hypnosis one could directly influence the unconscious mind and thus induce change. He was the first notable individual in the history of hypnosis who radically moved hypnosis forward from entertainment to therapeutic usage.


You will find lots of debate and controversy in the history of hypnosis, but you will also discover amazing triumphs and fascinating testimonials. There is no doubt that modern hypnosis has developed and transformed from simple entertainment or altered religious states. It is used successfully as a therapy for personal change, relaxation, pain management and even healing.