PostHeaderIcon History Of Hypnosis

The history of hypnosis shows how the myths regarding hypnosis developed. The early practitioners came to the realization that they were doing some things which worked; however, they did not comprehend why. Their theories were based on scanty information and on their world view. Their understanding about hypnosis changed as science and belief systems changed.

The history of present day hypnosis can be traced from Switzerland in 1770’s, with a priest of the Catholic church referred to as Father Gassner who started practicing faith healing. The prevailing comprehension of mental illness in this generation was pegged on a belief in demon possession and witchcraft. The parishioners believed that the priest was a representative of God on earth. Therefore, he had a great merit in hypnotic trance induction. Most of the parishioners entered a trance in a matter of seconds. The parishioners who were very hard to hypnotize would go into hypnosis instantly when the priest used the cross to touch their heads. He was the first to employ a sleep-like, quiet state of hypnosis.

Franz Anton Mesmer, a German with a medical degree who also studied law and philosophy became a lot more curious about the stories of the priest. After seeing the priest perform cures, he started forming his own understanding about what was happening. Mesmer argued that the body possessed magnetic poles and fluids of magnetic nature flow between them. He argued that illness was as a result of interruption of the magnetic fluids and that restoration of the flow is what led to cure. He utilized ethereal music, strange mechanisms and he created séance-like atmosphere which helped him in inducing hypnosis.

Mesmer was the first to make connections between improved physical health and treatment of mind. English doctor by the name James braid in 1840’s was the first start scientific studies about mesmerism. He recognized trance-like state then he referred to the process as hypnotism. In 1800 hypnosis was widely used to perform surgeries.

In 1885, Sigmund Freud, Josef Breuer and Jean-Martin Charcot discovered that they were able to find out what the patients were thinking on a subconscious, deep level when they were hypnotized. After this, several researches were carried out on hypnosis and from there, it has been extensively used

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