You may find the subject of hypnosis fascinating—many people do. For hundreds of years, hypnosis has been used as an effective therapy tool to help people overcome fears, gain confidence, and tap into the true power of their brains. Since hypnotherapy was first used in the late 18th and early 19th century, it has undergone numerous transformations. Chart the history and progress of hypnosis to better understand its origins.
While the term “hypnosis” was not coined until 1842, the practice has existed since ancient times. Hypnotic trances date back to at least 3,000 years ago, when ancient Egyptians used hypnotic trances for healing and communicating with the spirit world.
Modern hypnosis as we know it began with Franz Mesmer (1734-1815), an Austrian doctor whom many call the “Father of Hypnosis.” Mesmer developed the theory of “animal magnetism,” the belief that diseases are the result of blockages in the flow of magnetic forces in the body. He believed he could store his animal magnetism in baths of iron filings and transfer it to patients with rods or by “mesmeric passes.” In fact, the word “mesmerize” is derived from Mesmer.
The next pioneer of hypnosis in appeared in the mid-nineteenth century with James Braid (1795- 1860). A Scottish eye doctor, Braid developed an interest in mesmerism by chance. As the story goes, one day, when Braid was late for an appointment, he found his patient in the waiting room staring into an old lamp, his eyes glazed. Fascinated, Braid gave the patient some commands, telling him to close his eyes and go to sleep. The patient complied, and the doctor’s interest was piqued. He discovered that getting a patient to fixate upon something was one of the most important components of putting them into a trance.
Sigmund Freud also expressed interest in hypnotism, which lent further credence to the practice. Hypnosis has grown in popularity and has become a widely accepted form of therapy, though many myths and misconceptions still abound about this misunderstood, yet effective, art.
To learn more about hypnosis, call the Plymouth Hypnosis Center at (484) 534-4534. Based in Philadelphia, we are committed to providing our clients with excellent service, so contact us today. As always, individual results may vary.