Hypnosis or inducing trance states, can be traced to ancient times. It's one of the world's oldest known sciences.
Egyptians used hypnotism in 3,000 BC. Evidence is found in hieroglyphics on tombs. Egyptian priests induced trances in sleep temples to give healing suggestions to the ill. Greeks, Romans, Mayans, Shaman, Medicine men, and Healers used trance for healing.
Unfortunately, in early Christian times, people were led to believe that a trance meant that you were under the power of the devil. This misperception has continued for hundreds of years in western cultures.
Franz Mesmer (1734 - 1815), was an Austrian doctor working in France. He is often given credit for being the "Father of Hypnosis", a title he shares with two other men.
A Catholic Priest
Father Gassner (1727-1815), a Catholic priest, lived about the same time as Mesmer and was also active in hypnosis. He used suggestions as a means of faith healing.
He was one of the first known faith healers. And, Gassner was one of the first men to produce a quiet sleep in the hypnotic state.
Father of Hypnosis
One of the First Experimenters
Abbe Jose Castodi De Faria was one of the first experimenters in hypnosis. He worked in Paris in 1815 and taught that a trance could not be induced against a subject's will.
James Elliotson (1791-1868), was a professor of theory and practiced at University Hospital in London, England. Beginning his experiments in 1837, he found that his patients could undergo major surgery without agony and he applied these techniques whenever possible.
Elliotson did more to scientifically promote hypnotism to the medical world than anyone before him.
Hypnosis For Pain
During the 1830's and 1840's, the trance state was used to alleviate pain during surgeries.
Hypnotism As Science
James Braid (1795-1869), named the science of hypnotism and helped advance it. He was a prominent Scottish surgeon.
He was also the first man to be recognized for scientific experimentation into the "whys" of hypnosis.
Sigmund Freud and History in Hypnotherapy
Sigmund Freud used hypnosis, for a time, to help his patients recall repressed memories. This was technically hypnotherapy.
Hypnotherapy Following World War I
Following World War I, there were many cases of war trauma and a shortage of psychotherapists. There was an extreme need for a fast method of therapy.
In desperation, the medical community again turned to hypnosis. J.G. Watkins found that hypnosis allowed the patient to regress back to the original event and talk about the emotions that had been repressed. This allowed the symptoms to disappear and normal emotional health to be re-established.
Most Famous "Father of Hypnosis"
Dr. Milton Erickson (1901-1980), psychiatrist and psychologist, is also considered the father of modern hypnosis.
In 1941, he was describing the successful treatment of acute hysterical depression using hypnosis. His works, 1950's through 1980's, have greatly advanced the use of hypnosis for therapeutic work. Today, this is known as hypnotherapy.
History in Hypnotherapy Approval
In 1955, the British Medical Association approved hypnosis in the field of medicine. In 1958, the Council on Mental Health of the American Medical Association accepted hypnosis. The Council recommended the instruction of hypnosis in medical schools.
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