A History of Hypnosis

Thomas Allan
I am Thomas Allan, I am passionate about positive affirmations and all areas of self improvement, and I run and am growing the world's largest resource for free affirmations. I am always happy to talk, and would love your thoughts, comments, and suggestions on my writing and ideas!
Thomas Allan
Thomas Allan

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Thomas Allan
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Hypnotic Swirl

Self hypnotherapy is a passion of mine, I believe hypnosis can be a great tool for self development and a great tool to use to access your subconscious mind, so I want to share a brief history of hypnosis here with you.

The Beginnings

Hypnosis has a long history that reaches back for ages. In one form or another, hypnosis has arguably been around since the dawn of humanity. We’ll be taking a look at where it all started, while highlighting some major discoveries that have helped shaped modern hypnosis. Of course, it’s impossible to cover everything in a brief article, but you can consider this a crash-course on the history of hypnosis.

First of all, it’s worth mentioning that hypnosis itself hasn’t changed. What has changed, however, are the ways that we are able to harness hypnosis, along with our understand of it as a whole. While hypnosis has gained a lot of popularity lately, it’s still seen as something that exists  on the fringe. Some people treat it like some kind of occult power, however modern hypnosis is based on science rather than superstition. As our understand of hypnosis grows, along with studies to support it’s effectiveness, hypnosis moves higher and higher into the mainstream.

Mesmer’s Animal Magnetism

Animal magnetism is an early precursor to hypnosis based on theories by Franz Mesmer (1734 – 1815). Interestingly enough, his name is the root of the word “mesmerize”. Animal magnetism refers to an intangible force, a sort of “magnetic fluid” what exists within living creatures. The word “animal” was chosen to represent that this magnetism exists within all creatures that have breath. Mesmerism can be considered as an archaic predecessor to hypnotism.

Hypnosis is Science

An opponent of Mesmerism was a man named James Braid (1795 – 1860). Rather than trying to harness some mystical force such as animal magnetism, James Braid introduced a scientific approach when he coined the term hypnotism, which is based instead on the power of suggestion. It is due to this that James Braid is generally considered as an influential researcher and a pioneer of modern hypnosis.

The Birth of Modern Hypnosis

Moving into the 20th century, Milton Erickson  (1901 – 1980) is widely considered to be one of the most influential figures in hypnotism. There is a style of hypnotherapy named after him, which stems from his use of indirect methods rather than direct methods of hypnotism. Milton Erickson found that using indirect methods could be much more effective than direct methods at times.

This was the period where hypno-therapy really came into play – it became an actual therapy and started to be used for treating addictions, fears phobias and improving health. The real story and evolution into its current modern form is a whole other essay, but now hypnosis is used all around the world for areas as broad as you can imagine, even including developing a millionaire mindset, or as use during surgical procedures for surgery without anesthetic.

This is why I love hypnosis – there is so much possibility!! I hope you found this article interesting and hope you give it a try :) 


  1. Thank you for your post. Its worth being gien a try most especially for fitness and weight loss patients.

  2. ok in india lots of people making money on the name of hypnotism but in reality no one knows the truth.thanks for the real knowledge
    Nikitajain recently posted…Krrish 3 Hrithik Roshan Amazing Body Building PhotosMy Profile

  3. I use hypnosis audio mp3s nearly every night before I go to sleep. I have heard that I need to use them during the day when I am more awake and not inclined to fall asleep during the session. Do you agree with this?

  4. Hypnosis is really just the shift in focus from the conscious mind to the unconscious mind. I think a lot of people get confused about hypnosis and think it is this woo hoo mystical practice. The reality is is a very common and effective approach for dealing with a variety of psychological issues and traumas.

  5. Since the childhood, i heard a lots about Hypnosis through television but never meet someone real practically..!
    But still, after reading yours article its conformed that “Hypnosis” is not a mere illusion rather it has a long drafted history behind its existence.
    chatung recently posted…Love and Music Goes TogetherMy Profile

  6. Thomas that’s a powerful image u got in the post, it did snooze me for a while :)
    praveen recently posted…How I saved $163 on my car insurance premium, that’s 25% off original quoteMy Profile

  7. I love hypnosis too– there is so much magic! This article interesting, i get more knowlegde in your post. Thanks for sharing.
    Jolice recently posted…Tennis Niche Guru Review – Potential BonusesMy Profile

    • Mohsin Mallik says:

      Hypnosis is not a magic. It is pure science and I also loved this blog post. Something really different to learn and read.

  8. I was initially very skeptical with hypnosis, but when I saw myself how my brother cured from his phobia by using hypnosis therapy then I slowly began to trust its effectiveness. In fact, this time I was amazed by the variety of amazing things that can help human life utilizing hypnosis

  9. in 1829, when hypnosis and mesmerism were still confused, a Swedish Doctor would stare into his patients eyes to put them to sleep. He recorded great success in many surgeries, the most intriguing to me being breast cancer.
    I did not know that the first documented case of breast cancer appeared in 1600 B.C. in Eygypt where “The Edwin Smith Papyrus, or writing, describes 8 cases of tumors or ulcers of the breast that were treated by cauterization, with a tool called “the fire drill.”
    The writing says about the disease, “There is no treatment.”
    Can you believe there is still no treatment??
    Devin Bisanz recently posted…Goal Setting- The Philippines Gangster Way.My Profile

    • There are treatment of these diseases but still if you cannot detect cancer at it’s early stage, there are 80% chances that you will not be able to cure it with any kind of treatment.

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