A History of Hypnosis

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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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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 :)