The History Of Hypnosis Revealed
When it comes to exploring the history of hypnotism, you will find both scientific and unscientific pit stops throughout time. There is also an artistic aspect that warrants attention regarding the subject. As you study the records associated with this unique mental journey, an assortment of characters illustrate the power that hypnosis has possessed throughout the years.
To truly appreciate the longevity of hypnosis, it is vital to take a look at its use throughout ancient civilizations. While there is evidence showcasing the use of hypnosis rituals during pre-historic times, you may find one of the first intriguing visual accounts through hieroglyphics decorating the early 3000 BC tombs of ancient Egyptians. It is believed that hypnotism was utilized within various “sleep temples,” which had connections to healing or religion.
Throughout ancient history, a wide range of ancient proof surrounds the fact that hypnotism was understood and practiced during numerous medicinal practices and rituals. Celtic druids to ancient Greeks to Chinese religious leaders have all shown a respect for hypnotism, as the accomplishment was also prevalent throughout Africa, Persia and South America. It is even thought that details regarding the practice of hypnosis can be found throughout the pages of the Jewish Scriptures and the Hindu Vedas.
Surrounded by spiritualism, magic and divine power, hypnotism was met with plenty of opposition for those who questioned this mysterious practice and technique. During the early years, hypnosis was a popular exercise associated with shamans, witch doctors, as well as high priests. With each passing year, there have been thousands of influences upon hypnosis, as scientific, as well as unscientific approaches contributed to the advancement of this captivating entity.
Hypnosis in the 1700s
During the 1700s, one of the most well known figures in hypnosis history is an Austrian by the name of Franz Anton Mesmer (1734-1815). Throughout the 18th century, he led the way in the usage of trace, which earned him the nickname, “Father of Hypnosis.” It is also through his name that we find the term, “mesmerism.”
At the urging of Mozart, Mesmer purchased a space where he could perform magical “cures” on people. While many praised his healing powers, which were often accompanied with lights and other gimmicks, there were others who dismissed his results as a figment of the imagination. One notable critic was none other than Benjamin Franklin.
Hypnosis During the 1800s
In France, one of the first scientific explorations regarding hypnosis took place with the help of Abbe Castodi de Faria. He investigated the ins and outs of the practice as it related to trances and willing participants. Faria is also credited with establishing what is known as the “fixed-gaze method,” which became a rage throughout stage hypnotism shows.
Also during this time, without the effort of John Elliotson of England, the use of magnetism and hypnosis may have never found its way in easing the pain of surgery. As for the concept of autosuggestion, the thoughts and teachings of Emile Coue brought this to the public. Coue contended that all hypnosis was influenced by self-hypnotic techniques.
But during the 1800s, it was the work of Dr. James Braid that really catapulted hypnosis. Through his studies, suggestibility, as it related to trance, was thought to be an individual occurrence. Using vocal suggestion, he was able to explore the influence that hypnotists had on their subjects. Braid is also honored for discovering “waking hypnosis.”
Entering the 20th Century
The history of hypnotism travels throughout a vast record in time. It was used to treat trauma victims during both World Wars. Dentists utilized its power as hypnotic-anesthesia. In 1955, the British Medical Association began to consider hypnotherapy as a legitimate medical treatment. Three years later, the American Medical Association (AMA) agreed. Following these acknowledgements throughout the medical world, a host of professional associations for hypnotists started to pop up across the globe. To date, the National Guild of Hypnotists is still the oldest and largest of its kind.
During the 20th century, many researchers, doctors and other medical figures began to take interest in learning more about hypnosis. Important strides on the subject were then made by the likes of John Kappas, Ormond McGill, Milton Erickson and Dave Elman.
To explore the history of hypnosis, one will encounter a wealth of personalities who have shaped the way people viewed and accepted the field. Well-known characters, such as Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Thomas Edison, Winston S. Churchill and Albert Einstein have also shown interest in hypnosis or self-hypnosis.