If you were to ask people what hypnosis is, everyone will have different ideas, some may even say that it doesn’t exist. This assignment will answer that question of what hypnosis is and how it’s developed over many years. I will describe the physical and psychological sides of hypnosis and discuss the role of relaxation in hypnotherapy.
History of hypnosis Hypnosis has been associated with many unusual and supernatural things. But if we look back at the history of hypnosis we will see how it’s developed over many years. Hypnosis has been used in many forms such as hypnotic trance by the Australian Aborigines and used in similar situations by the Hindu culture and North American Indians. I would like to briefly look at Anton Mesmer born in 1734 in Germany. Mesmer studied theology at university; he later on worked at the Vienna school and gained respect from the Viennese society. Mesmer was influenced by Paracelsus the Renaissance mystic physician who tried to state there was astrological influences on human health that were a result of forces exerted by planets through an invisible fluid. Mesmer attempted healing people with a strong magnet as Maximillian Hell influenced him. Maximillian was an astronomer and Jesuit priest; Mesmer’s consulting rooms were dimly lit and hung with mirrors, as soft music was playing in the background. One of Mesmer’s first big successful patients was a 29-year-old woman. She suffered from convulsive malady also known as “nervous disorder”. She had many symptoms such as blood rushing to the head, pain in the arms, head and ears. Followed by vomiting, fainting and hallucinations. During one of her attacks Mesmer applied three magnets to he stomach and legs whilst she concentrated on the positive effects of the “cosmic fluid” but just in a short space of time her symptoms subsided. The next day her symptoms came back and Mesmer treated her again and achieved the similar results. Mesmer believed that this “cosmic fluid” stimulated by the magnets was directing through the patients body therefore her energy flow was restored and she resulted by regaining her health back. Mesmer eventually gave up on the idea. It was rumoured that Mesmer watched performances by Father Johann Gassner in the early 1770’s; he was a catholic priest that used hypnotic techniques to carry out exorcisms with a metal crucifix. Mesmer believed that this method used by the priest using the metal crucifix was magnetizing people; he didn’t believe they were possessed, but from this he developed his ideas of animal magnetism. Mesmer went on with this theory my curing a young lady musician who had been blind since birth. No doctor was able to find a cure for this condition but Mesmer restored her sight but she then lost her ability to play the piano. Mesmer was then accused of magic and felt he had to leave Austria. There is no evidence supporting Mesmer’s theories on “cosmic fluid” and “animal magnetism” but thousands of sick and hopeful people would come to visit him. Mesmer had terrific success and the only explanation for this was that the patients were literally “mesmerized” into believing that they would be cured. Mesmerism became the forerunner of hypnotic suggestion.
(Hypnosis of Change by Josie Hadley and Carol Staudacher and Chysallis 2013)
Psychological and physical aspects of hypnosis I’ve explored the history of hypnosis, but now I want to take a look at physiological and psychological aspects of hypnosis. Hypnosis has developed immensely over the years. Now that we have become advanced in science we can explore the depths of the brain. This doesn’t make it easy to measure hypnosis, everyone wants to see facts and proof but it’s not easy to determine when compared to physiological aspects such as measuring the heart or respiratory rate. Tests are based on