What is Hypnosis? 1847 words
Hypnosis is not a new thing by any standard. Hypnosis is a physical as well as mental state of relaxation, an altered state of consciousness into which individuals allow themselves to enter so that desired, beneficial suggestions may be given directly to the subconscious mind. Hypnotherapy is the use of hypnosis to achieve an agreed or required outcome.
Hypnotherapy is thought to date back to the healing practices of ancient Greece and Egypt. Many religions such as Judaism, Christianity, Islam, and others have attributed trance-like behaviour to spiritual or divine possession.
Austrian physician, Franz Mesmer is credited with being the first person to scientifically investigate the idea of hypnosis and hypnotherapy in 1779, he used it to treat a variety of health conditions. Mesmer is believed to have been the first doctor to understand the relationship of psychological trauma to illness. He induced a trance-like state, which became known as mesmerism, in his patients to successfully treat nervous disorders.
Mesmer became interested in the effects of magnetism, and found that magnets could have tremendous healing effects on the human body. He believed that the human body contained a magnetic fluid that promoted health and well-being. It was thought that any blockage to the normal flow of this magnetic fluid would result in illness, and that the use of the mesmerism technique could restore the normal flow.
Mesmer's technique appeared to be quite successful in the treatment of his patients but he was the subject of scorn and ridicule from the medical profession. Because of considerable controversy surrounding mesmerism a commission was convened to investigate his techniques and procedures. The commission acknowledged that patients did seem to obtain noticeable relief from their conditions, but the whole idea was dismissed as being medical charlatanism.
In the 1840’s James Braid discovered that hypnosis could be used to successfully anesthetize patients for surgeries. James Braid accidentally discovered that one of his patients began to enter a hypnotic state while staring at a fixed light as he waited for an eye examination to begin. Since mesmerism had fallen out of favour, Braid coined the term hypnotism, which is derived from the Greek word for sleep. Braid also used the techniques of monotony, rhythm, and imitation to assist in inducing a hypnotic state. We still use many of these techniques today.
Around 1900, there were very few preoperative anaesthetic drugs available and patients were naturally apprehensive when facing surgery. One out of four hundred patients would die, not from the surgical procedure but from the anaesthesia. Doctor Henry Munro was one of the first physicians to use hypnosis to alleviate patient fears about having surgery. He would get his patients into a hypnotic state and discuss their fears with them, suggesting to them that they would feel a lot better following surgery. Ether was the most common
Gregory Tickner anaesthetic at that time, and Doctor Munro found that he was able to perform surgery using approximately 10% of the usual amount.
It took more than two hundred years for hypnotherapy to become incorporated into medical treatment. In 1955, the British Medical Association approved the use of hypnotherapy as a valid medical treatment.
Throughout History there has been much concern around Hypnosis, Hypnotherapy or being in a Hypnotic state, this is largely down to its misuse as entertainment or in stage shows where people are often “hypnotised” into doing something embarrassing or against their will.
Some of the most common causes of concern are whether the Hypnotist can take control of the body or mind, that the subject may reveal something which they did not wish to or that they may be lost in the trance or that the Hypnotist may not be able to return them from it. With the key to Hypnotherapy being to have a