Trance 1: #2

Give a brief history of hypnosis. (min. 300 words)

The technique of hypnosis has been around for thousands of years, the earliest records dating back to ancient Egypt and China.  Ancient Greece has remnants of a temple of Asklepios dedicated to a healing God as a sleep healing temple.   The purpose of this temple was to force the patients to prepare relax silently on a stone lounge in order to meet Asklepios.  He would come to them and then declare their symptoms changed, depending on what they were.  This declaration was a form of hypnosis to change the mindset of the patient for an alternative outcome.

Over time, however, the most prevalent influence on the “discovery” and development of hypnosis was Austrian physician Franz Anton Mesmer from the 1800’s.  During this time, he put a lot of research and investigation into what he called “animal magnetism”, where he used magnets to manipulate energy with power of suggestion to heal people. He’d use various methods such as touch trance-inducing, or waving magnetic wands over his patients during his experiments. While his name for this was inaccurate and weird, and what he did was considered very controversial to its time, he did a lot of experimentation that resulted in good foundation work for trance.

The word “hypnosis” has varied hypothesis on where the term was coined exactly.  Some say that Mesmer’s work was picked up by a Scottish surgeon named James Braid who was the original creator of the term “hypnosis”, from the Greek God Hypnos who was a God of sleep.  He issued this name under the assumption that people who were in a Trance state were asleep, which was inaccurate but the name stuck.  The other hypothesis was that “hypnosis” was coined by a french physician named de Cuvillers.

Modern hypnosis is attributed to Clark Hull, who wrote the book “Hypnosis and Suggestibility“, which was subsequently used to help train doctors on using hypnosis to aid in surgical procedures during World War II when morphine was not available, and rather successfully.  It was because of this success that the “Society for Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis” which became an international organization of various types of physicians and doctors dedicated to the practice of hypnosis and what it provides for modern medicine (Gurgevich).

(Word Count: 371)

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