One of the ‘What Ifs’ – This subject has always fascinated me. I’ve seen countless Hypnosis shows, people barking on stage, arguing with thin air with an audience of onlookers cheering in oh. Excellent; however, a much more controversial beginning, it wasn’t always regarded as scientific or entertainment alike. Hypnosis was regarded as Occult in nature and no place for it in polite society.

Hypnosis is the unique psychological state which has specific physiological attributes resembling sleep – virtually an individual functioning at an awareness level instead of a healthy state of consciousness.

This state usually characterized by the degree of increased responsiveness and receptiveness – whereby the inner perceptions are more significant than that given to the external reality.

The Hypnotized State

In this state, a person tends to feel, see, smell, and otherwise perceive all the hypnotist suggestions. However, the recommendations may contradict the actual stimuli, which are present in the environment.

Hypnosis effects are not in any way limited to the change of sensory, as the awareness of oneself and the subject’s memory can be altered through suggestions. The effects of these suggestions can be extended to the subsequent waking activity of the individual.

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The History and Early Research of Hypnosis

Hypnosis history is as old as the hills; however, the scientific applications started in the late 18th century with Franz Mesmer, who was a German physician using hypnosis while treating patients in Paris and Vienna. He was then discredited due to the mistaken belief that he was making use of an Occult Force.

However, his method, which was termed mesmerism after its innovator, was later pursued by some of the four most medical practitioners of the day.

The Power of Suggestion – Hypnosis with Puysegur

In 1813, a Portuguese priest called Abbe Faria conducted research into Hypnosis in India and returned to Paris to review Hypnosis with Puysegur.

The French school of Hypnosis-Centered Psychotherapy was called the Nancy School, or the varsity of Suggestion. The Nancy school was founded by Ambroise-Auguste Liebeault, a French GP who is regarded as the daddy of modern Hypnotherapy.

Liebeault believed that the phenomena of Hypnosis were psychological and disregarded early theories of magnetism. He studied the similarities between sleep and trance and saw Hypnosis as a state that might be produced by suggestion. Liebeault’s book ‘Sleep and its Analogous States’ was published in 1866, which attracted prominent physician Hippolyte Bernheim to go to his clinic.

Bernheim (1840-1919) was a renowned neurologist who was initially skeptical of Liebeault, but after observing Lieubault, he was so amazed he abandoned general medicine to become a Hypnotherapist. Bernheim brought Liebeault’s ideas of suggestion to the medical world along with his book ‘Suggestive Therapeutics’, from which Hypnosis emerged as a science.

Liebeault and Bernheim are the innovators of recent psychotherapy – Hypnosis continues to be seen as a suggestion phenomenon.

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Pioneers Of Psychology

Pioneers of psychology studied Hypnosis in both the Nancy and Paris Schools. Pierre Janet (1859-1947), who developed theories of the unconscious processes, dissociation, and traumatic memory, studied Hypnosis with both Bernheim in Nancy and the rival school of Charcot in Paris. Sigmund Freud also studied Hypnosis with Charcot and later observed Bernheim and Liebeault. Freud began practicing Hypnosis in 1887, which contributed significantly to the invention of psychoanalysis.

Hypnotic Anaesthesia

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During the period of intense psychological investigation of Hypnosis, a variety of physicians developed the utilization of Hypnosis for anesthesia. In 1821, Récamier performed surgery using hypnosis as a form of anesthesia. In 1834, British surgeon John Elliotson, who introduced the stethoscope, reported numerous painless surgical operations using Hypnosis. James Esdaile, performed over 2,000 minor and 345 major operations using Hypnosis between the 1840s and 1850s.

You’re Getting Sleepy

I had no idea of the medical applications of hypnosis; it wasn’t until I started to look into the topic that I realized how huge it was. I’m not 100% sure how I will continue my study into the issue; however, it has grabbed my attention. I’ve enrolled in an online course to get a better understanding – watch this space!

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Welcome to my site. I’ve always been fascinated by the ‘What If’s’ – the kind of stuff that leaves you looking for answers, even questions. Out of body experiences, divine intervention. Checking under your bed or reaching for a crucifix – I love it all. A serial procrastinator - I’ve finally started documenting my deep dive into the areas I find most intriguing. My journey is very much in its infancy, but I genuinely hope the content finds a place and contributes to your search as it has mine. Please feel free to leave your comments and help build the community. Thanks

5 COMMENTS

  1. Vince, I would love to read more about the medical applications for hypnosis when you are able to write more. I suffer from debilitating anxiety and now agoraphobia. I have adrenal fatigue, which I believe is the root cause. I am eager to learn more about hypnosis in general to help with my issues.

    I went to an energy healer 3 years ago (very expensive too btw) and I always felt a lot calmer when I left her sessions. She attempted hypnosis on me once, but it didn’t work. I wasn’t feeling well that day (had missed a lot of sleep) and I felt ill, I am wondering if that is why it didn’t work. I don’t really remember much about it or the type of hypnosis that it was.

  2. Hi Scott – Thanks for your comments; I will certainly be adding more posts about the medical applications of hypnosis, from better-qualified individuals than myself 🙂

  3. Hypnosis can probably replace a lot of drugs on the market now. I think pharmaceutical companies know this and are trying to keep things secret about how good hypnosis actually is. They stand to lose billions if a large number of people realize they don’t really need some pills, just a few sessions of hypnotherapy.

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